Tuesday, December 12, 2017
News Roundup

Young fans help Rays grow their base, team owner says

TAMPA — Echoing an upbeat tone he set on opening day, Rays owner Stuart Sternberg told Tampa business leaders the team is growing its fan base — from the bottom up.

Since opening day, the team has offered discount packages to about 25,000 school children and Little Leaguers, which has helped boost early season attendance.

Developing fans "doesn't happen overnight'' and the team is "preaching patience,'' Sternberg told about 270 people at the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce's annual Rays appreciation luncheon at the Downtown Hilton.

"Today's 5-year-olds, 8-year-olds and 12-year olds who were here in 2008 are growing into Rays fans,'' he said, "Having a team here is a reason for them to stay in the area.''

Sternberg made only a passing reference to the Rays' desire for a new stadium, an issue that has created tension in the past between the team and St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster.

"We are just beginning to scratch the surface of what can be done here,'' Sternberg said. "Clearly it begins with a new home. It will glow and emanate throughout the state ... a beacon. We will get there because of people and business leaders in this room who treasure the Rays and what they mean to the Tampa Bay area.''

Earlier this month, both Sternberg and Foster said they have opened dialogue about the Rays' hopes to examine new stadium sites in both Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, though neither man would go into specifics. Foster has so far refused to allow the team to look at sites outside of St. Petersburg or on adjacent Pinellas County land.

On Tuesday, Sternberg said he has not met with Foster since opening day.

Through Monday, the Rays ranked 22nd out of 30 teams in attendance, with 21,904 people per game.

That compares to last season's 19,255 average, which was the lowest in Major League Baseball, but it is too early to draw conclusions, said Rays President Matt Silverman. Too much depends on which opponents come to town, who is pitching and whether games fall on weekends or weekdays.

The Rays expect 2013 attendance to remain "more or less flat'' compared to 2012, Silverman said, and April's numbers support that prediction.

Team officials will address a joint meeting of Pinellas chambers of commerce on May 9.

Comments
Lions-Buccaneers Turning Point, Week 14: A coach's future hangs in the balance

Lions-Buccaneers Turning Point, Week 14: A coach's future hangs in the balance

TAMPA — The season started in August with “Hard Knocks,” packed bleachers at training camp and cheers for coach Dirk Koetter.It ended Sunday with a 24-21 loss to the Lions, a lot of empty seats and chants of “We want Gruden ba...
Updated: 3 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Dec. 11

Monday’s scoreboardGirls soccerDixie Hollins 4, Boca Ciega 0Palm Harbor U. 2, Countryside 2Osceola 7, Northeast 0Largo 1, Seminole 0Boys soccerIndian Rocks Chr. 3, Northside Chr. 1Palm Harbor U. 4, Countryside 1...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Winter meetings journal: Rays closer Alex Colome drawing interest

Winter meetings journal: Rays closer Alex Colome drawing interest

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The Rays made a small deal Monday in acquiring INF Joey Wendle from Oakland while continuing to discuss bigger ones that seem likely to eventually lead to the trade of closer Alex Colome and then others.The Rockies and Mets joined ...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Mon., Dec. 11, midday:32 251 1266e_SRit91903Mon., Dec. 11, evening:52 400 7181e_SRit23090Fantasy 5Mon., Dec. 11...
Updated: 5 hours ago
HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Emily Joseph and Devin Cosser

HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Emily Joseph and Devin Cosser

HomeTeam Hot ShotsEmily Joseph, NortheastJoseph, a senior, has been a deadly shooter since her sophomore year. But this season she has added to her game. "She’s gotten physically stronger and has gained confidence," coach Will White said. "She used t...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Florida A&M names Willie Simmons football coach

Florida A&M names Willie Simmons football coach

TALLAHASSEE — Willie Simmons was named football coach at Florida A&M on Monday. The Tallahassee native will be introduced today. Simmons, 37, has been the coach at Prairie View A&M the past three seasons (21-11, including 6-5 this season). He played ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Yankees’ acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton may hasten Rays’ dismantling

Yankees’ acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton may hasten Rays’ dismantling

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The latest obstacle keeping the Rays from contending in the American League East loomed even larger Monday afternoon in pinstripes.The Yankees’ formal introduction of Giancarlo Stanton also could be an accelerant to the departure o...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Residents wonder what’s next after fire destroys Tampa apartments (with video)

Residents wonder what’s next after fire destroys Tampa apartments (with video)

TAMPA — When her apartment complex caught fire Monday afternoon, Peaches McIntyre grabbed her four children and baby stroller and ran outside.Hours later, she looked at the smoldering building with her 5-year-old autistic son, Choice Underwood, huggi...
Updated: 6 hours ago
3 Trump accusers call for congressional inquiry; Pentagon to allow transgender people to enlist; 18 win anti-Trump climate grants; more in U.S., world news

3 Trump accusers call for congressional inquiry; Pentagon to allow transgender people to enlist; 18 win anti-Trump climate grants; more in U.S., world news

United States3 Trump accusers speak, hoping to be heard nowThree women who have previously accused President Donald Trump of sexual harassment shared their stories Monday on NBC’s Megyn Kelly Today. Jessica Leeds, Samantha Holvey and Rachel Crooks s...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Judge denies former Clearwater fire chief’s motion for a new trial

Judge denies former Clearwater fire chief’s motion for a new trial

A Pinellas circuit judge denied a bid for a new trial in the case of Jamie Geer, the former Clearwater fire chief serving a life sentence for sexually abusing a girl throughout her childhood.Geer, now 63, was in court in October seeking the new trial...
Updated: 7 hours ago