Now Commenting On:

Sternberg: Rays are built for long haul

Sternberg: Rays are built for long haul

ST. PETERSBURG -- Stu Sternberg was in town for Tuesday night's season opener, and the Rays' principal owner fielded questions about the state of the club.

With Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena in the final year of their contracts, the perception is that the 2010 season represents a critical period for the franchise, as some feel a window of opportunity could be closing.

"Critical's a tough word," Sternberg said. "I won't concur with that. You like to win with the players we have. This group, this core group, has been together now for three or four seasons. And it would be nice to see this group jell again. We've had some additions -- some guys last year new to the mix, some guys this year new to the mix -- and you'd like to see them all put it together.

"I know it's a team that can. They have the talent, they're working hard, and if the dedication is there -- and I'm certain it is -- it's a team that is absolutely built for the long haul."

Improving at the gate is a must if the Rays want to remain competitive in the American League East. When Sternberg was asked what he wants the attendance to be like at Tropicana Field this season, he smiled: "Full. Often. Often full or full often."

Sternberg said he had a desired attendance in mind in 2009, and as a result, has given up that practice. The Rays drew 1,874,962, which ranked 11th in the AL.

"Last year, I wanted to be average," Sternberg said. "It's not often in life I try to be average at anything. So this year, we'll play it game by game, pitch by pitch, inning by inning and see where it leads us. I would expect that we will be in contention, and I will expect that we will have a nice group of fans come out during the year."

And Sternberg's goal for the season has remained constant from what he stated at the beginning of Spring Training, in that he wants "to play meaningful games in September" and beyond.

Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español