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Sternberg: Can't imagine we could be in better shape for opener

Rays owner Stuart Sternberg smiles along with Rays fan Ashley Wright, 29, from Parrish, as her husband Andrew Dropla takes a picture with his smartphone during Rays batting practice today at Tropicana Field.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Rays owner Stuart Sternberg smiles along with Rays fan Ashley Wright, 29, from Parrish, as her husband Andrew Dropla takes a picture with his smartphone during Rays batting practice today at Tropicana Field.

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Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg joked that the widespread lofty expectations and predictions of a World Series berth for the team scare him, but he said before Monday's opener he likes where they are.

"I can not imagine a year where we'd be in better shape on Opening Day than we are right now.'' he said.

Sternberg said he has not met since February with St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman - he hoped to see him here today - about the stadium issue but expected they would continue talking and "things will happen" this year though he didn't know what. He said the clock on resolving the stadium stalemate has been "loudly ticking for a few years.''

"Progress isn't going to happen with one meeting or another it's going to happen with like minds coming together and trying to figure out what's best for the citizens of St. Petersburg and of Tampa Bay and Florida in general,'' he said.

Sternberg said he expected the weekend exhibition games in Montreal to draw well - and pointed out that conversely if a team was based in Montreal and came to St. Petersburg for exhibitions they would have drawn well too -  and that didn't impact the Rays situation: "We're committed to doing our best to see this thing through.''

Sternberg said initial sales and projections indicate attendance will be up this year, especially with the introduction of the flex-pack ticket program.

Also, Sternberg said he was pleased with renovations to the Trop, with the installation of a 360-degree walkway and The Porch fan area in centerfield.

[Last modified: Monday, March 31, 2014 3:46pm]

    

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