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May 22, 2006

What can I say?

• You know when something really good happens and you just don't know what to say? That is where I am at right now. I am just happy, happy, happy without anything really too important or compelling to say. Besides, cmathewson at Twinkie Town said it much better than I ever could. When somebody writes something this thoughtful, what is the point of even trying?

• That won't stop me, though, so here it goes. I think it is a given that Opening Day 2010 at the new ballpark will be called on account of rain or snow. In fact, I think it is a guarantee. And you know what? I will absolutely love it. A called game? In Minnesota? It will be cause for celebration! Let's embrace our crappy weather, put away our pansy attitudes about it, and revel in the fact that we live in Minne-fricken-sota, land of 9 month winters, 3 day torrential downpours, and mosquito infested summers. Bring ... it ... on!!!!!

• Now for something even more important than the new roofless ballpark: what will the new ballpark be called? I have heard a lot of people already calling it Best Buy Field but I must say that doesn't really excite me. I would love it if the new stadium was called Kirby Puckett Park, but I seriously don't think that will happen either. There is too much money to be made from naming rights. So, for your edification, I present to you the major companies that make Minnesota home:

Best Buy (Best Buy Field/Park? Too obvious)
Cargill (Cargill Field? Nope)
3M (3M Park? Yes, I could live with that. Or how about Post-it Notes Park? Yeah, that has a nice ring to it ...)
Northwest Airlines (No way)
Target Corporation (Nope, already have the Target Center)
U.S. Bancorp (Yes, there is a chance this will be U.S. Bancorp Ballpark. Not the best choice but a distinct possibility)
TCF Bank (Nope. Already the name of the new Gophers stadium)
Medtronic or Ecolab? (Wouldn't like it, but it is possible I suppose)
Dairy Queen (Started in Illinois, but now headquartered in Minnesota. Anything with "Queen" in the title should be avoided)
General Mills (Obviously, Wheaties Field would be highly appropriate, but how about Fraken Berry Field?)
Polaris Industries (Polaris Park ... now that would be cool)
Wells Fargo (Technically not a Minnesota company, but it does have a strong Minnesota presence with the merger with Norwest)
Kemps (Based in St. Paul, and they do make some very good ice cream)
Hormel Foods (Spam Park ... you know, that just might work)

So, what do all of you think? Any potential winners here? Anything I haven't thought of? I must admit a few years ago I thought the name "Marshall Field" was the best of all possible names. Dayton's had just changed their name to Marshall Fields and I thought naming the ballpark Marshall Field would be a good opportunity to build community interest in the name. I even wrote Target to tell them the idea. Obviously, it is not to be.

So, let me know what you think the name will be! I'll put together a poll and see if we can't figure it out on our own.

• I'm watching WCCO news right now and one of their top stories is that the Twins came out today and said there is a 5% chance that the new ballpark will have a roof! The Twins have said that a decision will be made in the next 4 months. Of course, there is no word where the money will come from, but I'd be surprised if it came from the state. Construction will start next spring,and the plans have to be finalized long before then, most likely before the legislature starts meeting again. I wonder what the Twins have in mind? Could the thoughts of having more out-state fans coming to the stadium and spending money be opening Pohlad's wallet a little wider? Unlikely. I'll see if I can't find something out ...

• Of course, at this point it is important to contact all the legislators that voted yes and thank them for having the guts to keep baseball in Minnesota. It may also be important at this point to write all the Hennepin County Commissioners and tell them how important it is that this Twins stadium plan actually builds a Twins stadium. You see, there is still one more step to go: The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners have to approve the plan one more time. And you better believe the three women on the board will do everything in their power to thwart this plan. Write them today, especially if you live in Hennepin County, and tell them to approve this plan!

• Finally, I've got a little story to tell you. Perhaps it illustrates the power of writing your legislators, and perhaps it doesn't. Quite frankly I don't know. Allow me to explain.

On Friday night, I was getting ready to hit the hay when I thought to myself, "What the heck. I'm going to write Ron Latz another letter." Ron Latz is my representative, and he has told me over and over and over again, that he will not vote for the stadium. But did that stop me? Nope. So, this is what I wrote him:

Tomorrow you will have a chance to vote for a bill that increases funding for Minneapolis police, that gives more money to Hennepin County Libraries and youth sports, and that creates a huge public works project in downtown Minneapolis with all those needed construction jobs. And of course, this bill will insure baseball remains in Minnesota for years to come. Do the right thing: vote for the Minnesota Twins stadium bill. Thank you for your consideration.

