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April 28, 2006

This is who I am

I want to explain a few things to you:

My name is Shane. It isn't too hard to figure out who I am. I am not an anonymous blogger.

I have a wife and three kids all of whom I love very much.

I volunteer at my church as a sound technician for our Sunday School program.

I teach a graduate class on Tuesday nights at the College of St. Catherine in the Dept. of Library and Information Science.

I am the Tiger Den Leader for my local Cub Scout Pack.

I just put in a brand new basketball hoop on my driveway, and I recently visited Minnehaha Falls.

I enjoy reading (right now it is Air by Geoffry Ryman), listening to music (The Soft Bulletin by the Flaming Lips is in heavy rotation), and watching movies (Wow, was V for Vendetta ever good).

I still mow my parents lawn.

I am a librarian and the webmaster at the University of Minnesota Libraries and manager of the UThink blog system.

This is who I am. I like to think I am making a positive contribution to society.

I spend most of my time as a librarian. Now, any librarian worth his or her salt will tell you one of the most important aspects of librarianship is protecting intellectual freedom and the freedom of speech. Libraries collect a lot of material, some of which is very controversial. The saying goes, if you haven't found something in a library that offends you, you haven't been looking hard enough.

I also like baseball. Specifically Twins baseball. As a Twins fan, I have decided to support the effort to build a new ballpark. I don't have any hidden agendas. I just want to make sure the Twins stay in Minnesota, and I am excited for the possibilty of watching outdoor baseball again. For a lot of reasons, this is controversial. It even offends some people.

I'm sorry if you don't agree with me. I really am. But I have a right to my opinion. In fact, I would argue I have a right, in fact even an obligation to get involved in the issues that matter to me. It is my right as a citizen of this state. Obviously I have gotten involved by writing on this blog.

Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing. As a librarian, I enjoy my role as a protector of this right, and as a citizen I have enjoyed taking a few minutes out of every day to write about a Twins stadium. I am a firm believer that we shouldn't be afraid to speak out on issues that matter to us, and especially on issues that could impact us.

I have recently learned, however, that this may be a naive view of this wonderful right. Freedom of speech is not so much black and white as it is gray, and it is somewhat of a two way street. Sure I can speak my mind and say what I want, but that doesn't mean there aren't consequences. My freedom of speech can get me in trouble. It can also bring me a little pain. I have learned that there are consequences to the freedom of speech that one must be willing to deal with.

For example, some people don't like the freedom of speech, especially when they hear things they don't agree with. The freedom of speech can also cause the people around you to look differently at you. It can also make people become angry with you. In essence, your freedom of speech can make you feel very uncomfortable.

Are you willing to deal with that? Can you handle it? Am I willing to deal with it? For the past three years, I have been willing to deal with it. I would write on my little blog and maybe 100 people would read my drivel. Then a funny thing happened. More people started to read my drivel, word got around, and I got on the 10:00 news.

Wow. This has caused a whole bunch of interesting things to happen to me, both good and bad. I've had some fun conversations with people. I've gotten a lot of fun phone calls from family and friends. Friends have emailed me from all over asking if I could sign some autographs. I've also been confronted by a co-worker. I had a less than pleasant meeting with my own boss and his supervisor. I've gotten a lot of problematic emails, some of them CC'd to the president of the University.

I must also clarify that the Univerisity and the University Libraries have backed me up on this issue. But I will admit to some embarrassment over them having to do so. It makes me a little upset that my blog seems to be the most controversial on the UThink system. The system I developed. It makes me upset that my supervisors have been forced to defend me. So, I have considered letting it go.

You see? Consequences. Your freedom of speech, my freedom of speech does not come without a price. For a long time I have talked a good game concerning the philosophy of freely speaking your mind. What I have recently been forced to ask myself though is can I walk the walk? Can I pay the price? Can I deal with the consequences?

I have decided the answer is yes. Bring it on. A good friend of mine recently wrote me and said, "Remember--we don't do this because it's easy, we do it because it's hard. Anybody can do little things, work the margins, and not make waves -- but where's the fun in that?"

Yes. I am proud of the impact I've had, and I'm proud of the work I've done. I have decided that I want to continue to make waves.

Anyway, I just thought you should know why I didn't post anything today. See you soon.

