Thursday, December 14, 2017
Sports

Sternberg reiterates faith in Tampa Bay market as long-term home for Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE — Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg reiterated his faith in the Tampa Bay market during a visit to spring training Tuesday, saying he was "pretty certain" it can be a viable home long-term.

"I'm optimistic," he said, "and my belief since day one is that it can and it will work in this market."

After a January meeting with Sternberg, St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster said he felt the Rays "have a question about the ability of the region to support baseball." Tuesday, Sternberg made it clear the Rays could stay here long-term, and said: "I read some things that characterized that I might not believe that to be the case, and there's nothing further from the truth."

Sternberg said he was pleased with the increased level of discussion around the area about the team's future, led by the Tampa Bay Partnership. And he indicated that while Major League Baseball officials are impatient with the stadium impasse, there would not necessarily be threats and ultimatums forthcoming.

"I'm a conciliatory kind of guy, and we just want to keep getting the message out," Sternberg said. "And I believe brighter, more sensible minds will prevail."

Sternberg said he was "encouraged" by recent talks between Foster, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and business leaders, "but I also think it's going slower than it can be."

Sternberg specifically praised the efforts of the Tampa Bay Partnership led by Chuck Sykes, to focus on the team as a regional asset.

"It's incredible, the work they're doing and the time they're taking and the energy they're putting in, and most importantly, the regionalization of the team, which I've been a proponent of since '06, since it was clear to me upon coming in here, is what's really going to make this thing really hum over time," he said.

"I can't underestimate the great job Chuck and the people he's working with — and the willingness to do that job — have done."

Rays officials are hoping for an increase in attendance based on a slight increase in season ticket sales and what they perceived to be an overall increased level of interest in the team and improvement in the economy.

A key, he said, will be support from the business community. "I ask the businesses just if they're thinking about it, get off the fence and buy a plan or season tickets," he said.

Comments
Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

UPDATE, 4:02: It doesn't sound like the Rays and Cardinals will be making a deal today, Derrick Goold writing for the St. Louis Post Dispatch that Cardinals execs "leave the Walt Disney Dolphin resort with good feel for what Tampa Bay would be willin...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Mikhail Sergachev earning trust – and more minutes with Lightning

Mikhail Sergachev earning trust – and more minutes with Lightning

Coyotes center Clayton Keller is very familiar with fellow rookie Mikhail Sergachev, the Lightning defenseman.They both were picked in the top-10 of the 2016 NHL Draft, Keller at No. 7 and Sergachev No. 9 to Montreal. They faced each other in three w...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Veteran Jonny Venters, prospect Joe McCarthy among 13 Tampa Bay Rays spring invitees

Veteran Jonny Venters, prospect Joe McCarthy among 13 Tampa Bay Rays spring invitees

Inspiring veteran LHP Jonny Venters and intriguing prospect 1B/OF Joe McCarthy are among 13 players invited to major-league spring training camp with the Rays.Others coming as a result of signing minor-league contracts with invites are: RHP R.J. Alan...
Updated: 4 hours ago
USF’s Nigel Harris eager for chance with hometown Bucs

USF’s Nigel Harris eager for chance with hometown Bucs

When Nigel Harris chose where to play college football, he wanted to stay home in Tampa at USF. And now, after playing for the Chargers and Giants as an NFL rookie, he's grateful for the chance to again prove himself in Tampa as the newest member of ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: Carson Wentz's injury drops Eagles out of top five

NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: Carson Wentz's injury drops Eagles out of top five

What follows below is a ranking of all 32 NFL teams. To build this list, we consulted five objective measures of team strength: Pro Football Reference’s Simple Rating System, Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average ratings...
Updated: 2 hours ago
NFL Week 15: Tampa Bay Times staff picks

NFL Week 15: Tampa Bay Times staff picks

Week 15 starts and ends with disappointment — a Thursday night meeting of two of the more disappointing teams (Denver at Indianapolis) and a Monday night game that once had held high hopes locally (Atlanta at Tampa Bay). Once.Here's our picks f...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Former USF star Courtney Williams makes national team pool

Former USF star Courtney Williams makes national team pool

Former USF women's basketball sensation Courtney Williams is one significant step closer to becoming an Olympian.Williams, who just completed her first full season with the WNBA's Connecticut Sun, is among 29 players who have been chosen for the 2017...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

The Rays lost RHP Burch Smith in Thursday's Rule 5 draft but were happy to see him get an opportunity in Kansas City.They also were pleased to hang on to C Nick Ciuffo, who was left exposed but not selected.Smith, 27, was acquired from the Padres as ...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

UPDATE, 11:09: RHP Steve Cishek, who was a very effective addition to the Rays pen last season, has reunited with pitching coach Jim Hickey, agreeing to a deal with the Cubs.UPDATE, 10:40: Like most teams, Rays officials are heading out of the meetin...
Updated: 3 minutes ago

Tim Tebow wants to help throw you a tailgate wedding (sausages included)

Tim Tebow loves weddings.He apparently also loves football, tailgate parties and a good brat, which might explain why he’s lending his pitchman talents to a contest that ties all four together.In a promotional video, Tebow asks, "What happens when yo...
Updated: 2 hours ago