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October 6, 2005

Optimism increases

• Holy cow am I feeling good today. It is surprising what just a little snippet from Charley Walters can do for my outlook on life in general:

Latest word is the Twins and Gophers now have the legislative votes to approve new stadiums if agreements can be reached, so Gov. Tim Pawlenty can call a special session. Pawlenty wants to hear a firm commitment first, though.

So, there you have it. The votes are there. T-Paw is willing to call the session. It sounds like the legislative leaders just need to cross the t's and dot the i's.

Ha! Phew, I almost got ahead of myself there! As Kevin in AZ says, it is all just talk right now. We've got a long way to go. However, I feel good about what I am hearing.

• You know what I can't stand? Hypocrisy. I know, you probably can't stand hypocrisy either. That is why I'm sure you'll agree with me that Nick Coleman is an idiot, but worse he is being very hypocritical.

Nick is anti-stadium. As examples, there is this, and this, and many more that demonstrate his anger towards stadium financing, especially towards building a Twins stadium.

I am really quite stunned by the level of anger demonstrated by this usually coherent author. First of all, Nick, why don't you calm down, clean the spit up off your chin and the drool off of your bib, and take a moment to consider just what you are all upset about. As a Star Trib has already pointed out 30 other cities and states have figured out how to make this work, but somehow we are different. I'll tell you how we are different: we are filled with morons like Nick Coleman that would rather we end up with nothing, no worse than nothing, a freaking $10 million gap in our state budget so he can stick it to an 80 year old man.

Oh no, the Gollum-like Nick Coleman says, you can't have my precious pennies, I would rather 10 years pass by after the Twins are long gone so we can spend 3-4-5 times as much on a new stadium then. By that time Minnesota will realize its huge error and we'll be begging for baseball to return. Thanks a bunch for that, Nick. You seem to have a real knack for seeing the forest through the trees. Save now and spend way more later. Where do I sign up for that?

Nicky also thinks he is somewhat of a ballpark design expert. I had no idea he was so knowledgeable concerning the placement and design of new baseball stadiums. Nick has called the design a "boxy thing" that won't get hardly any sun and where the spectators will be treated to the smells of "roasting garbage." Hyperbole? Meet your new king. I tell you what Nick, besides the fact that it has already been proven that the smells from the burner are minimal at best, I think I'll trust the Twins and the architects to design the new ballpark. God knows whatever they design will be better than the Metrodome, which by the way doesn't get any sun-light at all.

But here is what has me really angry towards Nicky today: he has written an article full of praise for the Minnesota Wild and the Xcel Energy Center. The Minnesota Wild. A team that is a part of the NHL. Yes, the same exact NHL that cancelled an entire season.

But more importantly, the Minnesota Wild is a team, much like the Twins would be, that is accepting millions of dollars in public subsidies to pay for their arena. Why isn't Nicky upset about this? Why isn't he railing against the half-cent sales tax that St. Paul residents currently pay for the X? Why isn't he spewing his vitrol towards the interest-free state general fund loan that the Wild received to build the X? Where is the same level of anger towards the ownership of the Wild that Nicky launches towards Zygi Wilf and Carl Pohlad?

Is it because the X cost less than a Vikings or Twins stadium? Is it all about price then rather than the principle of giving billionaire owners public money?

Or is it because the X is built in St. Paul? Coleman is quite a homer for St. Paul, so maybe if public money is going to be given to billionaire, as long as it is in St. Paul it is OK.

Or maybe it is because Nicky likes hockey. If I remember correctly, Nick has written before that he laces up the skates every once in a while. Maybe Nick feels public money for billionaires is OK as long as he likes the sport the money is going to.

Whatever the case, if he was ever against the X (and he should have been given his diatribes against the Twins stadium) he isn't anymore. It seems his principles are lost as soon as the new venue opens and he can see for himself how beautiful and meaningful these new buildings can be. But before they are built he goes out of his way to prove his stunning and hypocritical ignorance.

I am sick of it.

• Finally, there was a decent letter to the editor in the Strib today that had this to say:

There are at least four issues that the governor and legislative leaders need to get together on: new stadiums for the Minnesota Twins and the University of Minnesota football team, a proposed hospital in Maple Grove and the Minneapolis teachers pension fund. Each of them is very important.

All parties need to take a stand, call a special session and resolve these issues.

Amen, Mr. Crosland. Here is what is remarkable about this letter. Mr. Crosland combines stadiums, health care, and education issues all in the same grouping of "we should get all of these done." Yes! I don't have time to expound on this point, but I think all of you get the picture.