Posted by snackeru at April 28, 2006 11:30 PM | Life | Stadiums 2006


I have been reading your blog from some time (ever since it was mentioned by twins geek a couple of years ago). I fail to find anything offensive or upsetting.
But i live in Los Angeles and run a little store with my wife (So no boss to bother me).
Please keep reporting. I found your link and the Minnesota House deliberations fascinating (played em on my computer and turned down the sound when a customer came in).
I look forward to your data on the Senate deliberations.

Posted by: Jim C at April 29, 2006 7:50 AM

Give 'em hell, Shane!

Posted by: Neil at April 29, 2006 9:35 AM

I don't blame you for feeling conflicted about all this with the media firestorm you've received, but just try to remember that you can't please all the people all the time. If you're catching too much flack from people and it's taking away from your regular life, then pull the plug and don't feel bad about it. After all, everyone who comes here is somewhat of a mooch on you anyway. We could all take the time you put into this blog and do the research ourselves, but we don't. You're very good at it, and we are entertained by you. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: AW at April 29, 2006 9:55 AM

You know. Shane, if people continue to get upset about your stances, perhaps you should be less controversial. Here is what you could do:

1. Expand on why chickens and giraffes are your favorite aniamls.

2. Further posts on bunnies and rabbits would be great.

3. Exactly why were you the runner-up in the 1991 Kempsville Slam Dunk championship; who beat you and how did he do it?

4. How do you manage to live in such peace and tranquility with a mentally unbalances, Cheeshead neighbor?

You will have to scrap the posts about stadiums, gay marriage, Intelligent Design, Cub Scouts, the "Stranded on a Desert Island" song series, and just about everything that might upset someone.

Your blgo would end up being pretty boring, but at least we would have lots of photos of bunnies!

Curt in Grand Forks (where we have no stadiums, few blogs, and little controversy, save for that "Fighting Sioux" thing)

Posted by: Curt Hanson at April 29, 2006 10:02 AM

So I can't type; sue me!

Curt in Grand Ferks

Posted by: Curt Hanson at April 29, 2006 10:05 AM

This is who I am: I am old enough to be a baseball fan before the Twins came to town. Mickey Mantle was my motivation to move from diapers to training pants. I have worked for and around goverment most of my adult life. I believe in the postive results of collective action and am proud that sometimes (heavy accent on the sometimes)I get paid to make the community I was born in, raised my family in and will no doubt die in a better place.
I was a political science major that got lucky with a great internship at Northwestern National Bank with the chance to work for two very special people, Carrolyn Anderson and Chuck Neerland. They provided light on the first steps of the path that I still walk today. One of the things they were working on was the civic effort to bring the Twins and the Vikings downtown. I was in a group of season ticket holders at the Met, great seats; second deck a couple rows behind home plate. My pals thought nothing good could come from moving into a football stadium with plastic walls. It seemed to me, wide eyed intern, that the guys who were pushing this were truely motivated by wanted to keep Minneapolis strong. They were.
In 1987 Carrolyn, then a member of the Sports Facilities Commission, was able to help me secure tickets for six of the seven world series games with the Cardinals. The trip to St. Louis was my epiphnany. Late October yes, cool enough to see your breath, yeah but the magic under the stars oh Lord....Card's fans all bedecked in red satin jackets. This was their Christmas, Easter and Fourth of July. I bought a ticket for game five on the street and sat alone in the heart of the beast among 40 + year season ticket holders.
I came back begging Carrolyn to start the move to get the Twins into their own park and have been at it since. From my point of view we average Joes and Joelines have been victimized by a perfect storm of the owner's blunders, polticians who have used the opportunity to create wedge issues for their own gain totally devoid of the community's and lobbyists who need those politicians to survive. (BTW that is just a fact of life lobbyists have to make a living in a corrupt enviroment. The good (moral and professional) ones are even better when legislators are concerned with the common good)NOW, at last, the point of my post. The Greet Machine represents the great hope for the future of political action. There is NO subsititute for an informed electorate. Shane has made the process accessable to all. He has done this with the FACTS and totally without vitrol. Before the session began the common wisdom was that the ballpaprk could not happen in an election year. I brought a copy of the scorecard painstakingly assembled by Shane to a meeting of business (and labor) leaders, the Twins and the lobbyists who were all very glum. While the wise guys in the crowd scoffed the political leaders, including Opat and Stenglein bightened. The optimism that emerged was the springboard. It has carried us through the onslaught of meanness and tunnel vision. The positive energy and common sense wisdom displayed in the daily posts of Shane who still mows his Mom and Dad's lawn is an important ingrediant in the fuel blend that is sustaining the good guys in this fight. Rock on!!!

