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January 4, 2006

Expect a plan, but no ballpark

In case you missed it, Aron Kahn of the Pioneer Press had a good article concerning a possible plan for a Twins stadium in this upcoming legislative session. As has already been pointed out, Kahn highlights that we should expect a plan to surface, but unless something drastic happens with the collective thinking in the legislature we shouldn't expect that the plan will actually result in a new stadium:

Indeed, Twins point man Jerry Bell, who could challenge the golden horses for most time spent at the Capitol in the past decade, abandoned his diplomatic style last week to say loud and clear that the Twins' problem in the Capitol dome is politics, not the merits of the deal.

The team won't spend time lobbying this year, he said, until Pawlenty and lawmakers take the lead and shepherd a stadium bill to a vote on the floor of the House and Senate.

I'm sure you'll all agree that this is not likely. In addition, the article has this to say:

Bell also doesn't know where the future lies. Neither does Pawlenty, Pohlad or baseball commissioner Bud Selig. The ballpark issue is a creature of mood, timing and politics, and no one can foresee the exact time of a harmonic convergence, should it come.

But sports-business professionals believe the Twins' status quo at the Metrodome will not exist five years from now.

The first option: The team could indeed get a new stadium deal, but each year it likely would cost more. With the $478 million project missing construction deadlines, the Twins say, a ballpark will cost another $30 million if approved this year, but they insist they will not increase their $125 million portion to cover the difference.

Also, the team could be sold and perhaps moved by a new owner who isn't interested in years of debating the stadium question. There are eight groups currently bidding to buy the Washington Nationals. Will one of the seven losers go after the Twins?

Nothing good in this article, I'm afraid. 5 years from now I think we'll finally know what is the fate of the Twins, Vikings, and Metrodome. Scary to think about.

Of course, I'm interested in the meeting that will take place between the team, T-Paw, and Hennepin County this week, but unless T-Paw really decides to ram a plan through, we should not get our hopes up.

Posted by snackeru at January 4, 2006 9:15 AM | Stadiums

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