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Manfred Says Current Term as MLB Commissioner Will Be His Last

February 18th, 2024

Rob Manfred said Thursday his third and current term as Major League baseball commissioner will be his last.

Manfred’s comments came during Grapefruit League media day at George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., the spring training home of the New York Yankees.

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“Look, I’m 65,” Manfred said. “I just started a five-year term. You can only have so much fun in one lifetime. I have been open with [the owners] that this is going to be my last term. I said it to them before the last election in July.”

Manfred, whose contract was extended by the owners last July until Jan. 25, 2029, succeeded Bud Selig as MLB’s 10th commissioner in 2015 after a tumultuous multi-ballot vote. Selig, now 90, was commissioner for 23 years, the second-longest tenure in that role after Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis.

Manfred believes 14 years as commissioner will be enough. He pondered retiring at the end of his second term, but said last summer he remained because of unfinished business: New ballparks to house the Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla. and the A’s in either Las Vegas or Oakland, plus a plan beyond that to expand by two teams.

“I hope I’m here to go to Opening Day [in new ballparks] as commissioner for both Tampa Bay and Las Vegas,” Manfred said. “Expansion, I don’t think realistically those clubs will be playing before I’m finished. I would like to have the process in place and operating before that.”

The A’s were given permission by a unanimous vote of the other 29 voters to move from Oakland to Las Vegas last November, but the franchise has yet to detail the financial and architectural parameters of a $1.5 billion ballpark project on the Strip mostly paid for by private money since then. The state of Nevada has earmarked $390 million for that particular deal.

The Rays have agreed to build a $1.3 billion ballpark adjacent to Tropicana Field, with $600 million of public money split evenly from the City of St. Petersburg and Pinellas County. But the government entities have yet to approve the deal.

Also under Manfred’s watch, MLB worked its way through the tumultuous 60-game pandemic-shortened 2020 season, a lockout of players between the 2021 and 2022 seasons, the consolidation and contraction of the minor league system under the MLB umbrella, and the institution of various rule changes that impacted the pace of games for the better this past season.

Manfred has worked under Selig as MLB’s top in-house labor lawyer, and he has been No. 2 in the commissioner’s office virtually since the players’ strike that wiped out the end of the 1994 season and shortened the 1995 season. As he negotiated labor contracts and then presided over those deals as commissioner, MLB has yet to miss a game because of a labor dispute since that last strike.

After the pandemic in 2020, when regular-season games and most postseason games were played without fans, attendance was up 9.6% last season compared to 2022. And perhaps most importantly to the owners, mean franchise values have escalated during his tenure, from $1.2 billion in 2015 to $2.4 billion in 2023, according to valuations conducted by Sportico.

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This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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