Manfred covers array of topics in visit to San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO -- Visiting AT&T Park for the first time since succeeding Bud Selig, Commissioner Rob Manfred discussed adding a replay review center here that would serve as a backup for the existing system in New York.
Manfred said there is a need for "redundancy" in the replay system -- "meaning that if New York goes down, then someplace else can [operate]," he said.
MLB's replay center is located in Manhattan at the offices of MLB Advanced Media.
Explaining the choice of San Francisco as a companion replay site, Manfred cited MLB's satellite office here. "It makes sense in terms of the economics to do it where you have an existing facility," he said. He also mentioned the city's proximity to Silicon Valley as an important factor.
Manfred hopes to see the West Coast facility established by sometime next year, though he said that no timetable has been set for opening it. "It's in the planning stages," he said.
Manfred discussed a variety of other topics, including:
• The possibility of Major League expansion. Manfred named Montreal, Portland, and Charlotte as cities that have "checked in" with him recently to discuss establishing franchises in their cities. Nothing in this realm is imminent, Manfred emphasized. "I do not see this as a short-term issue," he said. But, he added, "I do believe this is a strong and growing business, and over the long haul, strong and growing businesses often expand."
• His support for using the All-Star Game to determine which league representative receives home-field advantage in the World Series. This function, Manfred said, "has played an important role in keeping our All-Star Game as the best All-Star Game in professional sports."
• Possible inequities in All-Star balloting, which this year could result in a preponderance of Kansas City Royals starters in the American League lineup for the Midsummer Classic. "We'll be prepared to make changes," said Manfred, who also observed, "Fan balloting is a very important source of fan engagement.
• His position regarding the Oakland A's ongoing search for a satisfactory ballpark site. Manfred reiterated his support for a new facility in Oakland, citing MLB's preference for franchises to stay put. When the Oakland Raiders' similar pursuit of a stadium was mentioned, Manfred said, "There are lots of really good economic reasons why politicians in Oakland should make baseball their priority, including the 81 home dates that we bring [to the city]."