Posted by: Mark Oyaas at April 29, 2006 10:43 AM

Shane: You and your good-but-anonymous friend have paraphrased the oft-stated wisdom of Maxine Clapp, the long-time head of the University of Minnesota Archives: "Remember, my dear, if it were easy someone would have done it long ago." If an archivist said it, it must be true.

Posted by: OldStuffer at April 29, 2006 11:33 AM

Keep it up Shaney!!! I've been reading your blog for a number of years and I occasionally inject my 2 cents worth.

I must admit, it's the personality of the typical Minnesota which drove me out of there last year after having lived there for the first 30 years of my life. I am so disgusted with the direction of that state and the attitude that the people have developed over a period of time.

When I was a kid, I was so proud of where I lived, now I'm thoroughly embarrassed by my home state. I've since moved to greener pastures, MUCH MUCH greener. A place where people are visionaries and embrace progressivity.

When all of this is over, I have a guest room for you to enjoy if you need a getaway. Yes it's starting to get warm, but I have a pool and yes, we even have SPF 80 for your Norwegian skin..ha ha.

Keep it up buddy, you're making an impact and I couldn't be more proud of you!!!!!

Posted by: kevin in az at April 29, 2006 3:24 PM

This will all be worth it when we are enjoying a cold Summit shortly after the ballpark bill becomes a reality. Then it will only be a while longer before we are enjoying another beer, kids at our side, frosty malt dripping down their chins, the stars over our heads and the Twins playing in a ballpark that "we" (not the owners, not the players) deserve.

Posted by: Jiminstpaul at April 29, 2006 5:37 PM

I love you shane. You ROCK IT HARD!

Posted by: Vince at April 29, 2006 6:50 PM

Shane, thanks for what you do. I'm not surprised about the reaction over your Channel 4 story. See Shane, you're dangerous. The Nick Colemans and Lloydlettas of the world want this stadium talk to be the little guys v. the suits. With big, bad billionaire Carl Pohlad and steroid- injecting millionaire ballplayers against all the rest of us. Your blog shines a light on that. Because of you and Greet Machine those of us who who want a ballpark, who realize that we are willing to pay a little bit of money for the privlege can voice our views. Then we can go on and then get on with watching baseball the way it was meant to be watched, with the sun in your eyes, the smells of the city in your nostrils, and a cool breeze across your brow.

Posted by: freealonzo at April 29, 2006 7:38 PM

Hi Shane, I work with you at the University. I decided not to move my blogger blogs to the University system because I post about political topics.

I think it's nasty if people are trying to get you in trouble at work. Someone did that to me a while back.

I have no time for people on either side of this issue or any other who try to silence opposition by intimidating them at work.

I don't agree with you about the Twins Stadium plan - I think it's a bad deal for Hennepin County taxpayers, and find it especially offensive that legislators outside Hennepin County are voting to stick it to the Hennepin County Taxpayer.

That being said, I think you've made the strongest pro-twins stadium case I've seen.

Posted by: Eva Young at April 29, 2006 8:35 PM

Bravo on your strong stand. You're controversial because you're dangerous. You're dangerous because you're powerful. You're powerful because you're influential. You're influential because you're passionate and good at what you do.
Shrinking from that would be a disgrace. Bravo again.

Posted by: ss at April 29, 2006 11:21 PM

Shane,kudos to you for all you have done and will
continue to do !! Now you can see why most of us
choose to remain anonymous.For years I have learned the hard way that many of the people who
crow about free speech and "open and informed debate" are the first to try to shut-up anyone who
disagrees with them or who defeats them on an issue fair and square as you have. I myself have
seen how some of these AMORAL weasels abuse their
authority,lie or make up stories about people or in some cases try to buy them off to get what they
want. Thank heavens, you have have the courage to
stand up openly for what you believe! I must admit
that I (knowing these scum buckets)DO NOT!

Posted by: jimj at April 30, 2006 2:28 PM

Always will support you Shane.

Unless you decide to go with an all-bunny blog, then I'm disowning you and putting the fence back up between our backyards. Because that's just wrong.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at April 30, 2006 5:26 PM

I hope you will keep it up. The anti-american's (anti-stadium) out there are very clever, but nazi's nonetheless!!!