I won't give you exactly what Rep. Latz wrote back, but he did say, "At this time, unless there is a significant change in the Twins stadium finance package, I do not see how I will be able to support it."

This was not a surprise. And since I try not to be a one-issue voter, I wrote him back:

I understand. Of course, I am not surprised by your response. And believe it or not, I will not hold it against you. Have a good summer, Ron! Keep fighting the good fight.

He wrote back: "Thanks, Shane. I will ..."

So, why is this an interesting piece of correspondence? Rep. Latz voted in favor of the Twins stadium. Now, I am not stupid enough to think that my letter(s) to him actually had a big impact. I'd like to think, though, that they made a small difference, but probably not more than that.

Or did they? Was my correspondence with him on Friday night the straw that broke the camel's back? Who knows. Regardless, I sincerely appreciate his vote, and I will definitely have a Ron Latz sign in my front yard come election season.

Posted by snackeru at May 22, 2006 9:24 PM | Stadiums 2006


Shane, Ron Latz is in a safe district.....Correspondance does make a difference. The person who is going to be hurt big time by her vote in favor of the stadium is Terri Bonoff in Minnetonka/Plymouth. Terri has told me as much. It will be interesting to see if Twins fans are showing up for door knocks and lit drops for Terri. If Terri can focus on social issues, she will win - if the campaign becomes the twins stadium tax, Terri loses - because this deal is bad for Hennepin County. (It would have been a different story if more had shared in the tax increase). The reason the Governor wanted the Twins and not the Vikings is this - Anoka county is a swing area - and he didn't want a stadium issue and tax increase without a referendum to contend with during an election year - but he has no problem sticking it to Hennepin County. Would you buy a car with a 15 year note? Then why would you pay off a stadium with a 30 year note - when they don't seem to last that long. (Well the buildings are structurally sound, but the teams are at the capitol ready to feed at the public trough much earlier).

Another legislator who stands to lose big time by this is Paul Koering. Koering has a primary challenge - and this gives credence to the claim by the challenger, that Koering is being challenged on fiscal and not social issues.

I'll be asking both Bonoff and Koering if they've gotten any help from Twins fans (and help means volunteer work, door knocking, lit dropping, and phone banking).....

Posted by: Eva Young at May 23, 2006 12:05 AM

I had something similar happen with my Representative, Rep. Otremba.

She has always voted No on the stadium. This year she 'passed' in the House Ways and Means committee, and waited until the last second before voting No the first time on the House floor. I had written her previous to the Committee vote, and got no response. After she passed I was very upset and wrote her another letter. She did call me after that one, but I did not get a chance to speak to her. After the first House floor vote, I wrote her again and asked her to please explain her pass vote and her hesitation on the floor. Again I got no response.

I wrote her again on Friday night and called. Finally on Saturday, I got a response 'If the Twins 'need' my vote, I will vote Yes.' On Saturday, she again waited until the last second before voting No. Clearly she was one of the 4 'back-pocket' votes that Sviggum referenced having after the first vote.

While, I don't completely respect this position, I know that it goes on with all bills, and it is better then being an uncompromising No vote. I am still not completely happy with her, because it was like pulling teeth to get any response from her at all. But I do think it shows how the dynamics of this issue shifted this year.

Posted by: David Howe at May 23, 2006 8:07 AM

Nice work on the names list. I wonder if some company won't . . ."come out of left field" (sorry) with some crazy name.

Personally, I hope they don't put a roof on it. During the Milwaukee series the roof was closed the whole time. I don't know what the weather was but it got me thinking. Who decides to close the roof?

What's cold? 50 degrees? 60 degrees? 50 is like a heat wave in early April but it's practically a blizzard in June or July. Weather complaining is practically an art form in Minnesota

What do you do when people start complaining about all the bugs? They wouldn't complain if they knew there was nothing you could do about it. But if the roof could be closed. . . maybe they would. Yuck.

I think its awesome when you can see the batter and pitcher's breath in late October. Everyone's bundled up and crazy excited for their team to win. Optomistic? U betchya!!

Posted by: JC at May 23, 2006 8:30 AM

General Mills needs to be in the mix: scoreboard features Cheerios replacing zeroes, and Dollar Dog nights are replaced by Buck-a-Bowl. We have to capture the next generation long before they reach their college years. I'd like to see Cargill as the secondary sponsor of Jim Caples' Cornfield of Dreams, out of which Kirby Puckett and others occasionally appear in center field. Much more dynamic than Monument Valley in Yankee Stadium.

