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July 14, 2005

Me first


I have seen the light. What in the world have I been doing for the past 10 years? Year after year, session after session I have been begging for a new Twins stadium but to no avail. I suddenly realize that all these years I have been fighting for the wrong cause. Allow me to introduce my new cause, my new platform, which I'm sure the vast majority of Minnesotans will quickly understand and be able to relate to. Allow me to introduce the "Me First" platform.

The "Me First" platform is based mainly on a single principle that is rapidly becoming more and more important to the average Minnesotan: what is in it for me? I have seen this principle at work in the stadium debates of the last 10 years and I gotta admit it is starting to have some appeal. Seriously, what is in it for me? You say you want to build a new light rail line? What is in it for me? I never ride the light rail. You say you want to build a new Guthrie theater? Holy crap, what the heck is in it for me? A bunch of pansies dressing up and acting like idiots, that's what. You say you want to build a new downtown library? What, so more people can surf for porn for free? What is in it for me? You know, I could really get the hang of this...

And don't give me this "community" crap. I've tried that argument before and it just doesn't work. If you don't care about the millions of Twins fans in the upper midwest, if that community doesn't matter, then I for sure don't care about you. You see, the only thing I care about from now on is my own pocketbook and how to make it fatter and sealed more air tight.

As you might imagine my new hero is Phil Krinkie. What an American hero! Phil Krinkie's tireless fight against all forms of government spending has truly been an inspiration, and he has taught me the all important concept of the "boondoggle." What a phenomenal word. Of course, this is Krinkie's favorite word. Say it with me: boondoggle. If you aren't familiar with how to spot a boondoggle then let me give you a crash course. It is essential if you want to follow the "Me first" platform:

Does the project cost money? If so, it is probably a boondoggle.
Does the project make anyone else besides me any money? If so, it is definitely a boondoggle.
Does the project require any tax money? Ding, ding, ding! It is a boondoggle.

No good can come from any projects like these! The LRT? It cost a lot of money, it definitely made some contractors a lot of money, the bulk of that money has come from taxes, and I haven't benefited from it at all. I mean, I never ride it. Yep, boondoggle all the way. Let's go back in time a little ways. The Metrodome? Back in the early 80s it cost a lot of money, it has made the Vikings and the Twins a whole lot of money (and they only paid for 9% of the building -- their locker rooms and offices -- the public the rest), and what have I gotten in return for that building? You guessed it. Not a dime. How about the Xcel Energy Center? Tax money ... check. Rich sports owners making money ... check. Have I ever set foot in the building? Nope. Boondoggle.

I think you are beginning to see the point. Gone are the concepts of sharing, community, investment, and civic pride ... what a rube I have been! These concepts do not make for a better Minnesota! What will make this state a great place to live in the future is if we all start thinking more about ourselves than our neighbors. I mean, who cares about millions of Twins fans? Not me anymore. And I don't care about schools (except the one my kids go to), roads (except for the one in front of my house), parks (except the ones I visit), etc. etc. You get the picture.

"Me First," baby. That is the only way to go. I have seen the light, and I want more of it for myself.

Posted by snackeru at July 14, 2005 12:40 PM | Politics | Stadiums


I had to put the first comment on this post. I'm first! Ha Ha all you losers!

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at July 14, 2005 10:56 AM

Don't worry Shane

I work with a DFL House member and he assures me daily that the stadium bill will go through. He says that there will be a special session, that the tough vote will be for the referendum, but it will ultimately result in having to bypass the Hennepin county voters. Once that happens, the vote is a cake walk and the out of metro voters will be going back to their districts claiming that they saved the Twins.

Posted by: vince at July 14, 2005 11:36 AM

Still laughing, you are so funny!! What got into you?

