Stuart Sternberg enters his 17th season as principal owner of the Rays, still in search of a World Series championship and a new stadium, both quests taking longer than he had hoped. He took a few minutes during spring training for our annual Q&A.
What did you do to kill time during the lockdown, much of which you spent in your St. Petersburg home?
“We couldn’t really do anything in terms of promotion. There was really nothing to do on the business side. We had just come out of the sister cities thing (the plan to split future seasons in Montreal, which was killed by Major League Baseball in January.) So for the first few weeks I was like an ostrich – put my head in the sand a bit about everything. …
“There were no trades to discuss. No signature. No injuries to check. No health issues. The same when walking into the office to see the baseball department. They’re working, but it was just a weird few weeks. To keep myself busy, instead of running 2 ¼ miles, I ran closer to 3 miles.
Do you have any new hobbies or things you started doing?
“I learned to manicure my nails. I’ve always been a nail biter and sometimes, I guess because of the pandemic, I quit. That’s too much information, right? For some reason, being in Florida for the past few years, the nails just don’t break. So I had to learn how to give myself a manicure. Call it a hobby.
Read good books?
“I’m in the middle of one, Walter Isaacson’s The code breaker.”
What have you been watching lately?
“I didn’t go to the cinema, which pisses me off because I really wanted to see the James Bond movie in the cinema. I think I’ve seen all the Bond movies in the cinema. So I’m kind of waiting to see that. …
“We mainly watch series at home. Finally entered Peaky Blinders. … (Manager) Kevin Cash had recommended it for a few years and I finally cracked up and we looked at it, and it’s really great. I liked it Godfather of Harlem. And Imposters.”
What are some of your latest must-see places in the St. Pete area?
“Bacchus (Wine Bistro), near Beach Drive. And Good Times (Continental Restaurant) in Tierra Verde. This is a 40 year old Eastern European restaurant. The place looks straight out of the 70s, and I think everyone who works there has been there since the 70s. The food is great. We have been there several times. »
What did you start doing during the pandemic and keep going?
“I have always run almost every morning. It was something I would do sporadically or avoid, but it’s really easy here to run along the water. It was a good thing.
“Also, I cook more seafood. There are a few good places to enjoy seafood here, like Gulf Coast Seafood (in Gulfport). You walk in and it’s right in front of you and it looks so beautiful and there’s so much to choose from. And you almost can’t spoil it. For example, if you don’t cook it, it’s fine. If you overcook it, it’s fine. The only thing you can do to ruin it is put too much bullshit on it.
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What is your subcommand?
“Well, first of all, I don’t call it a sub. Not a hoagie. Not a grinder. He’s a hero. Hot would be a chicken parmesan hero. Cold is usually roast beef, fresh mozzarella, maybe a little garlic aioli if they have it.
What new music have you downloaded recently?
“It’s not new, but I just downloaded the Hair musical. But what’s new? Wet leg. They have an amazing song – lounge chair. It’s catchy. And the LCD sound system.
New favorite websites?
“Other than Wordle, which I’ve been at for about a month and I’m surprisingly good at? Wikipedia has a page that’s a list of lists of lists. I got into this, and it’s a good shitty time. Also Ilovetheburg.com — it was a great resource.
Something cool you bought on the internet?
“Herrell’s Hot Caramel. It’s the best hot fudge. I was talking to Paul Miller, who runs our concessions, about how I can’t find vanilla chocolate chip ice cream. Before, it was everywhere. So he found a place in Tampa, and we had some and had hot fudge sundaes at the Rowdies game.
Now that you’ve owned the Rowdies for a few years, have you become a good enough football fan?
“I really. I don’t know all the rules. It’s really interesting because it’s the only sport I’ve watched enough now that I know how people feel, like my wife or other who may have watched baseball or other sports, and it’s just second nature to the rules. It’s been hard for me to grasp the nuances. … I see how it is, and it’s a joy to not have to worry about all the nuances and just watch these incredible athletes do what they can do.
If your wife, Lisa or your children let you, what would your karaoke song be?
“Oddly, the first thing I thought of was that I played Oliver in a school play when I was 10-11. So I would probably sing Where is the love? from Olivier !
Three singers you would like to see perform the Hymn to Trop?
“I’m going to start over with Tom Waits. Two new people I like are Angel Olsen and Orville Peck.
Recent celebrity sightings?
“I just saw Cathie Wood (who moved her company Ark Investment Management from New York to St. Pete). And I was up north for the holidays and saw (author) Fran Lebowitz outside Russ & Daughters (appetizing food store).
Investment advice in these uncertain times?
“Don’t walk, don’t run to buy Series I savings bonds. The government gives you free money.
How did you and Lisa fit in as empty nests?
“It’s been good, but we can’t wait to have all four kids (Sandy, Jake, Natalie, Ella) here in St. Pete for Passover. We haven’t all been together since the playoffs (in October).
And our usual summary, which Bruce Springsteen song best describes last season?
“I thought about it in advance. Last year is glory day. One hundred wins – I can’t run away. I know it wasn’t a World Series, but 100 wins. We could have zero, one or five World Series while I own this team; we may never win 100 games again. In the American League East to win 100 games – anywhere in baseball – but that’s just silly.
And for this year?
“I think it is For you. Look, we tried some things and people weren’t so happy. But we do it for everyone. And we are going to play this season for you. I think we’re all going to do our best to make it fun and exciting. And we obviously put a great product there.
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