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Rays owner Stu Sternberg feels left behind in spending wars

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At a time major league baseball teams are giving richer and richer contracts, Rays’ owner Stu Sternberg feels more and more at a disadvantage.

Sternberg, speaking to the Tampa Bay Times at the winter meetings in Nashville, looks at the situation through the eyes of a baseball owner who spends $70 million dollars a year. That’s barely more than the Cubs spent to sign ex-Ray Ben Zobrist ($54 million over four years) and nowhere near what the Red Sox paid former Ray David Price ($217 million over seven).

“We’re getting left on an island,” Sternberg said. “A smaller and smaller island.

“We’re not going to be on a level playing field. I’d like to at least be in the outfield, but it’s like we’re outside in the parking lot.”

The Rays may be closer to being able to shop around for their new stadium soon, although Sternberg says he has no idea just how much that would help.

“I do believe,” Sternberg said. “I’m confident I’ll find a way. I’m an optimist at heart. I don’t want to speak for any owners in baseball, but I don’t know how many would trade their last 10 years for mine.

“I don’t mind a fight with a hand tied behind my back. I don’t mind a fight going in if I don’t have enough sleep. But it’s tough when the other guy is driving a tank and I’m sitting here on a three-wheel bicycle.”

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit [email protected]

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