Posted by: Cheesehead's wife at July 14, 2005 1:58 PM

You can always go watch a local high-school football game for a sense of community. Or a little-league baseball game.
I think there is a huge difference between a public service like transportation that moves people more efficiently around the city than entertainment.
The "Me First" people are not really the citizens that don't agree with making the wealthy wealthier at taxpayers expense, but the Team owners who don't want to reduce their profits to pay for their own profit machine are "Me First". If they were really about community, they wouldn't threaten to leave their fans. Of course they want us to pay for it! Why not if we are willing to?!

Posted by: John at July 15, 2005 1:04 AM

bypass the voters to get what big business wants? Oh that's good government.

Posted by: John at July 15, 2005 1:09 AM

bypass the voters to get what big business wants? Oh that's good government.

Posted by: John at July 15, 2005 1:10 AM

Gee, yeah. You are right, John. Instead of watching world-class entertainment, I think I'll go down to the park and watch someone else's seven year old run around and play t-ball. That sounds like a lot more fun.

Posted by: SBG at July 15, 2005 7:57 AM

Well I'm glad I dind't take your directions and went ahead and read the post. You don't make any money off your blog, Shane, so why don't you just shut it down?

Posted by: TwinsJunkie at July 15, 2005 11:55 PM

I'm all about the community good, too, which is why I oppose the present proposal and would like a plan that better serves the community interests in a ballpark partnership.

Posted by: frightwig at July 18, 2005 5:13 PM

I understand your argument frightwig. There is nothing wrong with wanting more. However, to me the real return on investment is not dollars, but continuing to have an MLB franchise. If having more revenue means the team can retain players, or, god forbid, bring in a power hitter for a pennant drive, then I would prefer the team get the money over saving me some pennies. The point of building the stadium is to increase revenues to make the team more competitive, and cutting into that stream is counter-productive.

But this post isn't about the economics. I'm more concerned with the real potential for losing the Twins. I've heard for 10 years how we have to keep holding out for a better deal. But I've almost never seen that better deal materialize. We even have an example in Minnesota. After we held out and ultimately lost the North Stars, all I heard was whining about not having hockey. Then when the opportunity presented itself we got an expansion team, paid taxpayer money for a new stadium, and elected the Mayor to the Senate (I can't believe how many people said they voted for the "man who brought hockey back"). But why didn't we just get it done with without the team leaving? And then the Stars won a Stanley Cup...

There are examples in every sport of a locality holding out and ultimately losing. But one of the worst is the Cleveland Browns. There you had one of the oldest NFL franchises, with an undeniably devoted fan base. And somehow they lost their team. One theory is that the city just put them off too long. Despite watching the Indians get a stadium and Cleveland dump millions into building the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Browns continued to play in a dump of a stadium with no luxury box revenues. Despite being one of the most popular teams in the NFL, the Browns lost money every year. So, eventually the other shoe dropped and the Browns disappeared.

What was Cleveland's reaction? Blame the owner, gnash teeth, curse the Browns, and BUILD A NEW STADIUM! Sound familiar? It should, right down to losing a team right before it won the championship. What a waste...

A hockey crazed state loses a team and replaces it, a football mad city loses a legendary NFL franchise and replaces it. If it can happen with that kind of following, why not with the Twins? Minnesota is not a baseball hotbed, and the Twins, while accomplished, are not a legendary franchise. So why does everyone assume that there is no possible way they will move? Hell, the NBA has dumped two franchises into Charlotte in the last 20 years! MLB can always find another market.

So frightwig, although it would be nice to get a better deal, I'm coming at this from the perspective that the Twins cannot play in the dome forever. We can stick our heads in the sand and say that because we've fought them off for 10 years they're obviously not leaving, but that is exactly what Cleveland thought about Modell. He warned Cleveland repeatedly that the team needed a new stadium to compete, until everyone assumed he was just crying wolf. So they were shocked when he finally left.

It might have been shocking if the Browns had left after one failed attempt. But after years of trying, there is nothing shocking about it. Cleveland got what it deserved. And so will we. Again.

Posted by: Grant at July 19, 2005 4:29 PM

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