MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred talks power outages, athletics move to Las Vegas, small markets padres and more

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Major League Baseball players report for camp this week—pitchers and catchers report as a requirement, but many position players get there before their required date anyway—and with that comes spring training. And with spring training comes a media session with MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.

While the commissioner lacked details, here are some of his most relevant responses from Wednesday.

The strange MLB.TV blackout rules have many fans as a guide, via Jeff Passan:

  • “Blackouts are kind of the opposite side of the reach coin. We have to deliver (the) product to fans who want to watch on platforms they normally use at a realistic price. That’s our top priority.”

Diamond Sports, which owns the Bally Sports regional sports networks that own the local broadcast rights to 14 MLB teams, recently filed for bankruptcy.

  • If the network fails to pay teams the money owed, those teams may terminate their contracts with the network. As a result, MLB Network would step in to keep local broadcasts available to affected fanbases, including the Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins, St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres and Minnesota Twins. Manfred also said MLB will “emphasize digital flexibility” to bring the product to fans (via Chelsea Janes).

On the current stadium situation for athletics:

  • Manfred says about Susan Slusserthat the focus was on the possibility of moving to Las Vegas rather than resolving ongoing infrastructure issues with Oakland. Manfred said he supports A’s chairman John Fisher in every decision the ball club makes, but he hasn’t even spoken to new Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao (via Matt Kawahara).

However, in recent years, including this off-season, the Padres have posed as a wholesale club They are one of the smallest market teams in Major League Baseball. Manfred was asked about this.

  • “I think the investment the club has made in talent has allowed them to grow their revenue to the point where they will be a payer under the revenue-sharing scheme this year. The trick for smaller markets has always been sustainability. Hats off to (Padres Chairman) Peter Seidler. He has personally made a massive financial commitment to make this all possible. And the question is, how much longer can you do that? And what happens if you have to go through a conversion? But they’ve done a really, really good job of capitalizing on their talent to grow their revenues.”

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