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March 31, 2005

The never ending cycle of "better luck next year"

• I'm sure all of you have seen Pawlenty and legislative leaders falling all over themselves in praise for finally passing a bonding bill, but let's look at some of the facts of this recent activity. A bonding bill is typically passed in even number years (like 200-fricken-4) and a budget is passed in odd number years (like this year). So, it has literally taken the legislature 2 years to pass a bonding bill, and now they've got about a month to pass a budget. Special session anyone?

Concerning a new Twins stadium, this is very bad news. It just doesn't look like it will happen this year. How could it? With a budget battle looming on the horizon it looks like our legislators' plates are going to be full of partisan bickering real quick. Couple this with the "controversial" Gopher stadium bill that hasn't even been heard by a House committee yet, and the bad news just keeps on coming.

Shooter also rightly points out that next year is an election year, and legislators will be hesitant to tackle such a sticky issue of stadium financing in the next legislative session. This means that at best stadium financing bills probably won't be heard until 2008. This will be about one year after the current MLB CBA expires. It technically expires December 16, 2006. As you probably know, the player's union agreed that contraction could be an option for MLB after this CBA expires. What does this mean for the Twins? Your guess is as good as mine.

And what about the Vikings? The Vikings's lease on the Metrodome expires in 2011. Without a Twins bill in place before 2008, the legislature will probably try to tackle a baseball stadium first. And of course, they will probably fail. This means the Vikings are just flat out of luck.

Plus, as you all know, stadium construction costs keep rising and rising. What will a Twins stadium cost in 2008? $550 million? $600 million?

So, I'm suddenly in a bad mood and I need some answers. I'm going to write my legislators (again) and some people at the Twins offices to see if I can get some rays of hope. Please, if you read this and you know anything I don't about stadiums in Minnesota please let me know. Especially if it is good news. Also, please write your legislators (again) and ask them if there is any hope for a Twins stadium bill this session.

If all hope is lost, though, let's just enjoy the upcoming Twins' and Vikings' seasons. They both look to be exciting.

• Curt in Grand Forks sent me this interesting bit of news from CNNSI.com's Peter King. Concerning Reggie Fowler's bid to buy the Vikings King writes:

TEN THINGS I THINK I THINK

1. I think if Reggie Fowler's bid to buy the Vikings succeeds, my name is Elmer Fudd. Won't be happening, people. And it has nothing to do with color, unless you're talking about the color of money. I don't think Fowler has enough of it.

So, yet another national pundit has come out saying that Fowler will not be purchasing the Vikings. Combine this sentiment with Shooter's column again and we've got the possibility of Glen Taylor coming in to save the day. That would certainly improve the Vikings' stadium chances, and improve my outlook on life in general.

• Furthermore, again concerning stadiums, our best hope for some kind of financing this year came in the form of Pawlenty's metro-area casino scheme and it's "Community Assets Account." Well, after Mike Hatch came out with his "unconstitutional argument" the DFL led Senate is now sqwaking that this scheme is dead in the water. Dean Johnson has been quoted as saying:

Pawlenty's plan "was in the refrigerator yesterday. It just got put into the freezer."

I'll give our legislators one thing, they are good at giving the soundbites (and nothing else). Anyway, this will most likely leave a big gap in our budget since Pawlenty was planning on relying heavily on casino revenue for the next budget cycle. This means there will be a pretty acrimonious atmosphere at the state capitol for the next two months, that is for sure.

• Finally, if you haven't checked out Mr. Cheer or Die today get over there and do that right now. He's got some shocking news that I am just flat out stunned by. Could the Vikings really be considering a 6' 6" RB that no one has ever heard of with the 7th pick? Yikes! My underwear is already full!

Posted by snackeru at March 31, 2005 8:00 AM | Stadiums

Comments

If it is any consolation, Shane, I do not think that both the Twins and the Vikings will cease to exist. I would imagine that if one of them goes, there would be such a public out-cry that the stadium for the remaining team would be built. It would be a hard decision, but if forced to choose I’d take the Vikings. There is nothing like the excitement all throughout the Upper Midwest on Sunday afternoons during the Fall.

I think the problem is that the state legislators are not getting enough pressure from the fans. They don't feel that not voting for a stadium will cause them to be voted out. I can not come up with a reason for this; imagine the outcry if the Eagles were going to leave Philadelphia or the Broncos, Denver. There would an outcry as we have never seen before. Although what happened in Cleveland with the Browns would be close. Can it be that we are simply not as big of fans as they are in other communities? I hope this is not the case, but the lack of evidence to the contrary is disconcerting. Perhaps Minnesotans have become too pragmatic to invest any kind of public money in a stadium.

This is what amazes me about people who say they are Twins or Vikings fans, but then oppose any sort of stadium solution short of the team paying for all of it (which is very rare). If a stadium solution can not be found, we can kiss at least one of the teams goodbye.

I am probably going to get myself in trouble here, but look at the abundance of Twins blogs that have sprang up in recent years. They are very well written and very well read; yet few of them remotely discuss the need for a new Twins stadium. What good is it to discuss Torii Hunter's OPS (or whatever strange stat the Twins Geek is discussing this week) if Pohlad contracts the team in 2006? If you are a “true” fan, isn't the contraction or moving of the team your worse nightmare? How can you be a fan of the Twins if you do nothing to help the stadium along, or actively oppose its construction? (My caveat to the above comment is that I rarely view any Twins related blogs, although when I have I have seen no stadium discussion.) Imagine if everyone who read a Twins blog exerted a little pressure on their legislators! Discussion of the stadiums as an important political issue would certainly increase.

I would love nothing more than for Carl Pohlad and whoever ends up owning the Vikings to pay for their stadium; that being said, I feel nothing is gained if the state of Minnesota continues to draw a line in the sand and refuse any sort of public monies going to the stadium. What is gained if the Twins and Vikings leave? NOTHING!!!

Curt in Grand Forks

Posted by: Curt Hanson at March 31, 2005 10:03 AM

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