The fans' message to Sternberg: "We're behind you, Stu."
Once the Blue Jays were introduced along the third-base line, the sellout crowd offered loud ovations for Rays players, coaches and manager Kevin Cash.
Chris Archer, Kevin Kiermaier and Evan Longoria easily received the most enthusiastic cheers.
Tampa Bay area saxophonist B.K. Jackson performed the Star-Spangled Banner and "O Canada," and first-pitch duties went to "Norm" -- actor George Wendt III, best known for his role on the hit television series, "Cheers," which ran on NBC for 11 seasons.
At 4:09 p.m. ET, Archer delivered the first pitch against the Blue Jays' Kevin Pillar, and the Rays' 2016 season was underway.