The Times' Marc Topkin writes:
Manfred also said MLB "absolutely feels the (Tampa Bay) market is viable" and the Rays' attendance issues are "facility related," in terms of the Trop building and location.Manfred's mention of possible expansion sure drew a lot of headlines in Charlotte, Portland, North Jersey, Montreal, etc. But if you believe big-market teams like the Red Sox and Yankees hate sharing revenue with mid-market teams like the Rays, they sure as hell don't want to dilute league revenues more with more mid-market teams.
Manfred did say he is "open to the idea" of possible expansion, and that MLB has a list of viable cities, and offered some praise for Montreal. But, after noting the success of exhibition games the last two springs at aged Olympic Stadium, Manfred said, "It's a long way from two exhibition games to 81 home games in a facility that is consistent with major-league standards.''
Ultimately, Manfred's comments are a "step up your game!" call to fans and politicians in the aforementioned cities. Because the more excited and willing they are to subsidize a new stadium, the more it'll help teams like the A's and Rays leverage their current markets for new stadiums.
Bud Selig spent five years hinting the Rays may move without a new stadium. But there was nowhere to move them. Now, the league is fortunate enough to have Montreal as a possible relocation market (even though it failed miserably last time)...and it would love a few more mid-sized cities hungry for a team, just as it had in 1990s, the golden ages of stadium subsidies.
That Manfred sure is a smart guy.
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