Manfred tries to threaten to move Rays, A’s without new stadiums, trips over own tongue

Okay, I get it: Shilling for a new stadium for a team by dropping hints of a move threat is tricky business, and only made trickier when the team owner is trying to make nice with the local electeds in order to get a stadium deal done. Still, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred seemed to be getting better at threat-mongering after a dismal start, but this yesterday about the Tampa Bay Rays, oy:

“I continue to believe Tampa (Bay) is a viable major-league market, and I also believe it may be better than the alternatives than we have out there,” Manfred said. “I am hopeful we get to a resolution.”…

“There does come a point in time where we have to accept the reality that a market, for whatever set of reasons, can’t get to the point that they have a major-league quality facility, and I am not going to indefinitely leave a club in a market without a major-league quality facility.”…

“It really depends on progress, right? If there is a point in time where it starts to grind to a halt and nothing is happening. I don’t think we’re there. But at that point in time where everybody is panicking, you get this look of ‘Where we going next?’ That’s when you have to start thinking about what your alternatives are. It’s hard for me to be more definitive than that.”

I think we may need to just admit that Rob Manfred is not very good at this move threat thing (or maybe this speaking English thing). You’d think if Roger Goodell can manage this, anybody can, but clearly not — for which Rays and Oakland A’s fans should be grateful, I suppose, since they don’t have to wake up to “Manfred says [your team here] could move without new stadium” headlines today, largely because today’s 24/7 news cycle journalists don’t have time to parse statements like Manfreds to try to figure out what he’s threatening if anything.

Oh yeah, Manfred said the same sort of nothing about the A’s, too:

“Given the change in the control situation,” Manfred said, “I think it’s prudent and sufficient for Mr. Fisher to take a year and make a decision on what site he thinks is the best.

“That decision is a uniquely local decision. I really don’t believe that it’s my job to have a preference for those sites. They know their market better. They’ve kept me briefed. They’ve spent a heck of a lot more time analyzing the sites. They’re far more familiar with the political issues that might revolve around those sites and the environmental issues involved.”…

“I am not going to indefinitely leave a club in a market without a major-league-quality facility.”

You know, if he’d even just said this on the same day as his name-dropping of cities that could host MLB teams … sigh. Clearly I’m in the wrong line of work — should’ve gone into evil.

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8 comments on “Manfred tries to threaten to move Rays, A’s without new stadiums, trips over own tongue

  1. Rob Manfred needs to focus on all the money being wasted on players and leave the taxpayers alone.

    None of these 13 players have appeared in a major league game this season and are being paid a total of $223 million not to play.

    player team age salary
    josh hamilton tex 36 $28,410,000
    prince fielder tex 33 $24,000,000
    carl crawford lad 35 $21,857,142
    alex rodriguez nyy 41 $21,000,000
    david wright nym 34 $20,000,000
    scott kazmir lad 33 $17,666,667
    andre ethier lad 35 $17,400,000
    melvin upton sfg 32 $16,450,000
    matt harrison phl 31 $13,000,000
    billy butler oak 31 $11,666,667
    rusney castillo bsn 30 $11,271,428
    allen craig bsn 32 $11,000,000
    ryan howard phl 37 $10,000,000
    TOTAL $223,721,904
    AVERAGE $17,209,377

    1. Why should the commish (or anybody else, for that matter) spend any time worrying about what owners are paying in guaranteed contracts? What difference does it make whether the money goes to injured/retired players or current players or the owners’ pockets? It isn’t gonna be refunded to fans.

      Yeah, it’s a lot of money. But how it’s spread around shouldn’t matter to anyone outside the business.

      1. And it would be great if we taxpayers were ‘outside the business’, but we have paid for 60% of the cost of the stadia, which in effect, subsidizes the players’ salaries. I’m all for the players being well-paid, but not at the expense of the taxpayers. Even with these stupid long-term player contracts, MLB is making money ‘out their ears’, not to mention that team valuations continue to grow crazily. No municipality to should ever give a dime to the private enterprise of MLB/ MLB owners.



          Mr. Difference Between Sunk Costs and Marginal Costs

  2. This Manfred fellow’s game is totally lacking–a commissioner offering goofy ruminations about potential team moves never got any filthy rich owner the public gravy he craves and certainly deserves!

    You extort stadium cash by feinting like a master swordsman. You drop vague (or not so vague) hints in the press. You wring your hands about your impending poverty and “inability to compete” (just don’t hold the presser at your mansion with your valet serving you drinks). You open talks with a rival city that has “investors” and pols who can be greased. You have a colorful rendering of your imaginary new palace in your new town made up and get your PR staff out there pushing it to the media, things like that.

    Take it from an expert and get your billionaire owners doing the talking, commish. Just shut up and occasionally let the world know you’re behind them if and when they back up the moving vans.

  3. As an A’s fan, now that the Raiders are gone I kind of like having the Oakland Coliseum to ourselves. It’s too big and half falling apart but it has character.

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