Posted by snackeru at October 6, 2005 8:35 AM | Stadiums


Good old Nick is back living in St. Paul (quite near my home actually, shudder), where he is shacked up with fellow stadium naysayer, Laura Billings. At least we don't have to put up with her calls for money for kids and not for stadiums, since Nick and her are already on kid number three, and she is on leave from the Pioneer Press.
Just a thought on the passing of the Twinsgeek (Twins Territory) site. This is the site that got me to the Greet Machine and you could always count on John for some reasoned new ballpark remarks. He will be missed. Maybe you should start doing more Twins posts, Shane.

Posted by: Jim in St. Paul at October 6, 2005 10:43 AM

Those who oppose me shall face the unbridled wrath of NICK COLEMAN and SONS! Hockey gooood, Baseball baaaad. Nutella is goooood, peanut butter is baaad! You have just made a powerful enemy Shane. Upwards of 14 people read my column and they will descend upon you and your stadium like locusts from Hell!

Posted by: Nick Coleman at October 6, 2005 12:15 PM

Coleman is nothing more than pure hatred.

Posted by: Brian Maas at October 6, 2005 12:17 PM

I e-mailed Nick Coleman today using the words from your post. Here was his response:

"i don't rail against the X for the same reason i don't rail against the Dome...
in case you haven't noticed, their construction phases are finished
where i come from (St Paul), they would call that crying over spilled milk"

Posted by: Freealonzo at October 6, 2005 1:00 PM

If the legislature did what Mr. Crosland and others propose that would be multi-tasking. This government has shown over the past few years that it's incapable of doing two things at once. Hell, it has a hard enough time doing anything at all.

You have a polarized legislature (House of Republicans - Senate of Democrats) and a Governor who doesn't know how to negotiate deals. Again Governor Doofus tries to control the agenda with his attempt to have a pre-agreement going into a special session. Sorry, Governor, you don't get everything you want and not give anything. That's not how you negotiate. Rudy Perpich and Arne Carlson knew how to negotiate. They knew that in order to get the things they wanted, they would have to let the other side get a few things they wanted in order to have their votes. GEE, WHY IS THIS SO HARD FOR THE CURRENT GOVERNOR TO UNDERSTAND???? Is T-Paw afraid of the conservative wackos in his party? Perpich was never afraid of the liberal loonies in his party and Arne Carlson routinely told Alan Quist where to stick it. All in the name of doing what's right for the State of MN.

Oh I hope you guys fix this at the next general election. Who cares which party the candidate is from. Find someone who can LEAD!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Kevin in AZ at October 6, 2005 1:22 PM

freealonzo, thanks for writing good old Nicky. His answer doesn't surprise me. What would be nice, though, is for him to admit that he is wrong. That possibly, if the X can work for St. Paul then maybe a new Twins stadium can work for Minneapolis (or St. Paul, I don't care). I know, I shouldn't hold my breath...

And Jim, I wrote the TwinsGeek that exact sentiment, that I owe many of my readers to him. However, I definitely won't torture you with my meager thoughts on the Twins or any SABRE type statistical analyses. You gotta know your limits, and speaking intelligently about baseball is one of mine.

And Kevin, of course you are right, as usual. Our legislators are too concerned with keeping their jobs than taking a chance or taking a stand. We need to sweep out the dead weight. No incumbents! That will be my battle cry come the next election.

Posted by: Shane at October 6, 2005 3:33 PM

As a descendant of a long line of Minnesota DFLers, it pains me to reflect on how great a governor Arne was. Imagine how quickly the stadium issue would have been taken care of if he was in office now. The Vikings would already be in Valhalla Field, and the Twins in Marshall Field. If only it were so...

Curt in Grand Forks

Posted by: Curt Hanson at October 6, 2005 3:37 PM

Ummm... the stadium stuff started when Arne Carlson was in office. In fact, it was his early scheming with Pohlad that likely doomed the stadium effort here in MN. Check out the Jay Weiner book "Stadium Games." He gives a whole history and presents some interesting stadium solutions of his own.

Personally, although I'm not categorically opposed to public funding, I've been disappointed with all of the stadium proposals to date. I'd like to see a truly "progressive" stadium proposal here -- or better yet, have the public (i.e. the legislators) determine our stadium needs and build to those, rather than simply building to owners' and leagues' "wants". Of course, this would require even more effort from the legislators, and we all know how likely that is.

Posted by: spycake at October 6, 2005 6:59 PM

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