February 11, 2005
Sorry for the prolonged silence everyone. Things have bee really busy for me lately. And then when our connection to the Internet went down yesterday here at the U it just totally discombobulated me. I swear, I just sat in the corner drooling all day mumbling "fix the router, fix the router..." I could not be consoled. So, today will be an extra special edition of my inane ramblings. Lucky you.
Let's start this off with some stadium news. No, not Minnesota stadium news, but some interesting news coming out of New York/New Jersey. The Giants are planning on building a new 80,000 seat stadium next to their existing stadium, and they have agreed to pay for the entire cost. Wow, wow, wow. However, their plans have hit a snag because an entertainment and shopping district called Xanadu (read "big mall") is also being constructed in the area. The Giants are very concerned with this. They want Xanadu to be shut down on gamedays because they think it will be a parking nightmare if the mall is also open at the same time. This could seriously stop the entire project from happening. I truly can't believe this. In addition, check out this little snippet:
The team currently occupies 33 acres of the 400-acre facility. The sports authority's land offer was about 50 to 75 acres, the source said.
The Giants have offered to pay $4.8 million in rent and another $1.5 million in PILOT fees, payments in lieu of taxes. The state is looking for more than $6 million in rent plus PILOT fees, said a source close to the state.
What in the world?!?!? I don't think I have ever seen anything like this. Let me see if I understand this. In addition to paying for their own stadium (to the tune of $700 million), the Giants will also pay rent for the land and these strange PILOT fees, and the total of these payments could be close to $6 million. Wow.
Back to Minnesota. Unless you are living under a rock you know that we now have a two horse race between Fowler and Taylor to buy the Vikings. Sid wrote an interesting piece today talking about this potential sale and saying that Taylor is still very much in the running and actually might be preferred by the NFL.
Taylor is a Minnesotan who has the financial wherewithal to own the team and, in my opinion, has a better chance to get a stadium built. Fowler would be the NFL's first minority owner, but his group would be new to this community.
After the league's bad experience with a splintered ownership group before McCombs arrived on the scene, there's little doubt in my mind the NFL would prefer Taylor.
I gotta admit, I would prefer Taylor. I'm really excited to have the Vikings sold, but Taylor, hand's down, has the best chance to build a new stadium or renovate the Metrodome. Unless, of course, Fowler is planning on going the Redskins/Patriots/Giants route and paying for the stadium himself. His partners, which include the mall magnate Zyggi Wilf and New York real estate tycoon Alan Landis, might suggest that he is putting together a unique plan. Given my choice, though, I'll take Taylor if only because he is a Minnesotan who would be committed to keeping the team in Minnesota. In fact, I'm a little ticked that Taylor has waited until this point to get serious. It seems like a repeat of what happened the last time the Vikings were put up for sale.
Did anyone watch the finale of the "Amazing Race" last Tuesday? I thought it was pretty good, although I was upset that Kris and Jon didn't win. I have never seen a better combined attitude out of a couple in my life. Always happy, always nice to each other, they were simply an inspiration. However, what I found most interesting about the show was when the teams were in Japan trying to catch flights out of Tokyo to Chicago. Two teams found out that they could catch earlier flights to Chicago so, at separate times, they ran up to the gates and begged to be let on the flights. Both times the Japanese staff at the gates admitted that there were seats available on the plane, but that they wouldn't let the teams on. Here is what I found interesting though. Both times, and at separate gates mind you, the teams begged to be let on and the attendant said, "But you would not get a meal." This was always the first reason given why they would not let the teams on the flight. It seemed that they thought not having a meal would be enough to dissuade someone from wanting to be on the flight. Do most Japanese people say, "No meal? You animals! Of course I'll wait for the next flight. I mean, I have to have my meal. I don't think I could live without my meal." Of course, both teams said, "We don't need a meal, please let us on." Only then did the Japanese staff at the gate revert to the old standby, "It is against company policy." Anyway, I thought that was weird. You probably could care less.
And this ends another edition of "Who Gives a Rat's Butt Theater."
I think most people will agree with me, but I hope the Twins sign Santana to a 4 year contract. Right now the offer on the table seems to be 4 years for $38-$40 million. I realize that this is a big gamble, especially for someone who has already had elbow surgery, and for a team that has already been burned by the Joe Mays deal, but this is the freaking Cy Young award winner. This is the next Sandy Koufax. If the Twins wait, it will only get more expensive. To me, it is worth the gamble. Let's get it done Terry.
You know what I hate? No? Well, I'll tell you. I hate it when I open my camera up to take a picture and there is a big fingerprint smudge on the lens. And this happens every time I go to take a picture. What is it about the lens that makes kids want to touch it? I am befuddled by this. Given the choice between touching a big Teddy Bear, or touching a camera lens, I would bet that 90% of children will go for the camera lens. And I don't care if I put my camera in a vacuum sealed, airtight room with alarms and electric shocks attached to the camera itself, the next time I open it, it will have fingerprints on the lens. I need this to stop. I really do.
That's it. See you all later.
Interesting side-story on the Jets stadium....and I bring it here rather than my own site (a GM Exclusive!). The April NFL draft won't be held in New York's Madison Square Garden this year. Looks like this year's version could be conducted in Philadelphia.
One of the reasons for the change was the recent effort of Cablevision, which owns MSG, to prevent the Jets from purchasing land in Manhattan for a new stadium.
