Rays' Sternberg discusses future of stadium plans

Two months after the collapse of the Ybor stadium plan, Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg is at spring training looking forward to a more immediate future when it comes to his ball team. 

"The thing we're here first and foremost, A-Z, is to win baseball games, and to have an organization that's going to be sustainable for years," said Sternberg during his "state of the team" session with the media Tuesday afternoon.

The proposal to build a new stadium in Ybor was squashed in December. The team then sent a letter to St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman to formally tell him the search was over in Hillsborough County, at least for now. 

"When we saw this thing was coming to a close, coming to an end around Thanksgiving time, it sort of spurred a lot to happen after that which was a bit too little and a bit too late," explained Sternberg.  

Now, the Rays have to start from scratch and potentially come up with a plan to build a new stadium in Pinellas County. Sternberg says he's been speaking with Kriseman. 

"We agreed to get back to him. It's my understanding, it's my expectation that we would have something to be able to come back to him with -- I'd like to, I'm pushing the organization -- at some point this summer," said Sternberg. 

Support and funding continue to be the biggest hurdles, moving forward, with a new stadium. 

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"If we continue to have 8,000, 12,000, 15,000 a night, and not expand our sponsorship roles and everything, there could be all the funding in the world and it's meaningless," said Sternberg. 

Still, Sternberg says, he's confident a new stadium deal can be done here in the Bay area. 

"I feel great that we have a great partner with the Mayor and the city of St. Pete. The growth within St. Pete, the growth in Tampa Bay, that we took this big swing at what we tried to do, and I'm still very committed to seeing things through in Tampa Bay," said Sternberg.