Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has said the league would be open to the Tampa Bay Rays finding a new home in St. Petersburg.
In December, the Rays opted to abandon a project for a new stadium dubbed the most intimate ballpark in MLB. The headline feature of the Populous-designed ballpark was a translucent roof accounting for 30 per cent of the project cost and fully enclosing the facility.
The team was forced to abandon the project after the plans stalled significantly. Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said at the time that the team would not request an extension of a three-year window with the City of St. Petersburg to explore alternative ballpark sites to its current Tropicana Field home. The window expired on December 31.
The Rays maintained they were committed to finding a new home in the local area despite admitting they are at “two strikes” following the abandonment of the Ybor City project.
The Rays’ lease at Tropicana Field (pictured), which is located in St. Petersburg, expires after the 2027 season and Manfred has been discussing the team’s future plans.
“We are still committed to the (Tampa Bay) region and would like to see a solution,” Manfred said, according to the Tampa Bay Times newspaper. “Certainly St. Petersburg is an alternative. It may be that there’s another opportunity on the Tampa side at some point in the process.
“We think the Tampa Bay region is a major-league market. And Mr. Sternberg continues to devote a lot of time and effort to getting a positive result for the region.”
He added: “We’re agnostic on where. We really are. Other than in the region. I liked the Tampa site. I think there’s probably places on the St. Pete side that could be completely workable as well.”
Image: Eric Kilby