Manfred stresses urgency for A's waterfront ballpark pursuit originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The Howard Terminal project is the Athletics' last hope to stay in Oakland.
If they are unable to get it done, MLB and commissioner Rob Manfred have made it very clear that the next step would be relocation.
In speaking to reporters on Tuesday at the annual Baseball Writers' Association of America luncheon, Manfred discussed the A's complicated situation and threw his support behind owner John Fisher, who has become increasingly unpopular among the fanbase. Manfred also stressed urgency in regards to the plans to build a waterfront ballpark at the Howard Terminal site.
"The A’s face an extraordinarily difficult situation," Manfred said. "John Fisher has invested literally tens of millions of dollars over the entire period of my commissionership in an effort to get a stadium in Oakland. You refer to the negativity there. I think that negativity always accompanies a situation where players are traded by a club for whatever set of reasons." (h/t San Francisco Chronicle)
"Mr. Fisher has to make a decision as to whether he wants to make an agreement or can make an agreement that is approved by the city council to keep the A’s in Oakland. And if that's not possible, we have a process that deals with an application for relocation, and I assume that's where it goes if in fact no agreement can be made in Oakland."
Manfred acknowledged that over the years, Oakland consistently has put together competitive teams despite financial restraints. The latest push for a new ballpark in Oakland showed the league and teams that the A's are serious about their plans, which led to the organization once again receiving revenue sharing under the new collective bargaining agreement.
"If you look over a period of time, take your time period and not just focus on what happened in the last three or four months, the A’s have put an extraordinarily competitive product on the field against the backdrop of really limited revenue bases largely because of their stadium situation," Manfred added. "I think the motivation among clubs to bring the A’s back into revenue sharing was that they felt and supported the notion that the A’s had made legitimate efforts to get a new stadium done in Oakland and had made heavy, heavy investments in an effort to get that stadium done in due time."
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The A's have made significant progress on their plan at Howard Terminal, but many obstacles still remain.
With time running out, there certainly is a sense of urgency among all parties involved and that should lead to some answers sooner rather than later.