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Manfred supports D-backs on ballpark issue

MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

PHOENIX -- Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred left no doubt where he stood on the ongoing legal situation between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Maricopa County Stadium District when it comes to capital repairs needed at Chase Field.

"We concur wholeheartedly with the Diamondbacks' position that there are substantial needs here, with respect to this stadium, to keep it as a Major League-quality stadium," Manfred said. "It would be unusual for a tenant to be responsible for those sorts of capital repairs, and we think the Diamondbacks have taken the correct position."

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PHOENIX -- Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred left no doubt where he stood on the ongoing legal situation between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Maricopa County Stadium District when it comes to capital repairs needed at Chase Field.

"We concur wholeheartedly with the Diamondbacks' position that there are substantial needs here, with respect to this stadium, to keep it as a Major League-quality stadium," Manfred said. "It would be unusual for a tenant to be responsible for those sorts of capital repairs, and we think the Diamondbacks have taken the correct position."

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A study commissioned by the county revealed that Chase Field would require $187 million worth of maintenance over the next 12 years to keep it current.

The D-backs and Maricopa County have been at odds as to who is responsible for those capital expenditures, and the two sides are currently in litigation over the matter.

Manfred said that the Chase Field situation was reviewed by baseball's executive vice president, administration and chief information officer, John McHale, who gained extensive experience as new stadiums opened during his time with the Rockies and Tigers.

Chase Field opened in 1998, and the team's lease runs through 2028. The stadium is not yet 20 years old, but Manfred said that doesn't mean it wouldn't benefit from improvements.

"I understand how old the stadium is," Manfred said. "I think the real issue is, has the landlord made the capital improvements that are always necessary in the stadium in between its 10th and 20th years in order to keep it of a Major League quality. And I think the county's own study, as well as those studies that have been done by the club, both of which we've reviewed, suggest that's not the case."

The D-backs have asked the county for the right to talk with other potential partners as a way to explore alternatives for remaining in downtown Phoenix. That request was denied by the county.

"We want all of our clubs to play in Major League-quality stadiums," Manfred said. "I think for this particular facility to remain a Major League-quality stadium, there are substantial capital expenditures that need to be made. If, for whatever set of reasons, those expenditures can't be made, there will come a point in time where if, with this franchise, like any other franchise, we reach the conclusion it's not a Major League-quality facility, we're going to look for an alternative."

Manfred was in Phoenix on Tuesday as part of his desire to visit with each Major League team.

Video: Manfred talks about importance of visiting each club

Manfred met with D-backs president/CEO Derrick Hall, then had lunch with the organization's corporate partners before addressing the team's front-office staff.

Following a news conference, Manfred held a Q&A session with a group of 50-75 fans. He planned on watching Tuesday's game against the Padres with Hall while also spending some time on both the D-backs television and radio broadcasts.

Video: SD@ARI: Manfred discusses youth baseball programs

"It's important, I think, for those of us in New York to be out visiting the clubs," Manfred said. "The heart of our game is in our local markets. That's really where our business gets done. So you come on a visit like this, and you always get an opportunity to learn something."

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Arizona Diamondbacks