Oh, the drama. The drama of politics in inserting itself once more into the Milwaukee Brewers very existence. As threats of the franchise leaving Milwaukee get thrown out, people begin to pay attention.
The way some were framing the situation, you would've thought the Brewers were halfway out the door.
Rob Manfred is in Milwaukee on his tour of all 30 MLB stadiums and upon his arrival, talks of money instantly followed.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred came to Milwaukee to stump for government funding of needed improvements to the Brewers home of American Family Field.
Here's some of Rob Manfred's comments to local reporters on Thursday afternoon.
Here's just a general rehash of what's going on: The Brewers are seeking close to $300MM in state funding to help fund renovations and maintenance needs for American Family Field. The state is seeking an extension of the Brewers lease through 2043 in return. The Brewers current lease ends in 2030. There is debate within the state government about whether or not to actually give this funding for the stadium.
So here comes Rob Manfred. He talks up the relationship between the team and the state and puts the onus on the state for their end of the funding obligation for the stadium. Within the current lease, the state does have to help pay for maintenance of the park.
Basically, Manfred's here to help pressure the state legislature to agree to give the ballpark district (which owns Am Fam Field) the funding it wants for upgrades to the stadium.
Manfred didn't seem concerned that the state government won't come up with a plan for funding, noting, again, that it's an "obligation". Whether the final number is the $290 million originally asked for or is something different doesn't really matter. There is going to have to be some matter of state funding to the ballpark district for maintenance under the terms of the lease.
Manfred wields the power to relocate the franchise if he so chooses, so that kind of threat feels like it's out there even if he doesn't say it specifically. MLB is currently dealing with stadium funding fights in Tampa Bay and Oakland/Las Vegas. Oakland's government wasn't willing to meet the A's ownership demands for funding to help build a ballpark and now they're looking to relocate to Vegas. Of course, those fights have been going on for a decade or more and this fight for money just started a few weeks ago.
Whatever state of disrepair American Family Field has fallen into, it certainly isn't worse than the Oakland Coliseum or Tropicana Field in Tampa. Does the stadium need better maintenance funding? Absolutely. Manfred is here to help put some more pressure on the state to make it happen.
Any worries about the Brewers actually leaving Milwaukee at this point are unfounded.