MESA, Ariz. -- As the A's continue to evaluate options for a new ballpark site, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred remains confident that a solution exists in Oakland.
Speaking from a news conference in Glendale, Ariz., on Tuesday, Manfred said he's still "optimistic that we can make baseball work in Oakland."
The A's announced Laney College as their preferred site in September, only to see their plans prematurely scrapped months later because of pushback from the school's board of trustees.
The A's are evaluating three sites, including Laney, and are not veering from their original timetable of a 2023 opening. The existing Coliseum site is also on the list, as is Howard Terminal. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is among those championing the Howard Terminal site, and Manfred touted the merits of that location.
The Commissioner said he visited Howard Terminal earlier this year when invited to tour the team's new Jack London Square offices that are situated just minutes away.
"Howard Terminal, obviously, there is a large plot of land," Manfred said. "I think the proximity to Jack London Square is a positive. The proximity to downtown generally is a positive. I think any time you have an opportunity to build a ballpark proximate to the water can be a big positive."
Transportation is a concern with the Howard Terminal site, as BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) reportedly is unwilling to build a new station nearby.
"There's a lot of work to be done in Oakland in terms of figuring out the more difficult issues," Manfred said. "I'm not going to dwell on those other than to mention both financing and there are transportation issues with respect to that site that would need some good hard thinking and investment to make this site work to its maximum potential."
A's president Dave Kaval, who is leading the search, has maintained that any new ballpark would be 100 percent privately financed, which he reiterated in a recent interview with MLB Network Radio.
"I think it's important to note that all the options are in Oakland ... and we're going to have a big 2018 getting to a point where we can make additional progress and announce that to the community," Kaval said. "We gave ourselves a year to negotiate a deal with the city and with the key stakeholders, and we're still in that period, and we're working diligently to find a solution that works not only for us, obviously, but for the community as well."
Said Manfred: "I give get credit to [A's majority owner] John Fisher, Dave Kaval. I think they have approached the prospect of determining where the best possible site in Oakland is with a professionalism and an energy that's commendable."