"Is the dispute over the Jets stadium an issue or a factor? Our comment is, 'Yes, it's a factor,'" NFL V.P. of media relations Greg Aiello told the New York Times. "The contract we have with the Garden is up. We have not finalized any contract for the 2005 draft, so we are continuing to explore different venues. We expect to have it resolved in the next couple of weeks.
"I don't know what our decision would have been in the absence of the dispute."
"One of the attractive features about Philadelphia is that this is our 70th draft coming up and that is where the first one was held, so there is an interesting historical angle," Aiello said. "Since it is close to New York, logistically, it wouldn't be too burdensome."
Posted by: Brian Maas at February 11, 2005 9:22 AM
I too was saddened that Kris and John did not win. They were certainly the most deserving couple.
Here is my prediction on the ownership issue:
Red will sell to Fowler for $608M. Fowler and his conglomerate will get NFL approval and they will propose a stadium being built in one of the suburbs. This group will pay for 67% of the stadium through their own $ or other, non-state funds, develop the land around the stadium with hotels, restaurants and such, and the other 33% will be asked from the state. The stadium situation will not be worked out until 2006. It will be built for the start of the 2007 regular season.
Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at February 11, 2005 9:45 AM
C'mon Taylor, step up. Us Vikes fans need you.
Posted by: Vince at February 11, 2005 10:46 AM
My only fear with an out of town owner is another Norm Green-esque fiasco. Taylor has much more established roots in the state, and a proven track record of spening the money necessary to make the team competitive (although this may not be the case with the Wolves this year). Either owner would be a huge improvement on Red; I would just feel more secure with a native MN owner.
Curt in Grand Forks
Posted by: Curt Hanson at February 11, 2005 11:01 AM
My sentiments are pretty much the same, thus I'd prefer a local owner. I'd also prefer Taylor b/c he hasn't ruled out revamping the metrodome or building a new stadium downtown. I suppose beggers can't be choosers, but the thought of a stadium out in the burbs is really depressing to me.
Posted by: Vince at February 11, 2005 11:59 AM
Not to dwell on the past but all this Glen Taylor owning the Vikings talks makes me think back to '99 when St. Paul had the referendum in an effort to raise the city sales tax a half a cent in order to land the Twins. Part of that deal that people tend to forget is if that measure would have passed, Pohlad would have been required to sell the Twins to Glen Taylor and Naegle from the Wild. If Taylor ends up with the Vikings, Minnesota could have had essentially 2 guys in charge of all four major league franchises. Talk about stability.
And what is the deal with the Srib running a story today saying that the absence of Wild games has had no effect on St. Paul financially? Tell that to the bars on W. 7th. The fact that sales tax receipts have remained steady perhaps has resulted from growth in other areas of the city. Why wasn't it suggested that sales tax receipts would be much more today instead of just steady if the Wild were playing? I think it is a ploy on the Stib's part to undermine St. Paul's arguments for bringing the Twins to their downtown.
Posted by: Jim in St. Paul at February 11, 2005 5:21 PM
Wow, lots of good news today. I think the recent stadium-related stuff pretty much sets the bar for anyone who wants to build one here - the team putting down half the cost is basically the minimum required to show that you're serious, and the negotiations can start from there.
"And what is the deal with the Srib running a story today saying that the absence of Wild games has had no effect on St. Paul financially?"
Well, Jim, because stadium proponents like to say that if the Twins/Vikes/Wild leave town, the downtown area will turn into a ghost town. Obviously, that hasn't happened in St. Paul this year, even though the Wild are effectively 'gone'. You're welcome to believe that it's really true that the Wild's absence has hurt St. Paul, but that other parts of the city are taking up the slack, but if you want folks like me to believe you, you'd better come up with something more concrete to back up your belief.
Posted by: David Wintheiser at February 11, 2005 6:04 PM
I was going to write about the Strib article a this weekend or on Monday. I needed a little time to mull it over. I had a different reaction than either Jim or David. My reaction was the fact that St. Paul is still doing all right budget-wise even without hockey proves what a great move it was to build the X in the first place. St. Paul is in the midst of what is known as a win-win situation. They have a great arena for concerts and other cultural events, and when hockey returns (which it will someday) they will again reap the benefits of having the Wild as part of the community. And those benefits go far beyond just dollars and cents. And according the article, the X is proving even easier to pay off than initially thought. Given the figures that come out of the Strib article, can anyone question what a great idea it was to build this arena? Easy to pay off, it allows St. Paul to compete for events in the area, it is state-of-the-art, St. Paul residents are proud of it and their city, and it will be ready when hockey returns. Well done St. Paul!
That's what I took away from the article anyway.
Posted by: Shane at February 11, 2005 9:49 PM
I work in the beer business and if you want something "concrete" how about Club 242 closing, Eagle Street Grill laying off most of their staff and relying on volunteers to bar tend and DJ, Mancini's not running buses to Wild games and lamenting the loss of all the pre-game business bus riders brought in. Plus I can get you figures from our sales department that shows how much less beer we are selling to the bars and restaurants surrounding the Excel. This beer is not just being bought in other parts of the city either. This is beer not being produced because the Wild are not playing. Just a few concrete examples.
Posted by: Jim in St. Paul at February 13, 2005 5:45 PM