Rob Manfred has doubts about Athletics stadium plan in Oakland

As the Athletics work to realize their plan for a new waterfront stadium in Oakland, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred isn’t quite sure the franchise’s vision for Howard Terminal will come true.

Manfred joined SiriusXM’s Chris Russo for an interview during Friday night’s World Series, where he spoke extensively about both the A’s and the Tampa Bay Rays’ quest to build new baseball fields near their current locations.

While the commissioner expressed his optimism about Rays’ ownership to build a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area, he questioned the current situation in Oakland.

“I think the mayor in Oakland has made a huge effort to make it happen in Oakland,” Manfred told Russo (h/t Tampa Bay Times). “It just doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.”

Manfred declined to speak to the media on Saturday and when asked to clarify his comments about the A’s stadium project, the commissioner said: “I’m done talking about Oakland,” said The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli.

The A’s have made significant strides in their search for a new stadium in Howard Terminal, although the Oakland City Council is unlikely to have a binding vote on the project in 2022.

Oakland mayoral candidate Loren Taylor, a District 6 city councilor, recently told NBC Sports Bay Area that while the stadium project currently appears to be stalling, progress is still being made behind the scenes.

“According to some, less noise outside may mean we get more work behind closed doors,” Taylor said. “We have a number of points that still need to be worked out for a final decision, not least the infrastructure gap [costs] outside the door.”

State and federal grants have been secured to fund the project, but inflation and other rising costs have increased the end goal.

And while the A’s are trying to strike a deal in Oakland, the organization has also been exploring the possibility of moving to Las Vegas—something team owner Dave Kaval called “parallel paths.”

Looking at the two situations, Manfred understands why the A’s take a different route.

“I think the A’s have been cautious about exploring the alternative in Las Vegas given the lack of pace in Oakland,” Manfred told Russo. “I think they should look for an alternative.”

Wherever the A’s new stadium lands, Manfred made it clear that he believes the team “can’t stay at the Coliseum for another five years” (h/t Casey Pratt, ABC7 News). The commissioner also stressed that he does not know how the stadium saga will end.

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Manfred said he sees the situation in Tampa differently, noting that “baseball can thrive” in the area.

A’s fans would certainly like to see baseball continue to thrive in Oakland after football has left with the departure of the now Las Vegas Raiders.

When — or if — that wish becomes a reality, remains to be seen.

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