One of the things gumming up the works on the long-discussed move of the Oakland Athletics to San Jose is that even if Major League Baseball buys off, er, I mean successfully negotiates a territorial rights agreement with the Giants, the Athletics still need a park to play in.
Sure, Lew Wolff has long said that he’s going to build it himself, but no matter what some will have you believe, there’s really no such thing as a totally private stadium. Dodger Stadium wouldn’t be there if the Los Angeles government hadn’t grabbed the land under an arguably fraudulent eminent domain proceeding and then forced out the residents who lived there. Even the shining beacon of private stadium construction — AT&T Park — required millions in infrastructure upgrades and some land swap stuff to happen.
The point is that there was never a guarantee that San Jose would go for an Athletics’ ballpark and in all likelihood some sort of referendum is going to be required to let the project go through. Given the Bay Area’s recent aversion to public stadium and arena projects, such a proposition is no gimmie.
But maybe there is hope for Lew Wolff: the voters of Santa Clara, California — right next door to San Jose — just approved a new stadium with a fairly significant amount of public financing for the 49ers. Santa Clara is not San Jose, of course, but they are right next door to each other, so perhaps the politics of all of this has started to change in the region.
But first things first: baseball actually needs to end its more than year-long “study” of the situation and actually say what it wants to have happen to the Athletics.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred wants Tampa Bay to work a little quicker on getting the Rays a new ballpark.
Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg has been working for nearly a decade to get a new stadium for the club and signed a three-year agreement with the City of St. Petersburg early in 2016 to search for a site in the Tampa Bay area. Manfred wants that search to pick up some steam.
“I think it’s fair to say we want the process to take on a better pace moving forward,” Manfred said Wednesday night at Tropicana Field, home of the Rays since their first season in 1998.
The Rays were averaging 15,815 fans per game before Wednesday night’s contest against the Toronto Blue Jays. That is just over half the major league average of 30,470. Tropicana Field and its location have been almost universally blamed as the reason for the poor attendance.
“I’ve been pretty clear that they need a new facility here, a major league quality facility in an A-plus location,” Manfred said. “It is time to move that decision to the front burner here in Tampa.”
The matter of how a stadium would be financed has been tabled until a site is determined, but Sternberg continued to express confidence in the Tampa Bay market.
“I’ve had the opportunity to bail on it many times over the years,” he said. “I won’t say this is a slam dunk, it’s certainly not. But I think we can do something that’ll at least double our attendance. That’s a lot to ask for.”
Manfred said Major League Baseball “doesn’t have a firm timetable” for what steps to take if the Rays fail to get an agreement to build a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area, but but added that “it is a topic of discussion in the industry, the lack of progress.”
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
Bad news for the Mariners this evening: Robinson Cano left Seattle’s game against the Atlanta Braves with tightness in his left hamstring.
Cano walked off the field after legging out a double — his second of the game — in the third inning. He pulled up as he approached second base and walked off the field, accompanied by a trainer. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury. The Mariners have a day off Thursday before opening a series at the Yankees on Friday night, so they have some time to evaluate him.
Cano is hitting .277/.377/.460 with 19 homers and 78 RBI on the year.