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February 1, 2005

More rumors

• You would think that after Twinsfest I would have a lot to say about our boys of summer, but, alas, whenever I am looking in the paper I am always looking for one of two things: stadium news and/or a sale of the Vikings. Today we've got some news about a potential sale of the Vikings. Charley Walters (and let me take a moment here for a second ... who doesn't just love Charley Walters? The days that his columns come out are always brighter. The birds are always chirping louder. I breathe an audible breath of happiness when I see a new Charley Walters column ... OK back to the post) reports today that Emmitt Smith may become a part of Reggie Fowler's group:

Look for future Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith to announce today his retirement from the Arizona Cardinals to join Reggie Fowler's investment group that is trying to buy the Vikings. Fowler's group also includes local automobile dealer Denny Hecker.

Wow. That is quite a rumor. I wonder if that would give Fowler more credibility or not. I would also find it interesting that Smith would finally become a Viking (in a way) which is what should have happened if not for the doomed Walker trade. As is the case with all Shooter columns, though, you've got to take this with a grain of salt. In other words, I'll believe it when I see it.

Secondly, the Pioneer Press is also reporting that Vikings president and McCombs hatchet man Gary Woods met with Steve Sviggum yesterday to talk about a potential sale of the Vikings and a possible stadium. Sviggum had this to say about a possible sale:

"He said he had a couple of conversations with Fowler and a couple of conversations with Glen, but it didn't sound like it was close," House Speaker Steve Sviggum, R-Kenyon, said after meeting with Woods.

I just don't know how to take this. On the one hand billionaires usually like to keep this stuff quiet, especially given the (semi?) exclusivity agreement that Red gave Fowler. On the other hand, wouldn't a billionaire love to let something slip like, "Fowler is getting close," to try to get Taylor to possibly drive up the price? Maybe, maybe not. Whatever the case, it appears that Sviggum at least doesn't think a sale is imminent. That stinks.

There will come a day, I am sure of it, when both the Pioneer Press and the Star Tribune home pages scream the news that the Vikings have been sold. Fowler or Taylor, at this point it doesn't matter to me. When that day comes we can all breath a sigh of relief and move on to the next fire to put out. I'm also thinking of doing something special on this page when Red is gone. A "special edition" Greet Machine. We'll see.

• Shooter also wrote some interesting news about Twinsfest that I think bears repeating:

The Twins' reported attendance of more than 29,000 for their TwinsFest last weekend at the Metrodome was significantly more than the turnout for similar outings in Pittsburgh and Seattle. The Pirates drew slightly more than 14,000 for their three-day gathering, up 7,000 from last year, and the Mariners attracted about 14,000, 1,000 fewer than last year.

Twins fans ... you just can't figure them out. During the off season they come to the Metrodome in droves, but during the regular season they stay away. I suppose it has to do with the difference in the weather. Anyway, I see this as yet more proof that if and when the Twins leave/are contracted the state legislature is finally going to get their comeuppance. There are too many Twins fans in the upper Midwest for the legislature not to feel their anger.

• Check out Mr. Cheer or Die's site today for some great writing on a new Vikings stadium, and the possibility of the Vikings signing Donovin Darious, currently of the Jags. Plus, find out what your name would be if you were a blues singer. Me? My name should be Blind Bones Thompkins. And I'm a singin' the stadium blues:

I got the stadium blues ...
because our legislature is filled with morons
I got the stadium blues ...
because our legislature is filled with morons
When the Twins and Vikings leave Minnesota
We will have to change our name to the 3rd Dakota

(harmonica solo)

Posted by snackeru at February 1, 2005 8:21 AM | Vikings

Comments

There's no doubt about it. Twins fans would flock to a new stadium. People love this team, they just hate going inside on a beautiful night in the summer to watch the Twins crush the Tigers or the Royals.

Posted by: Stick and Ball Guy at February 1, 2005 9:14 AM

I just wanted to personally thank you for feeding my obsession about stadiums in the TC. Up until this year, I wanted a new stadium for the Twins, but was content to leave it up to other baseball enthusiasts to email their congressmen. I wanted to be the free rider on board. Once, I really looked and examined the Twinsville proposal with all of its pictures and locations, I went over the deep end and have been voraciously scowering the web for stadium sites and obscure newspaper publications about the issue. Your website has made me even more fanatical, inducing me to read a story about a roof-bottle a few days ago in hopes that there might be a sentence or two burried within the story.
Please help me, as you have more experience with stadium fever than I, I was hoping that you might be able to offer me some advice on how to deal with my obsession.

