Stuart Sternberg is entering his 10th season running the Rays, and despite the frustrations of the stadium stalemate, lagging attendance and small-market disadvantages, he's still having a ball. He sat down during spring training for his annual Q&A, discussing everything from his foray onto Twitter to his history with beards to his favorite museum to his rediscovered taste for sour pickles to his preference between St. Petersburg and Tampa. Some excerpts:
It has been over a year since you made the big move from a Blackberry to an iPhone. What's the coolest thing you've learned to do?
What do I do that's cool on my iPhone? I check the number of steps I take every day.
Last year you were looking for a ring tone that was the "knock" sound when you win at pinball. Any luck?
I've got it on there for one of my rings. It came because somebody read it in your article; Cork Gaines from raysindex.com sent it to me.
So what's your general ring tone?
I don't know, let's look. The jazzy one.
Latest new music you've downloaded and liked?
Father John Misty, and Hurray for the Riff Raff.
New favorite website?
Newyorkeater.com — it's all New York food stories.
Would you rather ride a roller-coaster or go to a "chick flick?"
A chick flick. I am not a roller-coaster guy. I do not like roller-coasters.
Having previously mentioned flax seed, dates, Greek yogurt and Plant City strawberries, what is your latest favorite snack food?
It's an oldie but goody, and it's got a prominent spot now — sour pickles. Guss' sour pickles.
What's your history with facial hair?
I've had beards and a moustache but never a goatee. I'm anti-goatee. I probably last had a beard in the '90s.
Which do you find more appealing, Twitter or Facebook?
I do Twitter now. I only read. I follow like six things. I posted once. It's not under my name. It's all pretty new, just in the last couple months.
Favorite Twitter site?
Best meal you can make?
I grill steaks with fresh corn, and that's about it. That's the best.
What's a place you've never visited but always wanted to?
So, if you had your choice, St. Petersburg or Tampa, if you were going to move … your house?
All my guys are living in St. Petersburg, so St. Petersburg.
Best and worst vacations you've taken?
The best is any vacation with my family. In addition to that, a two-week cruise around the Caribbean, about 30 years ago. Worst vacation? Any vacation where I have to switch a lot of planes. I'm not a big vacation guy, but I don't really have bad ones.
Best and worst dates?
Well the best was obviously the first I had with (his wife) Lisa. And the worst date was when we lost to Texas at home in the playoffs (in 2011). Otherwise, it's been so long since I've been on a date, I don't know.
Last "techie" item you've bought?
I found a great charger for the iPhones — it plugs right in, you don't need a cord. It's like $25 on Amazon. (The Skiva PowerVault Ultra-Portable iPhone 6 Battery Pack.)
Three people you'd like to see sing at the Trop this year?
We could have Regina Spektor. I'm not giving up on Tom Waits yet. (I actually spoke to a guy last year who's involved with his tours. He said he's not touring right now, but keep him in mind. So we're getting a step closer.) And Hozier would be nice.
The last great idea you wish you'd had?
I wish it was shorting oil at $100 a barrel. I'd say Uber (ride service), or Airbnb (online accommodations).
Movie you know the most lines from?
The Godfather, and Annie Hall.
Can you program your DVR?
Oh yeah, but I have to get my daughters (Natalie and Ella) to help me do anything on the computer.
Do you buy funny greeting cards or serious ones?
Anything for Lisa, I buy serious. Otherwise, funny.
What's your typical day like at home?
I'd have to kill you if I told you. And we'll leave it at that.
Financial advice in this current economy?
Things are very fairly and fully priced. Don't go chasing returns now. Don't chase yield.
Where do you like to sit at the movies?
Ideally, on the aisle about 12 rows back.
Butter on your popcorn?
Soft-serve or scooped ice cream?
Soft-serve if I can have it with a brown bonnet (a chocolate coating), otherwise hand-scooped.
And our annual finale, the Springsteen song that best sums up last year?
Held Up Without A Gun.
And for this year?
We Take Care Of Our Own.