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Commissioner Rob Manfred says Tampa Bay important to baseball

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Just before the Tampa Bay Rays started a new season here, baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred suggested there will be several more.

“This is a market that is very important to Major League Baseball,” Manfred said. “We have a great owner and ownership group here in Tampa Bay. We look forward to great success in this market going forward.”

At a time the Rays are searching for a new stadium, perhaps you thought it was time for threats and deadlines. But Manfred had neither. He said that as long as Rays’ owner Stu Sternberg remains committed to the area, baseball will do the same.

“I think the most important thing is Stu’s palpable commitment to this market,” Manfred said. “He is a respected owner in the game. People believe he is working very hard to make this club successful in Tampa. As long as he’s committed, baseball will remain committed.

“I also think the market does have great potential. Obviously, Florida is a growing state. I believe in Tampa Bay; we will find a way to get a facility built that will improve the attendance.”

Manfred said he doesn’t play attention to the stadium issue daily, but he frequently talks to Sternberg to hear of the progress.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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