Live from Port Charlotte: Sternberg still optimistic, committed to area
J.P. Howell, right, greets Stuart Sternberg on the first day of camp. Photo by James Borchuck
Rays principal Stuart Sternberg made it clear during a 30-minute talk with media today that he is optimistic about the coming season despite the changes to the team and committed to making the team a success in the Tampa Bay area.
Sternberg said he expects the team to remain "very competitive, no different than the last few years," and that the 40 percent cut in payroll - from $73-million to around $41-million - is just a product of their overall situation and not to be blamed on any one or anything, though he did say they lost a lot of money: "There's nobody to blame, this is our situation.''
Sternberg quashed speculation from Internet reports about potential interest in buying the Mets, saying the Wilpons have been good owners and helpful to the Rays: "The Mets are owned by the Wilpons, they've been great owners for a long time, they've been very welcoming and helpful to me and ultimately our organization. This is their team and I have no intention of purchasing or looking at purchasing the Mets.''
And while he said there was no progress on a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area (and acknowledged how much it would help), he said he remained committed to making it work: "We are dead set at this point on making this work here."
Sternberg did make it clear that the team will not come up with a stadium plan on its own, that it would need some partnership: "I have a belief that it could happen, but if it's going to fall totally on my shoulders, no.''