Bob in WBL

Posted by: Bobio at April 30, 2006 8:32 PM

"I don't give 'em hell. I just tell the truth on them; it makes them feel like they're in Hell!"

Harry S. Truman

Posted by: Mr. Cheer Or Die at April 30, 2006 8:51 PM

Ditto Shane. Keep up the fight. It is worth it. The "haters" are small, weak, and cannot handle the truth.

This blog is 'pro-stadia', but it's much more of a value than just that. It clarifies our Senators positions on this topic that we would not get otherwise.

I am a Gopher Alumni, and I'm very damn proud of the U of MN backing you on this.

Posted by: Drake33 at May 1, 2006 9:29 AM

Sorry for all the hassle, Shane. That's an unfortunate side effect of increased exposure on the web these days.

For some reason, I now have an image an Anchorman-style street fight taking place to resolve this... in which case, I'll be on your side, Shane! Greet Machine 4 Life!

Posted by: spycake at May 1, 2006 10:55 AM

I respectfully disagree...

I don't think that the proposed "solution" is a good one. Mentioned above was the push to bring the Vikings and Twins to the downtown area. The result of that was the Metrodome... The Twins plan will keep them downtown, but the Vikings are planning to move to Anoka...

Moving out of the dome leaves a huge void downtown. What is to become of the dome? All talk of that are glossed over. My team has been in the same stadium for nearly 100 years. How long have the Twins and Vikings been in the dome? While I do yearn for outdoor baseball, this solution is not a great one. So, I'm opposed!

However, we both have our oppinions and I respect your position as you should respect mine. There are times when you do not respect the position of the opposition and you resort to name calling. That is where you get into trouble, and you should watch it.

Nick Coleman, Phil Krinkie, Larry Pogemiller and others have opinions that differ from you. You may not like what they have to say, but they have the right to speak how they feel. You do no one a valuable service by calling them names.

Posted by: DouglasG at May 1, 2006 1:31 PM

Douglas, what are you disagreeing with? My post was mainly about the consequences of free speech. Do you disagree with that, or something someone posted in a comment above?

Name calling happens on both sides. I regularly call the legislature morons. I won't deny it. Sometimes my anger gets the best of me. Thanks for pointing that out. But have I ever called you or another reader a name? I hope not. If so, I apologize.

Posted by: Shane at May 1, 2006 1:44 PM

The truth hurts Douglas...So I will do it for Shane....YOU AND THOSE LEGISLATORS ARE ALL MORONS!!!!!

THERE, Bring it on, I'm ready for you!

Posted by: kevin in az at May 1, 2006 1:50 PM

I fully agree with your post. I disagree on your position that any stadium bill is a good one. I disagree that there is a NEED for a new Twins stadium. I would definitely go to more Twins games if they played outside, but they have a suitable stadium currently. There is a WANT of a new stadium. There is a WANT for outdoor baseball. But, there is no need. If Pohlad thinks a new Twins stadium is going to make one bit of difference in terms of profitability (either here or in Vegas) he is sadly mistaken.

Be that as it may, the metro area is going to pay lots of money for a luxury and a hole in the ground where the dome was. ONE of the teams should stay in the dome. Personally, I think it should be the Gophers, but they have more clout with the legislature. The Vikings plan is way better than the Twins plan. Thus, that leaves the Twins. The Twins have a history in the Dome. A couple of World Series wins if I'm not mistaken. (I'm not.) A baseball refit would be far less costly, but that is not even on the table. We need to chuck it out with yesterday's trash. Are we to forget Kirby's baggy jumps? Do we forget about Gladden scoring the game winner in the 10th? Those things happened in the piece of trash we're throwing away.

There are lots of problems with the stadium plans. None of them guarantee that we won't be having this same debate 15 years from now with the "m" in millions replaced with a "b". It would be nice to see outside baseball, but not at ALL costs.

If that makes me a MORON, then I'll take it!

Posted by: DouglasG at May 1, 2006 2:11 PM

Douglas G is right. There is no need for a stadium. Everyone here knows that. Some people want a stadium but are too cheap or lazy to pay for higher ticket prices. If you can't afford the higher ticket prices then follow the Twins to Vegas or Portland or wherever they go.

Posted by: He's right at May 1, 2006 3:00 PM

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