A couple of days ago, Stuart Sternberg went on WFUV in New York, a radio station associated with one of my alma maters, Fordham University in the Boogie Down. And as usual, Sternberg was open, honest and candid with issues that don’t involve the day-to-day operation of the team on the field.

Here are a couple of his more telling comments…

On whether he wants to leave the AL East (and thus forgo a large number of the home gates against the Yankees and Red Sox):

Uh, sure (laughter)…from our vantage point right now, any change is positive for us. Playing these guys, those two teams, let alone the Blue Jays, who consistently put together one of the better teams in baseball…just playing the Yankees and Red Sox 36-38 times out of your schedule alone sets you back quite a bit both in your record, and also for instance in July, before the All-Star break and after, we played 11 straight games against those two teams…and they wear you out…your pitchers have trouble getting back on queue after that. Your bullpen gets worn out. As far as that is concerned. Competitively playing them less would be helpful. Being in a different division. Not having to beat both of them would be helpful.

On needing a new ballpark:

On the one hand, we are proud of a lot of everything we have done to make the place much, much more hospitable to watch a ballgame. Anybody that has come down there for the first time…are quite surprised and pleased by everything it has to offer. But by the same token, you’ve got catwalks to deal with and lights get hit…We’d like to explore other areas within the region to see if potentially we can move and create a revenue source, and most importantly the region can embrace and latch on to.

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14 Comments

  1. Mark E says:

    Personally, I would really miss the rivalries in the AL East, but I would look forward to new rivalries and to probably contending for the playoffs most years. I think, in the end, attendance numbers would balance out because they'd be playing meaningful games most the year. This year's Bosux and Bankmee ticket sales seem to be down, so I'm not sure the 19 home games have the attendance impact they did in years past.

    "...and lights get hit..." ~Sternberg

    I can remember ONE light getting hit and broken in a decade and a half Stu. Why do you sound like a BSPN commentator? I'd rather take my chances with the 1 in 18,000 chance of a light getting hit above me at the 3rd base line than the 1 in 5 chance that Shopvac is going to hurl his bat at my melon.

    If one listens to every public comment out of Stu's mouth the past 2 years, you would think this is a guy who is going to jump off a bridge some day soon and nobody will be surprised that he did it. He has chosen to position himself as a victim of St. Pete and the Rays fans. This owner and his organization PROFITS more every year than me and my next 5 generations will make in our lifetimes, and he makes it sound like the Rays are dropping 400 points like the stock market every day.

    Stu, I know a hundred mill doesn't go as far as it used to, but suck it up man! Your obscene PROFIT isn't the end of the world.

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  2. Don says:

    I wouldn't want to play the Yankees/Red Sox either if had an inferior product (player/ coaches) ,otherwise I want to play the "best" so I can be the best...but thats me..guess I'm not chickenshit

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  3. jim says:

    don,
    take care of your small peepee issues with extenze. who knows it may solve your bad home life issues also. nobody wants you here. please go away!! why are you here?

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  4. Andrew says:

    I would like to see more of a balanced schedule, it would be nice to face the west coast and central teams more often.

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      This is certainly the fairest way to do it. The problem is the networks will never allow balanced schedules. NESN and YES have a lot of money riding on 18 Yankees-RedSox games as does ESPN and Fox. And then consider that more games against west coast teams means more games that start at 10pm on the east coast. And that means fewer games in primetime and lower ratings. Unfortunately money rules, and a balanced schedule means less money.

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      • Andrew says:

        Yeah every Yankees-Red Sox on prime time TV is sold as some sort of big deal on ESPN, FOX,I can see that for the money reasons, but lately IMO, it feels as that rivalary is getting saturated. I guess I would love to see new rivalries form.

        Then I read Matt's comment and also see that the Rays do quite good within their division. The West of course seems like an entirely different case, but probably playing them more often would help Rays in the playoffs, like what happened last year Rays losing to Texas. I think if it was the yankees or red sox in that series, the rays possibly would have done better.

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      • ALLEN says:

        I don't want to see more games starting on the West Coast starting at 10 PM and it has nothing to do with money. It has to do with being able to watch a game without staying up until 1:00 - 2:00 AM.

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      • CC says:

        I have an idea. How about a "SALARY CAP"? Every other major sports league has one. It works!!!!

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  5. Zack says:

    Wow this is tough, I mean I hate seeing them have a great year and then not make the playoffs, but at the same, I love watching them play the Red Sox and Yankees and continue to grow better and better as a team because of that. I wish we could just keep one of them in our division and then send the other to some other division, but that won't happen seeing as they have the biggest rivalry in all sports, so....

    Que Sera?

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  6. Matt says:

    It sounds good in theory...until you realize that, since 2008, the Rays have a better winning percentage in the East than in the Central or West :-)

    East: 149-112, 0.571
    Central: 85-65, 0.567
    West: 65-60, 0.520
    Interleague: 44-28, 0.611

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  7. Gus says:

    I know it stinks this year, but I think that being in the AL East is the best thing for this franchise. Consider the Twins. Is it better to win a crummy division and then get knocked out by the Yankees every year in the playoffs?

    Funny thing, but I actually think the Rays would fare very well in a playoff series against Boston or NY because they've figured out how to beat them by playing them so often (also new Yankee Stadium has less home field advantage).

    You can blame the division, but the only thing keeping the Rays out of the World Series this year is about $20M in payroll which should be easily done in this market.

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  8. Sarah says:

    If the issue is getting to the playoffs more often, won't a second wild card address that? If the issue is having to play the Red Sox and Yankees more often, I'd agree with many posters above that this is in some ways a blessing:
    1. better attendance
    2. comfort and confidence of playing the "big boys"
    3. Rays keep losing to KC and Oakland!

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