Believe it or not, something good may yet result from that debacle last week at Yankee Stadium. That’s where the Devil Rays were humiliated 19-8 by the Yankees. The Rays allowed a franchise record 13 runs in the second inning.
The silver lining is this: The fiasco was witnessed in person – but not incognito – by 49% general partner Stuart Sternberg. It’s been rumored that Sternberg has been warming up in the management bullpen to relieve tight-fisted, ham-handed managing general partner Vince Naimoli. Possibly by next year.
Sternberg, a retired managing director of the investment firm Goldman Sachs, saw for himself what he and his investment group bought into last year for $65 million. That is, a franchise that, without an infusion of intelligently spent capital, will remain under a competitive governor.
Worse yet, there are no guarantees that the team will remain in this market. There is an obvious correlation between competitiveness and home attendance and Major League Baseball’s patience with an underperforming franchise.
Perhaps the first-hand, shock-and-awe experience was exactly what the Rays and Sternberg needed. This franchise can be saved, but it needs a closer – not a mop-up man from the bullpen.