First off, I'd like to thank Roger from Jenn's official homepage for being the middleman of this interview and deeming me sane and cool enough to get me this interview. Next, I'd like to thank Jenn herself because of her very busy work schedule (she works for SI.com).
Well, enjoy! -Jake
Jenn(left), with friend, showing one of the teams new banners
Jake: First off, for Rays fans unfamiliar with you...Who is Jenn Sterger?
Jenn: I'm a 23 yr old Florida State student and soon to be grad. (I know--I am dragging it out, but who doesn't want to stay in college forever!!!). My family and I are originally from Miami, Fl, and eventually settled in quiet little Lutz (just North of Tampa). I have a double major in Criminology/Psychology and had eventually planned to go to law school to become a Sports Agent. That is until Sept. 5, 2005 when my girlfriends and I were captured on camera in a crowd of 80,000 people at Doak Campbell Stadium during the FSU/Miami game. It was then Brent Musberger who said, "15,000 Red blooded young American men just signed up to go to Florida State." From that moment on... I was known as the cowgirl (dubbed by my friends at warchant.com because of the hat I wore.) Since then, I have been featured in Maxim, Playboy, and various other print publications. I also write a column for CNNSI.com (Sports Illustrated) and recently began doing weekly road trip video segments capturing the beat of collegetown America for their on campus section.
JL: How's your winter been?
JS: Winter has been chilly. Honestly, there is a reason I am partial to living in coastal states: I love temperate weather. I was destined to live on the West Coast. As far as the sports world goes, with the cooler months comes football, my first love. As sad as I am to see football season come to a close however, I am not sad about losing the cold temps.
JL: How long have you been a Rays fan? How often do you go to games?
JS:I was first introduced to the Devil Rays back in grade school. I remember them coming to my school, and getting to meet the owners. Even as a kid, I thought it was really cool that they would come to my school, and now looking back, I think it was a great way to reach out to the community to gain support for the infant franchise. I think when you expose kids to it that young, they are destined to become fans.
Anyone that knows me knows I am a sucker for a good underdog story. I'm not saying I am a Yankee hater or anything, but why not let the little guys have their day in the sun???.. The Devil Rays and I have so much in common; because I think people have doubted what we are capable of accomplishing. In the end though, I plan on taking everyone by surprise and I think this team is no different. They have overcome so many obstacles with former coaches, problematic players, and short sighted managers. Now they are back at square one, and ready to prove something. Sometimes you have to get back to the root of things to see where you have been, and where you are going.
I travel a lot for a work (with my Sports Illustrated column) but I try to get to as many games as I can. So don't be surprised if you see me at a game from time to time.
JL: Favorite Devil Ray (Current and All-Time)?
JS:Current: It's a toss up honestly between Carl Crawford and Scott Kazmir.
Crawford is one of those you just love to see at the plate. He is a performer at bat, and in left field. He has the speed and range of a center fielder, and jumps that would make most NBA guys jealous.
Scott Kazmir is young and the kind of fresh blood and talent that the Rays need more of. Sure, we may have pissed off a good share of Mets fans by stealing him, but I'd say the pay-off was pretty sweet.
All-Time: Fred McGriff
You have to love a man that returns to his roots. He was originally with the Rays at their inception, and then returned to them after stints with different major league teams. Regardless, he returned to his hometown of Tampa where he finished out his career. Though he came just short of his goal - hitting 500 career homeruns, McGriff remains an icon to both Rays fans and MLB fans across the country. Besides.. Who doesn't love his instructional baseball videos??..
JL: Could you and the FSU Cowgirls show up at a Rays game and attract the national publicity that you guys got for FSU?
JS: I actually did an appearance at a Rays game at last year's college night in Early August. It was a great turn out, and I really look forward to working with them more for future events. I have on occasion brought girlfriends and cowgirls of mine to games, but when we go it's strictly as fans, and not as "the cowgirls." Though, I wouldn't mind donning the cowboy hat.. as long as it brought good luck.
JL: Did you play any baseball/softball in HS?
JS: Hell no. I am the most uncoordinated person you will ever meet in your life. The last time I played ball was in eighth grade and it ended up with me breaking a nose. Needless to say, I knew I would never be the next Jenny Finch.
JL: What are you looking forward to in 2007, personally and as a Rays fan?
JS: 2007--I am just living. Day to day. I wish I had more stability in my personal life, but there aren't many men out there that can handle what I do for a living. The travel and lifestyle eats at them, and most people would have trust issues around that. I guess that is why my dating life is so sporadic. Most people would assume I would be the partygirl type based on how I have been portrayed, and would be the kinda girl Nelly Furtado sings about. In reality, they couldn't be further from the truth. When I am in a committed relationship I give it my all, and will do anything possible to make the other person happy. It's about being part of a team.
I guess the one thing I want in 2007 is some stability. I feel like I have a great career path ahead of me, and a lot of professional success.. I just wish my personal life would get in line.
For the Rays, I wish them nothing but success. Like I said, I think they have stripped down to the bare basics and started over from scratch. It's a work in progress, like most young franchises are. I think they have rid themselves of a lot of evils and are looking to turn a corner in both their appeal to fans and performance in general. They've got great talent on the roster and waiting in the wings, and it's only a matter of time before they find a formula that works. Who knows, maybe 2007 will be the year Tampa fans have been waiting for???..
JL: your own blog, do you visit other blogs/sites? Are you a Myspacer?
JS: Of course. I have a grass roots background on the internet. I became who I am solely based on individual blog sites and message boards and I will never forget where I came from.
Myspace (myspace.com/jennsterger) and Facebook.com are also a big part of my online persona, not to mention my own website (Jennsterger.com).
JL: Any thoughts or comments to pass to your fans/rays fans/readers?
JS: People ask me all the time what can bring the fans BACK to baseball. I think a lot of fans and the public in general became disenchanted with America's favorite past time during the strikes in the 90's. If you ask me, pro teams need to take a lesson from collegiate sports. No matter how bad a team performs in the collegiate arena, their fans and more importantly their student body remains loyal. Why?.. It has to do with passion. It's not so much a characteristic of the fans that makes the game great, but the players and coaches themselves. It's the passion the players themselves have for the game that fans reflect back to them. College is more than just a chance at a higher education; it's a chance to belong to a huge family brought together by a mascot, a history, and its colors. It's about pride. And more importantly... it's all about the experience.
Once they make it to the Bigs, I think a lot of players lose sight of what the game meant to them in the first place. Players should treat every game.. like it's their first day at T-ball. No, I'm not talking about when they didn't know first base from third, but when the game was played simply because it was fun. The game should be something they can remember as clearly as their first love. The day the game is no longer a game.. and it becomes a job... the player is forever changed. The game should never be about the paycheck, but simply for the love of the game. Call me a sap, an idealist.. whatever. The game.. simply should be just that.. 9 innings of doing what you love most in life.
JL: Thanks for your time, I'll be one of the first to say that DRays Bay (www.draysbay.com) nominate you as the hottest Rays fan ever.
Jenn(far right) and her friends have to be hottest baseball fans in all of baseball