MLB commish weighs in on D-backs stadium dispute

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The head of Major League Baseball offered his opinion on the legal battle between the franchise and Maricopa County. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The head of Major League Baseball offered his opinion on the legal battle between the franchise and Maricopa County. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The D-backs want the County to pay for about $187 million in upgrades. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The D-backs want the County to pay for about $187 million in upgrades. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred took the D-backs' side and said the County needs to pay for the repairs. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred took the D-backs' side and said the County needs to pay for the repairs. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

There was a buzz at the ballpark on Tuesday and it had nothing to do with the Arizona Diamondbacks returning home two games out of first place in the NL West. 

Rob Manfred made his first trip to Chase Field as MLB commissioner during the regular season. Manfred met the media and weighed in on the saga surrounding Maricopa County and Chase Field continuing to be the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

[READ MORE: County on Diamondbacks: ‘We’re not sure what they’re after’]

“We concur wholeheartedly with the Diamondbacks' position that there are substantial needs here, with respect to this stadium to keep it a Major League quality stadium,” said Manfred.

Chase Field opened in 1998. The Maricopa County Stadium District owns and operates Chase Field, while the Diamondbacks pay rent to play at the stadium as a tenant. The Diamondbacks have claimed the stadium needs $187 million in capital repairs.

County officials, however, said that past capital improvements to extend the life of Chase Field have been completed by the county using rent revenue from the Diamondbacks.

In January, the D-backs filed a lawsuit claiming stadium conditions will become unsafe if millions more dollars are not invested by the county for repairs. It requested immediate release from the contract that runs through the end of 2027, in turn ending its lease at Chase Field.

[READ: D-backs sue Maricopa County over Chase Field lease]

The county stadium district has filed a countersuit to dismiss the Diamondbacks' filing and asked for arbitration.

Maricopa County remains firm that it has enough money to cover any necessary repairs to the stadium.

Manfred was asked if it is important for municipalities to be involved in funding stadiums.

“It would be unusual for a tenant to be responsible to pay for those capital repairs. Baseball stadiums are different from other facilities,” said Manfred.  “We play 81 times a year. I do believe, I continue to believe that there is a substantial justification for public funding of stadium construction.”

The D-backs are at home through Sunday.

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