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Would it matter if Rays owner Stuart Sternberg moved to Tampa Bay area?

“If I did live in the area, how many people should I expect to show up? Give me that answer,'' he says in response.
Catcher Erik Kratz takes a strong throw from leftfielder Austin Meadows and tags out the Yankees' Aaron Hicks, trying to score from second, to end the sixth inning and keep the Rays only one-run down on Saturday, May 18, 2019. [JIM McISAAC   |   Associated Press]
Catcher Erik Kratz takes a strong throw from leftfielder Austin Meadows and tags out the Yankees' Aaron Hicks, trying to score from second, to end the sixth inning and keep the Rays only one-run down on Saturday, May 18, 2019. [JIM McISAAC | Associated Press]
Published May 19, 2019
Updated May 19, 2019

NEW YORK — One of the complaints that pops up about Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg is that he continues to live in New York despite owning the team for 14 seasons.

Some Twitterers and others go as far as to suggest there would be more support for the team if Sternberg, like Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, relocated to the Tampa Bay area.

To which Sternberg, who makes regular trips to St. Petersburg, said, basically, really?

Sternberg pointed out that the Steinbrenners, late father George and now son Hal, own the Yankees but live in Tampa, among others who are not locals:

“There are a lot of baseball owners who don’t live in their cities who don’t win as many games as we do and ... because we’re last or next to last in attendance, they draw more people.’’

Could it really matter?

“How about this,’’ Sternberg said. “If I did live in the area, how many people should I expect to show up? Give me that answer, and I’ll take it from there.’’

Spotlight on Meadows

Austin Meadows had a group of reporters waiting at his locker after Friday’s frustrating loss, tossing questions about Yankees starter CC Sabathia throwing at him during a fifth inning at-bat.

Meadows didn’t think at the time it was intentional. But when shown a TV video clip of Sabathia yelling toward his dugout saying, “I definitely was trying to hit his a- -,” Meadows became quite aware.

“Seeing that afterward, obviously he was trying to (hit me),’’ Meadows said Friday. “You know CC, he’s been around a long time. He’s a competitor. He obviously wanted to take a shot there. … Obviously we had a beef (between the teams) back and forth. It’s part of the game, honestly. Luckily, I didn’t get hit. But it is what it is.’’

On Saturday, Meadows got to hit back, lashing an 11th-inning homer that gave the Rays a 2-1 win. That after earlier making a strong throw from leftfield to the plate to cut down Aaron Hicks from extending the Yankees’ 1-0 lead.

Was there any extra satisfaction after the Sabathia incident?

“Nah, (Friday) is what it is,’’ he said. “We watched that. We responded well today. It was a tough day again. We’re always going to play the Yankees close so being able to come out with a win was big.’’

The home run, Meadows’ first in extra innings, was rewarding because earlier in the count he fouled off a Luis Cessa breaking ball, then got another he didn’t miss. As for Meadows’ throw, after Hicks ran through his third-base coach’s stop sign:

“It looked like he had to put it right on the money, and he did,’’ manager Kevin Cash said.

Snell game

Ace Blake Snell acknowledged, for whatever reason, he didn’t have much of his best stuff Saturday, which made the job of new catcher Erik Kratz, the 38-year-old journeyman acquired Thursday, even more important.

“For what I had, working with him, you could tell he’s a vet and knows what he’s doing,’’ Snell said. “We talked every inning and were on the same page for the most part. It was fun to work with him, and I’m excited to work with him again. … He’s just very calm. … It was very mutual. … He’s very confident in what he’s doing and what he’s talking about.’’

The only run Snell allowed came on a wild pitch after he loaded the bases with one out in the third.

List of the day

Only seven players have appeared in a game for the Rays older than new catcher Erik Kratz, who debuted for them Saturday at 38 years, 337 days:

Player Games

3B Wade Boggs 213

C Jose Molina 66

1B Fred McGriff 27

RH Troy Percival 2

RF Russ Springer 1

LH Brian Shouse 1

DH Julio Franco 1

Number of the day

6-15

Record for Rays at Yankee Stadium since start of 2017.

Miscellany

• Righty reliever Hunter Wood was activated after missing 16 days due to right shoulder soreness, pitched the 10th inning and got the win. Pitcher Austin Pruitt was sent back to Triple A.

• Matt Duffy (hamstring) continued his rehab on Saturday with the Class A Stone Crabs in Clearwater and was slated to play shortstop rather than his usual third base. That creates an interesting possibility that he could get some time at short when he returns, given the lack of consistent production from Willy Adames and Daniel Robertson.

• The Rays return home for a pair of games with the Dodgers before heading out again, marking the third two-game “homestand” in franchise history. They did it in 1998 and 1998 against the Twins.

• As part of an MLB-wide tribute to Armed Forces Day, the Rays and other teams wore a patch on their uniforms Saturday and camo caps all weekend.

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