Sternberg on attendance, stadium and payroll
Principal owner Stuart Sternberg addressed the media before Tuesday's game and made a few interesting points:
* Attendance is "well below expectations" but not necessarily surprising. "You prepare for everything you can, but we've dealt with it ... I've seen this movie before. We've seen it, we know what we have to do. It's fell short of expectations; it's not the first time.''
* He is "very pleased" that a coalition of business leaders from St. Petersburg and Tampa will look at the stadium issue: "Any movement is good movement, any discussion is good and I'm very pleased and happy that people care enough that they're willing to chat about it. ... It's great to see.''
* Since Sternberg first talked about the stadium stalemate a year ago, he said overall "I feel no different, everything is the same. The nice thing having addressed it when I did is that I don't really have a need to address it, nothing's changed. But is is nice to see that people are chatting.''
* With the team in the race and the deadline for getting help through trades (and adding to their $41-million payroll) approaching, he said "I can not imagine a time we wouldn't be in position to do that. Winning is still paramount to everything we do. Doing what's best for this organization is paramount to everything we do. ... That'll always be an option. But obviously we weigh that for what it means for future years, both what we're able to spend in future years and playes that we'll have in future years.
* Given the various rumors of potential realignment and scheduling changes by MLB, he said "basically any change I think I'd view as positive. ... We've got as tough a sled to haul as anybody does. Any respite there would be helpful.''
* Overall the team's play to have a 44-35 record at this point "collectively" has exceeded his expectations. "I wouldn't use the word surprising but the guys have really performed on a whole,'' he said. "Really heartening.''
* His conversation with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn before Monday's game was about "how hard he was going to throw the first pitch.''