Sports Illustrated ranked the top 5 owners in baseball and Stuart Sternberg made the list at #5.
Yes, it’s only been one year of playoffs — but what a year. The Rays won the toughest division with the second-smallest payroll in the majors, and do business the model way for a low-revenue franchise. They’re not a surprise anymore, but Sternberg has green-lit more spending, and the team payroll is up to $63.3 million this season, the highest ever for the 11th-year franchise. It’s only the latest sign of commitment from the Wall Street tycoon, who cleaned house after taking full control of the franchise in ’05, opened up his checkbook to improve mausoleum-like Tropicana Field, invested heavily in the team’s player-development system and turned a former joke of a franchise into what could become a perennial contender.
The Cardinals’ owner is the only other owner on the list with a payroll (~$89 million) less than $100 million. And Sternberg is the only owner of the top 5 that does not have a World Series title.
In a related piece, Joe Henderson of the Tampa Tribune discusses Sternberg’s ranking, kinda. In reality the piece is a chance for Henderson to take shots at some of the other owners in the Bay Area, past and present.
In the end, what matters is that as fans of the Rays, we are very lucky to have Sternberg in our midst. Let’s hope that he is around for years to come *cough* new stadium *cough*.