TAMPA - It's always interesting when Rays Owner Stuart Sternberg pops in at spring training.
I think he is the best owner of all the major league franchises in the Tampa Bay area.
Lightning owner Jeff Vinik is a close second.
Stu doesn't leave anything for interpretation.
Last year, if recollection serves me right, Stu talked in a more negative tone about his stadium issue and the lowering of payroll due to lack of attendance.
Yet, in the midst of all that talk, the Rays went on to the playoffs.
This time around, Stu is a bit more positive about the entire picture.
He singled out the Tampa Bay Partnership for its efforts to get the ball rolling on increased attendance, marketing, and of course, a new stadium.
That was lacking the last spring go-around.
Contrary to last season, the Rays are increasing payroll from $41-million to the neighborhood of $65-million.
Sternberg said, "It shows the faith we have in this area."
Season tickets have a slight uptick.
The team sis till sustaining losses according to Sternberg, which he says," has to end."
Sternberg did indicate today despite MLB officials growing restless with the lack of progress for a new Rays stadium, there will no ultimatums or threats forthcoming.
Which led to the quote of the day from Sternberg: "I believe brighter, more sensible minds will prevail." "He just wants to keep getting the message out."
He will not put a timestamp on when he would like to see a new stadium to increase revenues for the team, which will lead to more money in payroll.
For once, there is a calmer and cooler approach. That's a significant development.
I'm just not confident that a new stadium, be it in Tampa or wherever, will bring in more revenue.
I hope I'm wrong. Won't be the first time.
I am sure that a new stadium would significantly increase the value of the franchise if it went on the block.
Oh, and this new stadium must have a retractable roof.
If not, don't even consider building one.
Did you really think I wasn't going to get my two-cents in?