"Wonderfully improbable," and other thoughts from principal owner Stu Sternberg
Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg was at the game, and answered questions about a variety of subjects during a more than 20-minute chat with reporters. Here are some excerpts:
* On what he thinks of this late run into contention: "Wonderfully improbable, that's my explanation for what's going on.''
* On the status of manager Joe Maddon, whose contract expires after 2012: "I have no reason to think he wouldn't be here, just like I didn't last time (when he was extended) or the time before that.”
* On reported interest from the Cubs and Astros in hiring away executive VP Andrew Friedman, saying that no one has asked for permission to talk to him: "I'm concerned about anything happening good or bad for any of my employees, but Andrew is a partner here, he’s a partner of mine. And he treats this organization even better than I possibly can. There's nothing to report on that ... We've been at it now, it'll be six years, and it doesn't feel like six years, and I would think we would keep the band together another six years.”
* On attendance over the weekend at the Trop: "I try to keep the attendance thoughts to myself. ... Clearly though it can only help our performance, the team's performance, the more people that get behind us in the stadium cheering them on. It's always difficult, and it's been like for a long time, when the other team does something good there's a ton of cheers and you do something good it doesn't really outweigh it.”
* On the possibility of the payroll going back up next season, after being cut to $41-million this year: "I don't know, but we’ve clearly fallen short on our financial projections. We have to make some projections but I could not have projected our attendance would be down what it was. I don't think anybody would have thought that either. ... Nothing positive happened financially this year. We were last (in attendance going into the weekend). I hadn't even realized that. I didn't forecast last.''
* On the stadium issue: Nothing new, though "I'm glad there's discussion going on.''