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Governor Pawlenty: Good for Minnesota Twins Baseball?

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While Tim Pawlenty struggles to deal with soaring budget deficits and historic rates in the increase of unemployment statewide, there is at least one positive issue he can take to the electorate should he seek an unprecedented third four-year term as Governor of the Gopher State: a vote for Pawlenty is a vote for the Minnesota Twins.

Governor Pawlenty's 6+ years in office have coincided with the winningest stretch of Twins baseball for any Minnesota governor during the past 40 years dating back to Republican Harold LeVander. In fact, no governor had presided over a .500 Twins winning percentage for the duration of his administration since LeVander until Governor Pawlenty.

Since 2003, when Pawlenty began his first term, the Twins have compiled a 544-462 record, or a .541 winning percentage. That is the third best stretch for the Twins in state history - behind LeVander (.563) and DFLer Karl Rolvaag (.558) in the 1960s.

Pawlenty (2003, 2004, 2006) and LeVander (1967, 1969, 1970) are also the only Gopher State governors to preside over three seasons in which the Twins won at least 90 games.

Minnesota Twins Winning Percentage By Gubernatorial Administration, 1961-2009

Governor
Seasons
Won
Loss
%
Tim Pawlenty
2003-present
544
462
0.541
Jesse Ventura
1999-2002
311
334
0.482
Arne Carlson
1991-1998
582
648
0.473
Rudy Perpich
1977-1978, 1983-1990
786
833
0.485
Al Quie
1979-1982
260
334
0.438
Wendell R. Anderson
1971-1976
475
484
0.495
Harold LeVander
1967-1970
365
283
0.563
Karl F. Rolvaag
1963-1966
361
286
0.558
Elmer L. Andersen
1961-1962
161
161
0.500
Total
 
3,845
3,825
0.501
Note: Through games of May 12, 2009. Data compiled by Smart Politics.

Even more impressive for Pawlenty, however, is the per game attendance the Twins have averaged since he took office in 2003.

At 26,082 fans per game, the average attendance during the Pawlenty years marks a 61.9 percent higher turnout than during the LeVander administration and is 20.4 percent higher than the next most popular stretch in Twins history - the Arne Carlson years.

While Carlson ran the state, from 1991 to 1998, the Twins won their second World Series title but averaged just 21,658 fans per ball game.

Minnesota Twins Attendance by Gubernatorial Administration, 1961-2009

Rank
Governor
Years
Attendance
1
Tim Pawlenty
2003-present
26,082
2
Arne Carlson
1991-1998
21,658
3
Rudy Perpich
1977-1978, 1983-1990
20,326
4
Jesse Ventura
1999-2002
18,303
5
Elmer L. Andersen
1961-1962
16,598
6
Karl F. Rolvaag
1963-1966
16,503
7
Harold LeVander
1967-1970
16,111
8
Al Quie
1979-1982
10,668
9
Wendell R. Anderson
1971-1976
9,927
 
Total
 
18,331
Note: Through games of May 10, 2009. Data compiled by Smart Politics.

Is Pawlenty in any way contributing to the increase in fan attendance and the impressive winning stretch the Twins have experienced while he has been in office? Perhaps not. Though the Governor might point out his staunch anti-tax pledges have made playing baseball for the Twins more attractive for free agents - fighting to keep state income taxes for the wealthy from rising to a higher tax bracket.

However, the strength of the Twins overall in recent years has been from cultivating its talented farm system prospects - not from big free agent signings. (We'll have to wait and see if Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer re-sign with the Twins when their current contracts expire).

But Pawlenty has made keeping the Twins in Minnesota a priority in his administration. Back in 2005, he invited Twins and Hennepin County officials to the Governor's residence for discussions to work through a new stadium deal.

Also, at a time when talks of new Vikings and Gophers stadiums were percolating in early 2006, Pawlenty stated that getting the Twins deal done was a "top priority" to insure the state did not lose the team.

Overall, there does not seem to be any advantage for the Twins when playing under Republican or DFL governors. From 1961 through Monday night's game, the team's winning percentage with GOPers in the Governor's mansions was .5032, with 1,912 victories and 1,888 losses. Their winning percentage with DFLers in office? A nearly identical .5029 - at 1622 victories and 1,603 losses.

Minnesota Twins Record by Partisan Control of the Governor's Mansion, 1961-2009

Party
Wins
Losses
%
Republican
1,912
1,888
.5032
DFL
1,622
1,603
.5029
Reform
311
334
.4822
Note: Through games of May 12, 2009. Data compiled by Smart Politics.

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3 Comments


  • Now this is some political analysis that I can get behind! However, even as a mega Twins fan, don't expect me to cast my vote Pawlenty's direction anytime soon...

    ;o)

  • Minnesota Twins should be always competitive enough to keep pace with the others. I really like them; they’ve always been my favourite teams in MLB. Just read about them here:

    http://www.twinsportal.com

  • Can Governor Pawlenty come to Illinois?

    Not only have we had corrupt governors, the White Sox have not been a match for the Twins, except for our World Series year, since Governor Pawlenty took over.

    If the good Governor stays, I guess I can always be a Cubs fan!

    Kurtis Kintzel
    BombSquad Baseball

  • Leave a comment


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