SBD/February 29, 2012/Franchises

Rays Owner Sternberg Offers Positive Outlook On Season, Stadium Talks

Sternberg said there will be no threats forthcoming from Rays for a new stadium
Rays Owner Stuart Sternberg appeared at his team's Spring Training facility yesterday, and was "a bit more positive about the entire picture" for the franchise compared to last season, according to Tom Korun of WFTS-ABC. This year, the Rays are "increasing payroll from $41-million to the neighborhood of $65-million." Sternberg said, "It shows the faith we have in this area." He conceded that the team is "still sustaining losses." And he added that has "to end." Sternberg indicated that despite MLB officials "growing restless with the lack of progress for a new Rays stadium, there will be no ultimatums or threats forthcoming." He said, "I believe brighter, more sensible minds will prevail" (ABCACTIONNEWS.com, 2/28). Sternberg said of keeping his team in the Tampa Bay area, "If I didn't think it would work, we wouldn't be spending what we're spending here to win. I think the winning and the continued winning and the continued success gives us the best chance to ultimately put us in a position to have this sustainable." In Tampa, Marc Topkin notes Sternberg has "resigned himself to a stadium resolution taking years, but, locked into a lease at Tropicana Field through 2027, warns 'this can't go on' for decades" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 2/29). The AP's Fred Goodall noted Sternberg is "encouraged that there has been dialogue among region politicians and business leaders about the need for a new stadium." But Sternberg added, "I also think it's going slower than it can be." Meanwhile, Sternberg said, "Everybody knows the challenges in the division. ... If I was spending three-X what we are now, I would tell you I have an expectation to make the playoffs. But to be in the American League East and spend 60 some odd million, which is still a 50 percent bump from last year, I have no right ... to expect we'll make the playoffs. I do expect we're going to win a lot of baseball games." Sternberg: "We're competing without the revenue. That is not an endless cycle" (AP, 2/28).
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