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June 20, 2005

Painful to read the newspapers

There must be some hint of action on the Twins stadium bill at the capitol since both TC dailies are coming out fast and furious with stadium news. This could slightly be corroborated by something I heard cadidate-for-governor Steve Kelley say at the Parktacular parade this last Saturday. When asked if the budget stalemate is nearing an end Kelley responded, "I expect we'll get our work done before June 30." Of course, we've heard these "expectations" before. Let's hope our legislators can get the job done, especially for for the sake all those people about to be laid off.

Even with all this stadium news, though, it is still painful for me to open the newspaper. I read the paper with one eye shut and a cringe on my face since it seems the anti-stadium forces are gathering a pretty impressive amount of steam. In the Pioneer Press today, the four biggest opponents are outlined, including "rookie of the year" candidate John Knight. Does anyone know what law firm he works for? I'd like to avoid it if I ever need a lawyer. Nothing personal, I just don't like his vehement opposition to something I would give almost anything to have.

And even though the Strib had an article in today's paper that seemingly discussed the virtues of the St. Louis Cardinals plan for a new ballpark, I still found some interesting tidbits that we could look at a little closer. First of all, you'll recall that last Friday I discussed how I thought that the history of the team, their nostlagia, and the time the Cardinals have spent in St. Louis could actually work against them in their efforts to get a new ballpark. This idea was reiterated in the article, but this time with a focus on their success:

Jim Baker, St. Louis County's director of administration, said it quickly became clear that the team's relatively good financial standing in fact hurt the Cardinals' chances for public money. "I think it was a real shock to the Cardinals to realize the more successful you are as a sports franchise, the less leverage you have," he said.

Again, the Cardinals have far less leverage than the Twins in that they make a ton of money, the team is worth at least two times more than the Twins, and their fan base and local media revenue is also twice as large. Given all this success, the Cardinals threats to move, even across the river into Illinois, were probably met with a chuckle.

Even with these differences, and even though our situations are hardly the same, most anti-stadium people around here still look at the Cardinals plan as the way to go. I am of the opinion, though, that it still wouldn't matter if the Twins did agree to put up $300 million of their own money. People around here would still be against the plan. According to the article above, people are ticked off with the $85 million the Cardinals are getting from the city and state:

"When I was younger, the sun rose and set on whether the Cardinals won or lost," said Fred Lindecke, a retired St. Louis newspaper reporter and a leading critic of public subsidies for professional sports. "I'm never going into that new ballpark."

The team, Lindecke said, is getting $310 million through naming rights, public seat licenses and other revenue -- giving the Cardinals what Lindecke calls a "free ballpark."

Stunning, isn't it? Even with the $300 million pledge, there is still sizable opposition. I am convinced this would also happen in the Twin Cities. During the Local Government committee hearing just last month Tony Cornish make the statement that if the Twins agreed to put up half that we wouldn't even be having this conversation. It would be a done deal. Given the difficulties the Cardinals have had, I just can't agree with this sentiment. Some people will always be against any plan and determined to see the Twins wave goodbye. (Another example of this just happened in Florida, with the Marlins agreeing to put up almost $200 million of their own money and the rest coming from Miami and the state. They, of course, were turned down).

Something the article does not discuss that definitely needs to be mentioned is the fact that even though the Cardinals are one of the most successful franchises in baseball, even though they make more money than most teams, even though they have a higher payroll than most teams, with a new stadium their revenue streams are about to get even better. Recent success aside, the Twins cannot continue to compete at this level, either financially or on the field, without a new ballpark.

Posted by snackeru at June 20, 2005 12:58 PM | Stadiums



For your reading pleasure.

Posted by: SBG at June 20, 2005 1:21 PM

Hmmm ... kind of sleazy. Not only does he seem to be using the Twins as a political platform to gain noteriety, he is also an obvious liar that will knowingly tell obvious untruths about people in order to get elected. Not to mention that he uses telemarketing as a tool to reach potential voters! No wonder he lost...

Posted by: Shane at June 20, 2005 2:10 PM

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