Posted by: Vince at February 1, 2005 12:47 PM

Vince, this was hilarious! Glad I can help feed your obsession. And sorry about the roof-bottle story, although in my defense I did warn you by titling the entry "Warning: Stupidity Ahead." I can't write about stadium news everyday. That is mainly because their isn't stadium news everyday, though.

Concerning your obsession, I would suggest that you embrace it. I wish more Twins fans had stadium fever like you and me. I think something would actually get done. I actually find it kind of liberating. While everyone is being PC and complaining about Pohlad's billions I get to let it all hang out and say what everyone is thinking deep down inside.

So, thanks again for the comment. And be sure to join one of the many (6) and sign the petition for Tom Ridge's candidacy for governor! It is all a joke, but I am surprised at how few people want to be a part of it!

Posted by: Shane at February 1, 2005 1:48 PM

Shane-
I actually enjoyed the bottle story, and was laughing out loud at the thought of some person so anal that they would climb up on their roof in the dead of January to investigate, camera in hand, the suspected shananigans of a Green Bay hoodlum living in the neighborhood (aka resident evil).

I'd have a real hard time placing my signature on any document endorsing Tom Ridge, regardless if it's a joke. I'd feel so . . . well, unclean. I think I'll wait to sign the petition until Pawlenty and the legislature's officially screw us sportsfans in this upcomins session.

Regardless, put me down as another follower of your blog and the mad bombs of truth which it pronounces and expounds upon each and every day, unless of course you are side tracked that day by an icical resembling the Virgin Mary or a piece of strewn garbage that has blown upon your roof.

Sincerely,
Vince

Posted by: Vince at February 1, 2005 2:22 PM

Interesting chunk of text in today's (Wednesday's) King Kaufman column on Salon.com:

"Forbes values the Patriots at $861 million, the Eagles at $833 million, fourth and fifth highest in the league. Bob Kraft bought the Pats for $172 million in 1994, the most ever paid for an NFL team. Jeff Lurie broke that record three months later by paying $184 million for the Eagles. Pretty good return on investment there. Forbes says, "The value of both teams has jumped more than 50 percent over the past two years."

"And they owe it all to paying for their own stadiums!

"Well, not really, but it's certainly an interesting thing to note that the Patriots paid for theirs, and the Eagles paid for a solid chunk of theirs in a public-private partnership. The Patriots are widely seen as the model franchise, the best-run organization in the league, and the Eagles are a near-mirror image. Both teams are on runs of success that are reaching a length thought to be impossible in the salary-cap era.

"The Pats have had four straight winning seasons and can win their third Super Bowl in four years, something that's only been done once before, by the '90s Cowboys. Two teams won three NFL titles in four years in the pre-merger era, when the league was much smaller. This is the fifth year in a row the Eagles have had a winning season and won at least one playoff game, the fourth in a row they've made the NFL's final four.

"The Patriots paid for $350 million Gillette Stadium, with the state of Massachusetts kicking in about $72 million for infrastructure. The Eagles got a bigger gift from the taxpayers. The team contributed about $355 million of the roughly $512 million -- sources differ on the exact amounts -- needed to complete Lincoln Financial Field, with the remainder coming from the coffers of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania."

Kaufman also notes that the most valuable NFL franchise according to Forbes - the only one valued at over a billion dollars - also owns its own stadium: the Redskins.

Don't think that Reggie Fowler hasn't read Forbes and realizes that the easiest way to skyrocket the market value of the franchise would be to bankroll his own ballpark. Not to mention that the idea of ending the annual 'march of the poor millionaire/billionaire' to the state capitol looking for a stadium handout makes him a very popular suitor for the club, at least among fans.

At last - something to root for rather than against on the stadium issue. Who'da thunk it?

Posted by: David Wintheiser at February 2, 2005 1:57 PM

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