Talking Colbert, creature comforts and (of course) Springsteen with Rays’ Stuart Sternberg

What hidden depths will our annual Q&A with the Rays principal owner uncover? Dive in.
Hozier at the Trop? Rays owner Stuart Sternberg would be all for that concert. (TAILYR IRVINE | Times)
Hozier at the Trop? Rays owner Stuart Sternberg would be all for that concert. (TAILYR IRVINE | Times)
Published March 20
Updated March 22

Stuart Sternberg is entering his 14th season as principal owner of the Rays, and while the ongoing Quixotic quest for a new stadium has been wearing on him, he is still having a lot of fun. He sat down during spring training for an annual Q&A session. Some excerpts:

Where in the world would you like to go where you haven’t?

I’d like to go as far north as possible during the month of June and just see 20 hours, 22 hours of daylight. I want to see what it’s like when it’s 2 in the morning when it’s bright outside and then the sun comes up a couple hours later.

If someone treated you to a week at a fantasy camp, what kind would you do?

I did a fantasy baseball camp for my 30th birthday, and it was great. If I had to do one now, I’d think it’s cooking related, or food related. … Like something where you forage, and you do a thing where you get a super-fresh meal from the garden, and fish, maybe meat. But I want somebody cooking who knows how to do it.

Last new music you downloaded?

The Essential Josh Rouse, and the new Hozier album (Wasteland, Baby!)

Hozier performs on day one of the Austin City Limits Music Festival's second weekend on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Hozier performs on day one of the Austin City Limits Music Festival's second weekend on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)

[ Hozier plays the Mahaffey Theater on Wednesday ]

Last good thing you read?

It’s by Robert Caro, on the process he did in writing his books about LBJ. It was an amazing piece he did in the New Yorker. I sent it to a number of people.

Favorite new website?

Eater.com. When I’m traveling, eater.com and roadfood.com are both good. And Rex Parker does the New York Times crossword puzzle. (rexwordpuzzle.blogspot.com)

New Twitter follow?

@PassonJim, it’s baseball stuff, he’s good.

New snack food?

(Oldest daughter) Natalie is a pastry chef now, so that’s helpful. She makes her bread, her sourdough, her chocolate souffles. So I’m in a whole other league now.

RELATED: Join our Rays Fever Facebook group for conversation, polls, story links and more

Latest celebrity encounter?

Stephen Colbert. We were at dinner for our anniversary, at The Grill in the Seagram building in New York. He was at the next table.

You’ve touted the benefits of driverless cars; how far would you ride in one?

That’s a great question, because I ask people that question. Right now, I’d think 2-3 miles. I’d do that before I’d bungee jump, which you’ve asked me about before, or parasail.

Three people you’d like to see sing the anthem at the Trop?

Tom Waits, for sure. Hozier. And Courtney Barnett.

What’s your perfect breakfast?

I have my Greek yogurt, my lingonberries, and my Kretschmer wheat germ. I eat it every day. And my green oolang tea.

Favorite seafood meal?

It’s got be a lobster roll.

Last cool thing you bought online?

Glerups. They’re slippers — and they’re amazing.

As we approach the season opener, a couple questions playing off the word open:

Favorite opening line of a song?

The first thing that came to my mind for reason was. “Oh I just don’t know where to begin” (from Accidents Will Happen, by Elvis Costello), but, no, it’s got to be my wedding song with Lisa, Always, by Irving Berlin - "I’ll be loving you always.''

Favorite opening scene of a movie, play, show?

It’s got to be the beginning of The Godfather, where the guy walks in. It’s like you know what the next three hours are bringing you.

Favorite opening of a speech?

How about a speech in a movie? Glengarry Glenn Ross, where Alec Baldwin is going off, the whole thing is amazing.

Best opening line to Lisa, when you first met her?

“What book are you reading?” She was reading a book, and she didn’t look up much from that book.

If there’s a movie or show you want to see, do you go on opening night or wait for the hype to pass?

A movie I’d like to see as soon as possible – I wouldn’t go to a midnight Thursday night thing, but I’d plan to see it that first weekend. A Broadway show I’d wait because they have to get the kinks out a little bit. When a show is on TV I like to see it when it’s happening even though there is appointment viewing. When an album comes out I want to hear it right away.

When you open the door to the fridge, do you usually know what you want or do you stand there and decide?

If I open it and stand there more than a moment, then I’m really picky – it’s got to talk to me. Is it going to be a cheesy thing? A spicy thing? Leftover pasta and a saucy thing? Eggs? Something you’ve got to go through the trouble to make? Something will talk to you. And my move, if I’m really sort of perplexed, is I’ll eat a cracker first – it sort of clears you up to go in.

Home alone, do you sleep with the bedroom door open to closed?

Open. Always open. I don’t like closed doors, most anywhere.

Open row on a Southwest flight, what seat do you take?

I’m an aisle person. I can not not sit in an aisle. I’m not happy with the window.

Do you open presents when given, or do you wait for the event?

I wait for the event, always. You get cards in the mail, fewer and fewer birthday cards these days, but I wall always let them stack up until it’s time. I get into discussions with people about this, Why don’t you open it? And I say, No, you have to wait.

Our annual wrap-up, what Springsteen song best sums up last season?

Magic. It was magic. It was a great year. It really was an amazing year for the franchise.

And for this season?

The Rising.

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]. Follow @TBTimes_Rays.

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