MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke with Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports on the anniversary of his inauguration as Commissioner, and part of the interview was devoted to the stadium situations for the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics:
It remains my strong preference ... to stay in the markets where we're located. We're going to exhaust every possibility to get stadiums done in Tampa Bay and Oakland. But clearly you would think I was sort of la-la if I didn't recognize at some point in time it may be necessary to consider alternatives.
Tampa just opened a chapter that could be really positive in that process, so I think it's going to be some time there. I would say sort of the same thing on Oakland. I think the A's are focused on Oakland as opposed to someplace outside of the immediate area. And as a result, it's going to take some time for the process to play out.
Oh goody, the Commissioner of Baseball has said a thing that combines the words "Oakland" and "stadium."
It's just so boring to hear the same answer every two or three months. To wit:
October 6, 2015 (L.A. Times): "I want the A's to stay in Oakland. It's a very fundamental policy of baseball. We favor franchise stability. I think it is possible to get a stadium done in Oakland, and that remains my preference."
June 25, 2015 (San Francisco Chronicle): "I'm committed to the idea that Oakland is a viable major-league market. I actually think Mr. (Lew) Wolff agrees with me about that." Adding, "I see a new facility for the Oakland A's in Oakland that is really, really successful."
June 19, 2015 (San Francisco Chronicle): "The A's folks have been pretty clear that they believe the Coliseum site is the best site for a baseball stadium in Oakland."
June 3, 2015 (Sports Illustrated): "I speak to Lew [Wolff] probably more than any other individual owner because I am very concerned about the situation in Oakland and I'm concerned about the pace at which this is moving forward."
March 16, 2015 (Associated Press): "I've had conversations with the new mayor in Oakland and (I'm) really focused on finding a solution for what has been a long-term issue."
February 21, 2015 (N.Y. Daily News): "It is important to note the long history of franchise stability that has served [MLB] well -- in the case of the A's, we're talking about 47 years in Oakland -- and baseball has had a natural reluctance to leave cities with that kind of history. ... I think the A's need a new facility and it remains a priority of mine to get both [the A's and Rays] into facilities."
February 3, 2015 (L.A. Times): "I am committed to the idea that we are going to do everything possible to get the A's a new facility as quickly as humanly possible. ... Baseball has always had a policy of encouraging teams to stay where they are."
January 27, 2015 (Associated Press): "There's a new mayor in Oakland. We just prevailed in the San Jose litigation, so things are moving around a little bit out there, and I'm hopeful we can make progress on getting a new stadium in Oakland in the relatively short term."
Commissioner Manfred is just answering the question that's put to him, and the short answer is that the answer hasn't changed at the end of his first year in office. Yes, the Commissioner wants to get something done in Oakland. No, the Commissioner doesn't have a lot of power right now to get something done in Oakland until the local players get closer together. Of course the Commissioner can't rule out the possibility of moving the franchise entirely because political and financial realities make continued viability in Oakland too difficult.
Of course it's going to take time. The most frustrating thing is nobody can tell us how much.