Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

He believes in the promised land

Principal owner Stuart Sternberg has a hand in all facets of the Rays operations, from the boardroom to the ballpark. He sat down recently for his annual Q&A session with St. Petersburg Times baseball writer Marc Topkin and shared his views on everything from first job (it was dirty) to his top TV show (it's not sports) to his favorite subjects such as food (here come the Mallomars again) and music (Tom Waits, where are you?). And, of course, Springsteen came up. Here are excerpts:

How long ago does 2008 feel?

More than 16 months, and I measure 2008 by October as opposed to Dec. 31. Late October.

If you did not end up on Wall Street what would you be doing?

I would be making decorator pillows (in his late father's Brooklyn, N.Y., business, the Pillow Shop).

First job?

Cleaning airplanes, at JFK, for a cleaning company.

Did you ever find anything good?

I found out I didn't want to clean airplanes anymore. That was very good. Let me tell you, it made me work a bit harder.

Worst job?

Cleaning airplanes.

How is life different with your oldest son, Sandy, off at college?

I'm outnumbered by the ladies (with his wife, two daughters, one son at home).

First car?

1968 Buick Electra 225 — a deuce and a quarter as they called it.

What color?

Gold. What else in the '70s?

What are you driving now?

Either a Honda minivan or a Mazda Miata.

A Miata? What color?


Drink of choice at a social event?

A dry Beefeater martini. That's for my father — that was his drink, so that's what I drink.

If you're at the mall with the family, where do you hang out? Brookstone? The music store?

With the family. I just follow them around.

So what if the girls say they'll meet you in an hour so they can go try on dresses?

They've never said that. I'm expected to go with them.

Last movie you saw?

Alice in Wonderland.

Last book you read?

Drive, by Daniel Pink.

Do you watch American Idol?


Favorite TV show?

Modern Family — it's excellent.

Favorite bad TV show?

Cash Cab.

Guilty pleasure, when it's one of those days?

Mallomars (a chocolate, graham cracker, marshmallow cookie sold seasonally and regionally).

You always come back to the Mallomars, don't you?

I've got boxes stored away in my wine cellar.

Screen saver?

My kids' names.

Favorite Web site?

Slice ( or A Hamburger Today (

Okay, so how about a couple of food questions:

Favorite kind of pizza?

Coal oven with fresh mozzarella.

Favorite place?

Totonno's on Coney Island

How do you like your burger?

With cheese and lettuce on a soft bun.

Best place for a burger?

JG Melon, followed by the Blazer Pub (both in New York).

Fried eggs or scrambled?


Corned beef or pastrami?


Soup or salad?


Soft-serve or scooped ice cream?

Soft-serve if it has a brown bonnet on it (chocolate dip).

Favorite New York deli?

2nd Ave.

Is there anything close in Florida?

The closest is Jo-El's (in St. Petersburg).

Last year you revealed the deep, personal secret of your new affection for chocolate-drizzled popcorn. Has something replaced that?


Dates? They sound very healthy.

They're tasty.

Leno or Letterman?


Have you tweeted?

No, and I don't anticipate doing it.

Road city you've liked more than you would have thought going in?

Cleveland. The music scene, the (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) museum, the food.

Our annual tradition — the Springsteen song that best sums up last year?

I actually thought about this coming in, and I've had a few other suggestions, but without any commentary: It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City.

And for this coming season?

The Promised Land.

If you were picking the postgame concerts, who would be three acts you'd want?

I actually do pick the post-game concerts, but it's done by who would our fans like as opposed to who would Stu like. And unfortunately they don't seem to overlap — My Morning Jacket, the Decemberists and Tom Waits.

Favorite all-time baseball player?

Sandy Koufax.

NBA player?

Willis Reed.

NFL player?

Ray Nitschke.

NHL player?

Rod Gilbert.

Who will you root for when the Nets move to Brooklyn?

The Knicks. I have to stay with the Knicks.

Best non-baseball sports venue?

Madison Square Garden.

Of the old baseball stadiums that are out there, which is your favorite?

Wrigley, clearly Wrigley.

I figured it wasn't Fenway.

That notwithstanding, 10 years ago it was Wrigley.

And of the new stadiums?

I'm a tough critic on those. The Minnesota one looks like it's going to be real nice. I would have to say Cleveland. But I haven't been to most of the West Coast ones.

So in a perfect world, where are the Rays playing in 10 years?

Where you can see the blue sky and smell the open air and fresh grass.

He believes in the promised land 04/01/10 [Last modified: Friday, April 2, 2010 2:18am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. With trade freeze over, Lightning could be active


    With the dust settling on the expansion draft saga, the Lightning can now focus on addressing some of its needs.

  2. NBA draft: Jonathan Isaac could make FSU history tonight


    Florida State forward Jonathan Isaac will probably hear his name called early in tonight's NBA draft.

  3. USF walk-on tight end Palmore faces charge of credit card fraud


    A University of South Florida football player faces charges of fraudulent use of a credit card and petit theft following his arrest by Temple Terrace police on Monday.

    USF senior tight end Adrian Palmore faces charges of fraudulent use of a credit card and petit theft after his arrest by Temple Terrace police on June 19, 2017. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Rowdies defender gets the call to represent Jamaica


    ST. PETERSBURG —- Damion Lowe has loved his first season with the Rowdies but has some other soccer-related business that might pull him away for a bit.

    Family business, too.

    Tampa Bay Rowdies defender Damion Lowe collides with Louisville City FC forward Luke Spencer earlier this year.
  5. Sarasota's Scooter Gennett: Utility man turned historic slugger

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — On June 10, 2009, the Brewers selected a Sarasota High School shortstop in the 16th round of the MLB draft. He'd assembled an impressive resume in prep ball, but as one of more than 1,500 players drafted that year, he had a tough road to the big leagues.

    Cincinnati Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett (4) of Sarasota makes the throw to first as Rays DH Trevor Plouffe (14) grounds into a double play at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg Monday, June 19, 2017. For Gennett, the three-game series this week with the Rays was his first trip back to Tampa Bay since his historic four-home run game June 6, 2017 against St. Louis. DIRK SHADD   |   Times