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April 25, 2005

Apathetic Twins fans

What is wrong with everyone? Is it the weather? Or is this just another example of the apathy of Twins fans striking once again? Here we have fantastic news of the possibility of a new Twins stadium and all I am seeing on other Twins blogs are comments like, "I'll believe it when I see it," and ""[T]here's no plan of yet for a retractable roof. That's freakin' brilliant.". That's it? That's all you've got? The Twins need our support to hammer this through and all we can muster is an extra dose of cynicism and apathy? TwinsTerritory? Silent. Silent!!! That site has like 200 potential authors and not one of them has written a sentence about this issue. Seth Speaks? And I quote, "I hate even writing about the stadium on this site because it just frustrates me to no end that this situation was not resolved long ago." Gah! These sites have hundreds if not thousands of readers. Where is the passion? Where is the anger? Where is the support? As Twins fans all of us can make a HUGE difference! Especially Twins bloggers! Let's all get our heads out of the sand and start making some noise!

At least Ryan Maus of TwinsChatter took some time to even think about this issue today. I can't argue with his "cautious optimism" and I can't argue with his pessimism either. Thanks, Ryan, for the link and thanks for writing about what should be the most important issue for any Twins fan: getting a stadium built.

This would never happen in St. Louis. Or Denver. Or a myriad of other cities whose fans are actually rabidly supportive of their baseball team. Minnesota? We are apathetic at best and indifferent at worst. Well, we may get what we deserve.

I don't care how many times you've seen a stadium plan crash and burn. I don't care how many times you have gotten your hopes up only to have them squashed like a bug. It is time to get this deal done! This is a good plan and it deserves our time and support!

Posted by snackeru at April 25, 2005 12:26 PM | Stadiums


Shane, remember the state you are in. If it ain't hockey, nobody cares. Not me mind you, I'm the exact opposite, I don't care if it's hockey. Shane, I think you should try a big letter to the editor in the Star Trib. Give it a shot.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at April 25, 2005 12:31 PM

I am kind of on the fence with the recent developements. I have invested alot of time and effort over the last 5 or so years in trying to get St. Paul the nod for a new ballpark. I have testified before commitees at the Capitol more times then I can recall. I went on a junket with the chamber of commerce with my daughter in '99 to Jacobs Field in Cleveland. I have hosted block parties attended by Tony O and Juan Senior Smoke. Put up lawn signs, door knocked and attended numerous city and citizen meetings. So exuse me if I don't jump on the Minneapolis bandwagon. Part of me wants to see it get done and there is the other part that wants the legislature to screw it up agian so St. Paul can get back to the table. If this plan was so simple and obvious, why did it take the Twins this long to come up with it? Are they really that inept? Or did they think playing each Twin City off each other was really going to pay off in the long run? I guess I feel that the Twin deserve a new ballpark but Minneapolis does not deserve to be the sight. What has Minneapolis shown over the last 5 years that demonstrates they really want to host the Twins? The City Council has been neutral if not against, the legislative delegation has obstructed efforts at every chance. And the Mayor has been just as wishy washy as he has been on any other city issue. The only thing Minneapolis has going for it is the Hennipen County tax base. Perhaps Hennipen County could annex St. Paul. Then the ballpark could be in a city that has worked, planned, and desired it, instead of one that has waited for it to be handed to them based on geographic location.

Posted by: Jim in St. Paul at April 25, 2005 2:29 PM

Jim, thanks for the comments. No one can question the time and effort you have put into getting a Twins stadium built in St. Paul. Quite frankly I am stunned with it. You should be commended. I'm sorry that you don't think Minneapolis deserves the park. Maybe they don't. But, again, this is the hand we've been dealt.

And I hope you know that I would write the exact same stuff if St. Paul was picked as the site. I would be pushing for a Twins ballpark in St. Paul with everything I've got. Unfortunately it was not meant to be.

I just want this issue to go away. I see this most recent plan as an excellent opportunity to get the job done. Minneapolis or St. Paul, I just want a ballpark.

Posted by: Shane at April 25, 2005 2:50 PM

Let me add one more thing, Jim. You should be writing this blog, not me. I've often thought that you are more connected, more knowledgeable, and more passionate about this than any of us. It kills me that you are even a little upset about this plan.

Posted by: Shane at April 25, 2005 3:50 PM

I understand Jim's desire for the stadium to be in St. Paul, I live in St. Paul as well and it would incredible to have it by the X. However, at bottom the Twins are a state asset and it does not matter to me what city they play in. They are more valuable to me in Minneapolis than in Portland.

And Shane, I'm also a little disconcerted with the lack of discussion on this proposal. I've been saying we should follow Denver for years. Broad based sales tax, or tax non-Minnesotans with hotel/car rental taxes. They built three arenas there using that model. I really have no idea why the Twins have never floated a broad sales tax before. It seems so easy.

Speaking of easy, why stop short of building a roof? I've got a theory, but maybe I'm too skeptical. Right now Pohlad can claim that his contribution is close to 1/3, the "magic number" that Pawlenty threw out last year and acknowledged today (by the way, how nice is it that Pawlenty called it "reasonable" today!). If you add 100 million to the cost for a roof, Pohlad's contribution drops from 125 of 375 to more like 125 of 475 or 1/4. Thus, Pohlad may be afraid of invoking Pawlenty's wrath and having to put up an extra 30 million to save the proposal. This allows Pohlad to get away with only raising his proposal by 5 million. Like I said, I'm a cynic.

