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Some A's from Stu too ...



Prinicpal owner Stuart Sternberg hadn't been around for awhile, acknowledging Saturday that he hadn't seen a game in person since May 1 so as not to jinx the team.
But he and his extended family were on the field before Saturday's game, and Sternberg said was pleased by what the team had done so far, and reiterated that ownership what do whatever it could - within reason - in terms of boosting the team for a run to the postseason.
"I won't say "whatever," no,'' Sternberg said. "We will do whatever we think is reasonable and right and as much as we possibly can.''
His philosophy? "It's got to be something that's right. We're still long-term greedy, which is a motto from one of my old businesses, and what that means is that you can't completely mortgage your future,'' Sternberg said.
"But by the same token you don't necessarily get a lot of opportunities to take a real good cut at a fat pitch, so to speak, and if it's there to be done, and when it fits, that's great. But certainly when you bring somebody new in, if it came to that, it displaces an existing person. And the existing people are doing a pretty damn good job right now.''

Among changes caused by the team's success? "A lot more ticket requests, absolutely. People are really feeling good for me. ... They're just really happy for me because it really did such a 180. In the past, people feeling sorry in a sense; now there's a lot of pride."

How gratifying is the success? "Those who know me, I really appreciate when the plan comes together. That's what it's all about. ... To see this come together in such a way, and it can certainly change on a dime and there's a of factors that go into it, but things have jelled very nicely. You can never time this stuff. You never know. I think we had clearly put ourselves in a position to succeed.''

As far as the stadium issue?
"It's been touch-and-go obviously the last couple months. We continue to work really hard and probably have worked too hard on it for the last year, year-and-a-half. And it's still a work in progress.''

As for commissioner Bud Selig's comments that the Rays can't be successful at Tropicana Field?
"Bud has been extraordinarily supportive not just through the process of the stadium but everything we have been doing. He gives a lot of interviews and he speaks about a lot of things and he's been through 25 or 27 new stadium projects so specific to what we have going on here, I don't know that you want to take every word and hang on it. But we've spoken a great deal about it, he understands the situation and knows that we need to have something done within a period of time. I'm very happy with the building. The way the building is playing right now, you get 25,000, 30,000, 35,000 people in here, it's a nice place, a great facility for that. But long-term it doesn't give us the opportunity, mid-term and long-term, to sustain what it is we've begun to build here.''

So what would you do if it fails, and what is Plan B? "You don't throw good money after bad, whatever work and whatever money we've put into it to this point,  and I can sit here and tell you it's substantial, the money has been a quite a bit and most importantly, the organization and the amount of work a number of people have done, has been substantial. So you don't just keep throwing money after it, and more importantly, time and energy, just because of what you've done. As far as Plan B, you're looking at it. It always was. The nice thing is we have a Plan B. Our lease is not up, it's not raining in here. The humidity is fine. It's 72 degrees. We fortunately made the difficult decisions over the last few years to refurbish the place and put a lot of dough into it, because you always sort of need a Plan B.
But for how long? "At least five years and not 15. I'm probably down to at least four years and not 14 at this point. The building itself can't sustain the length of its lease (through 2027) just A) from an upkeep standard and B) what it would do for us to recharge the fan base in addition to what we're doing right now.''

Then again, the scene at the Trop has been good for the Saturday night concert series games. "If all else fails, we'll just go into concert promotion here,'' he said.

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:36am]


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