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January 18, 2006

It's that time of year again

• First of all, thanks to everyone for your birthday greetings yesterday. I would like to especially thank the anonymous commenter for taking the time (see, that wasn't so hard!), and spycake for actually writing "Happy B-day, Shane. Hopefully T-Paw and Old Carl have a present for ya..." That really choked me up, given that spycake is not what I would consider "pro-stadium," at least not in the same way that I am pro-stadium.

And speaking of spycake, did any of you happen to see his letter to the editor in yesterday's Strib? First let me say shame on you spycake! We're trying to get a stadium built around here, not point out the obvious! However, I must also say that if I was against the Hennepin County plan I would have written the exact same letter. Spycake does a nice job of pointing out the "sleight of hand" in Brehm's piece that I alluded to yesterday. But that doesn't mean I am happy!

Spycake also writes in his letter:

Also, the Metrodome didn't pay for itself through indirect tax revenue from local businesses -- its operating agreement allowed for some stadium revenue to be directed back into the publicly owned stadium, something the new ballpark agreement fails to do.

Yes, but unlike the plan that built the Metrodome, the Hennepin County plan also commits the Twins to operation, maintenance and routine repair expenses, plus the Twins will be required to make additional annual contributions for capital improvements to the stadium over the course of the 30 year use agreement. In other words, the Twins themselves will be required to direct money back into the stadium. I'm sure some of that money will come from stadium revenue.

• So, T-Paw unveiled his bond plan yesterday to much fanfare and joyous celebration. Tucked in with his comments about his $897 million plan were comments about stadium construction:

While they are not part of the bonding proposal for the coming year, Pawlenty said he also wants proposals for a Gophers football stadium and a Twins baseball stadium to pass the Legislature this year.

Huzzah! T-Paw wants a Twins baseball stadium bill to pass this year! Oh happy day! Because we all know if T-Paw says he wants something, it is done! I think we can all rest easy now knowing that T-Paw has said the magic words and made his desires known.

Yeah right.

• Of wonderful. Nick Coleman has again graced us with his opinion about stadiums in Minnesota. This time, it is an attack on the Vikings and their plan to turn Anoka County into a place Minnesotans may actually want to visit. I've written about Coleman's hypocisy and stunning ignorance before, so I won't go into tirade mode again today. Let me just say I'm starting to think that if Nick Coleman doesn't like the idea, it is probably a pretty good one. So, Zygi, well done. Spend your money on your new consultants. If Nick (aka Gollum) is unhappy, then you are on the right path.

• And speaking of the new Vikings stadium, I've been thinking about what Zygi can do to help his efforts when it suddenly dawned on me that I don't like the new design of the stadium. I don't like it at all. Especially not compared to the old design:

New design (click for larger)
Old design (click for larger)

Do you see what I mean? The new design looks like crap! And what is with the two garish yellow towers jutting out of the front? I don't get it. Whoever drew this thing up could have done a better job. I mean, look at the old design. Sleek lines. And those cool stainless steel rounded beams coming out of the top evoking thoughts of the Viking longboats of old ... man, that was a cool design. I gotta give Red credit for that one. This new stadium needs some more pizazz if it is going to get the attention and excitement of the people of Anoka County. That is what I think anyway.

That's all for now. Have a good one!

Posted by snackeru at January 18, 2006 8:14 AM | Stadiums


Uh, the old design didn't have any fans depicted. The new one has happy fans, including Culpepper jerseys and little girls taking digital pictures of the stadium. HELLO!

Posted by: bjhess at January 18, 2006 9:26 AM

Yeah, right next to a mosquito infested swamp! Good call on that one!

Posted by: Shane at January 18, 2006 9:28 AM

Also in the new design isn't that Vikings Announcer and KFAN's Paul Allen hand-in-hand with presumably his daughter?

Belated Birthday greetings. Only person I know of who shares my birthday is Walter Mondale.

Posted by: Freealonzo at January 18, 2006 9:57 AM

Just say the word, and Code Name Viper can see to it that "Gollum" is "eliminated." What an ass!

For the record I share my birthday with the drummer from Megadeath and John Rhys-Davies from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. My wife shares her birthday with Jorge Garcia (Hurley from Lost), John Daly, Jay Leno, and Saddam Hussein. Wikipedia rocks!