But, assuming that is not the problem, why not go for the roof? Based on my crude math, to repay 353 million over 30 years, the state is anticipating an average of $78,444,444 in sales taxable transactions a year. As Denver showed, that will likely happen faster than 30 years, but for the sake of argument assume it takes all 30.

At 0.15%, 78,444,444 would generate the $353,000,000 needed to pay off the stadium (353 million = 30 x 0.15 x (yearly sales)). Ok, if you add 100 million for the roof, you need to re-solve for the sales tax rate (453 mill. = 30 x (sales tax rate) x ($78,444,444)) which comes to 0.1925. In other words, to build the roof the rate would have to be 0.20% instead of 0.15%. So a new $20,000 Honda would cost $40 in extra sales tax instead of $30 under the current plan. Seriously, why not do the whole thing? Are you telling me I would have to spend $20,000 in Hennepin county to notice a difference in $10 between a stadium with a roof and one without?

I also figured that if I eat lunch out at $10 a day every working day for 250 days in Minneapolis I pay $3.75 extra for the stadium. With a roof I pay $5. COME ON! There is a reason the Pioneer Press called this a "nominal tax." Get it done!

Posted by: Grant at April 25, 2005 4:21 PM

Sorry, I was off a couple zeroes. Damn interest rate is .0015 not 0.15. It would be 78,444,444,444 per year in sales to retire 11,766,667 a year in debt. Does Hennepin county really have that high of sales? And where is the 28 million per year the county is estimating come from?

Posted by: Grant at April 25, 2005 4:39 PM

I hate KFAN. Instead of talking about the stadium proposal, they are spending 2 hours comparing the 2005 Vikings to the 80s Bears' superbowl team. Worthless. After the Twins get their stadium we should focus on getting another all-sports radio station minus the egos.

Posted by: Vince at April 25, 2005 4:46 PM

Hey Shane,

You're right of course. To put it in baseball terms:

"All it takes is One (deal to work)"

Posted by: Andy at April 25, 2005 5:00 PM

Personally I would feel intimidated writing about a Stadium knowing the shadow of Greet Machine is over my shoulder; and people know where they can get a lot better stuff than I have.

Posted by: TwinsJunkie at April 25, 2005 6:49 PM

Grant, honestly I've wondered the same thing. We keep on hearing about this 0.15% sales tax but as you say it is really .0015%. That is the only way I can figure the 3 cents for every $20 spent line we keep hearing about. And realizing that, Hennepin County must make a whole ton of money in sales every year. Wow. However, to go back to your original point, I would love a roof on the ballpark but I just don't think it will happen. Chicago, Detroit, Boston, none of these ballparks have a roof and they get more rain than we do. I know it would be nice, but it isn't essential to me.

What about this ... we all know that the debt is going to be paid off early on this thing. Why don't we just use the tax money to put a roof on the park after the debt is paid off? How long will that take? 10 years? 15 years? In that amount of time it will be time to renovate anyway.

And TwinsJunkie, that gave me a chuckle. Here is all I want, I just want people to get behind this plan. Talk about it and say you support it. Encourage people to write their legislators. Start a groundswell of support for this proposal and get people talking about it and thinking about it. The more people that talk about it in a positive way the more the people of this God-forsaken state will start feeling good about the plan. That is what I think anyway...

Posted by: Shane at April 25, 2005 6:54 PM

Fine, I wrote on it. Poorly, I'm sure, but I wrote on it. Now get off my back!


Posted by: bjhess at April 25, 2005 9:05 PM

I'm definitely a stadium agnostic, but this sounds like a reasonable plan to me. Little as I personally am interested in the Twins or the Vikings, I do recognize that it is good to have them here. Considering that my property taxes have gone up 50% in the last four years (more than half of that under "no tax increases" Pawlenty), I don't think I'll notice 3 cents on every $20 I spend in Hennepin County. And any plan that avoids the governor and the do-nothing legislature has a lot going for it already.

Posted by: Stacie at April 26, 2005 8:28 AM

I can remember a while back when they "just had to have a dome like Denver and Detroit" or they were going to leave the state. They finelly kept it up until they got thier dome. Now they are complaining, "they just have to have a stadium. They had one that they could hardly tear down. Now they want a stadium again, or they are going to leave the state. They are still "playing" ball . I think its time we all grow up and and start living within our means, We can't always have our way. No wonder kids find , if they keep begging long enough they finelly get their way, I call that Spoiled! We can't alway;s tax, tax, tax. All through history the countries that over taxed the people, Fell.

Posted by: Marilyn at April 27, 2005 10:17 PM

Marilyn: Come on!! 3 cents of tax for a $20 purchase? How does that qualify as being "over-taxed"? Besides, the Metrodome is a pathetic stadium that was built using every cheap method available, and it will not remain a viable option for Minnesota professional sports teams forever. A .0015 tax increase is very reasonable, given all that Hennepin County and the state of Minnesota will receive in return.

Curt in Grand Forks

Posted by: Curt Hanson at April 28, 2005 8:13 AM

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