Rays' owner offers stadium funding ideas

- Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg came out swinging on Opening Day, ready to talk about the reality of his 2018 Tampa Bay Rays.

"Success on the field, I feel optimistic,” Sternberg told a group of Bay Area reporters. "I'll start with the bad news. I do think we are going to be at the bottom in runs scored or near the bottom of the American League. I also think and we better be near the bottom in runs allowed."

Sternberg is a baseball purist and prefers watching 4-3 games, as opposed to 10-8 games.  After getting rid of seven of last season’s top eight home-run hitters, that's the type of games Rays fans should expect this year. 

If the Rays can play those type of games, Sternberg believes, this team can be a winning and competitive team.

"If the bullpen performs well, as well as we think they'll perform, I do think we'll get well into the 80s in wins this year,” continued Sternberg.

Talk of Opening Day quickly turned to the Rays’ long-term future, specifically a move across the Bay in 2022 or 2023.  Sternberg still believes that's the earliest they can be playing in the proposed site in Ybor City.

As far as the cost for that stadium, Sternberg revealed a new number.

"Building stadiums are not cheap” Sternberg told FOX 13 Sports. "It's in the [$800+ million range] right now. There is a ton of work to be done. Is there a roof? Is there not a roof? Is it a sliding roof? Everything costs money, right?"

Sternberg threw out a new way to fund the stadium, soliciting help from a deep-pocket company. 

"The Mets put a ton of money into their stadium,” said Sternberg. "They got $25-million stadium naming rights from Citi-Group. If somebody wants to walk in with $25-million in naming rights tomorrow, my number of $150 [million] goes up dramatically. "I'll get you to $400 [million].  Get me $25-million a year in stadium naming rights and I'll be at $400 [million]. I'll go halfsies."

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