Curt in Grand Forks

Posted by: Curt Hanson at January 18, 2006 11:25 AM

I noticed your subhead and just wanted to let you know we in South Dakota welcome your state as the third Dakota. I think "East Dakota" has kind of a ring to it, don't you.

Given how strange your politics seem to be, you should fit right in. Of course, we've never elected a pro wrestler as governor. On the other hand, we did have Bill Janklow, which is pretty much the same thing.

Posted by: Jeff A at January 18, 2006 11:57 AM

Spycake needs to do some fact-checking of his own. Milwaukee attendance is up 500k from just 2 years ago. So much for that theory of his in the letter.

Poor on-field product? The Brewers are recognized as one of the up-and-coming teams that very well could make the playoffs this year and a 90+ win season. Gee, could this also be the reason attendance is up?

I have always wondered why Minnesotans can't make their point without trying to bash WI? It was totally unnecessary and factually incorrect.

Spycake, sorry you're jealous that WI has outstanding stadiums for the Brewers, Packers and Badgers and MN has garbage.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at January 18, 2006 12:59 PM

Coleman's a complete turd all around. And speaking of crap, that new stadium design's a real stinker. Old design's cool though.

Posted by: ss at January 18, 2006 2:08 PM

Thanks for the notice, Shane. I didn't think anyone would connect my pseudonym here with the letter, but that's probably naive, eh?

CC, thanks for the tips. They edited my letter somewhat -- I tried to point out the immediate spike and general decline of attendance in a number of new-stadium cities, and Milwaukee was just one of them. True, they are on an upswing now, but Miller Park attendance dipped to County Stadium-levels in just its third season, and the Brewers had to slash payroll because of it. A lot of people point to the new Twins stadium as being the answer to our small-market prayers, but it's far from a guarantee of high attendance and increased payroll.

In any case, I wasn't trying to bash Wisconsin at all. Selig perhaps, but nothing against Wisconsin.

Posted by: spycake at January 18, 2006 3:44 PM

Also, on the new Vikings stadium illustration, I notice they're emphasize a "water" theme, with a wood bridge that looks a lot like a boat dock. Maybe that's not the best promotional angle for them to take anymore...

Posted by: spycake at January 18, 2006 4:01 PM

Thanks Spycake,

Certainly a new stadium is going to have record attendance right out of the gate, no doubt about it, and naturally attendence will go down as it's no longer something "new". Yes, the attendance dropped real low for a season due to complete upper management bungling of the team and players. The payroll had to be slashed as Selig's daughter was a horrible owner and couldn't manage her hair, let alone a MLB team.

Times are better now, and Attanasio is making $ off the Brewers, even with a payroll that is almost double that of Wendy Selig. The stadium is the only way that was possible. There was no big TV or radio deal and he's not kicking in his own $ as reports were that he made over $5M last year profit. The $ potential was there in the stadium, but poor management caused it not to be tapped.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at January 18, 2006 4:16 PM

re: Birthdays

I actually have exactly the same date of birth, day and year, as Nicole Kidman. Though I am prouder that I shared my birthday with my grandfather (technically still do, but we haven't celebrated it together since he passed away over 20 years ago).

re: spycake

Great letter. And I disagree with Craig's estimation that the new management couldn't have made the team profitable/competitive without the new stadium - consider what happened in the Cities after Pohlad first bought the club from Cal Griffith, especially the 1991 World Series team which was fortified by two significant free agent acquisitions.

Ironically enough, there was no call for a new ballpark during those salad days - it was only later, after the payroll had been slashed and the good players allowed to walk, that the ballpark suddenly became a point of contention. This suggests to me that the stadium was never the real issue.

Posted by: David Wintheiser at January 19, 2006 5:06 PM

Of course, the new stadium building and associated increases in revenue starting with Camden Yards began after the 1991 World Series. But hey, why let that pesky fact get in the way of an argument?

Posted by: SBG at January 20, 2006 10:54 AM

Are you actually stating that County Stadium was still a viable stadium? OMG! I know you're against new stadiums in general, but this argument of yours is way off base. The place was an absolute pit.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at January 20, 2006 12:58 PM

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