Posted by: oldstuffer at May 23, 2006 8:31 AM

The stadium SHOULD be called Hennepin County Stadium after the people who pay for it! It could have been called Carl Pohlad Park, but he missed the boat on that one. However, it will probably be called something lame. (Wells Fargo has an arena in Des Moines, so possibly...)

Posted by: DouglasG at May 23, 2006 8:36 AM

David: Otremba is a lost cause. She represents my home district, where my parents still live. I wrote her a couple of times in regards to stadium issues, but she always votes no, and never gives a good reason for doing so. She even voted against the earlier version of the Gophers bill. Thankfully, her views are not those of most legislators!

Eva: I do not believe that a pro or anti stadium view will cause any legislators to lose their seats. I am not convinced that many voters will base their electoral choices on one narrow issue like stadiums. Obviously you know Minnesota politics better than I, but I have a hard time believing this anti-stadium backlash that you are constantly pushing with your posts.

Curt in Grand Forks

Posted by: Curt Hanson at May 23, 2006 9:19 AM

I agree with oldstuffer, General Mills needs to jump on this. I would love it if the new ballpark was called Wheaties Field. I can't think of anything more appropriate. And if they can't get the name of the overall park, they definitely need to "be in the mix."

Having said that, I think it will be Best Buy Park. Just a hunch.

Posted by: Shane at May 23, 2006 9:19 AM

I say, name it after another Minnesota company that everyone has heard of, but needs a PR boost! Ladies & gentlemen, welcome to...

K-Tel Park!

Posted by: chapman at May 23, 2006 10:01 AM

The one thing the name shouldn't be is one of those overly long names that try to be "historic" while still getting that naming rights money. Example- Hennipen Park at Best Buy Field.
Hey, you know I kind of like the ring of just
"Hennipen Park" Is that ok with you Douglas?

Posted by: Jiminstpaul at May 23, 2006 10:41 AM

How about Ameriprise Field or Ameriprise Park?

I heard a rumor that Tim P was going to sign the bill at the Twins game tonight.........has anyone else heard that?

Posted by: MOJO at May 23, 2006 11:14 AM

Jiminstpaul, I would hope they would spell it Hennepin.

Personally I like Pucket Field at Waste Management Inc. Park.

Posted by: freealonzo at May 23, 2006 11:59 AM

Will Penny Steele have a box of tissues next to her this time? What a flake!!

Posted by: kevin in az at May 23, 2006 12:30 PM

What about "St. Paul Travelers Field" so that St. Paul could get the last laugh? Others...

Land O'Lakes Field (free milk every Friday!)

Andersen Corp. Field (your window to Twins baseball)

Toro Field (Best kept grass in MLB)

Supervalu Field (Season ticket Supervalu package)

UnitedHealth Group Field (Billy "I ain't got enough moola" McGuire pays for the roof with his stock options)

Posted by: MrCheerOrDie at May 23, 2006 12:53 PM

Yeah Freealonzo, my spelling sucks. I hope Shane edits my ballpark celebration invite that will be going out. Look for a new post from Shane soon.

Posted by: Jiminstpaul at May 23, 2006 1:12 PM

Good ones, COD! I love "Land O'Lakes Field" ... that is a winner!

Does Toro make its home in Minnesota? That would also be an appropriate name ...

Posted by: Shane at May 23, 2006 1:18 PM

"Hennipen Park" Is that ok with you Douglas?

I would love it! (As long as it is spelled correctly...) I just don't see it happening. It'll probably be Best Buy presents Land O'Lakes Field at 3M Park in Cargill Stadium.

We should all refuse to call it the designated name and call it Hennepin Park (or something.)

Posted by: DouglasG at May 23, 2006 1:58 PM

I love the idea of Polaris Park.

What about Thomson-West Park? (formerly West Publishing of St. Paul, now Thomson-West in Eagan). Sounds classy and could bring some name recognition to the maker of Westlaw.

Or my personal favorite, "Thrivent Field for Lutherans." Possibilities for vending innovations are endless: Getcher hotdog and tater-tot hot-dish here! Coooooold lime jello and marshmallow salad! Corn on the cob. Apple pie and bars for dessert. Garisson Keillor could wax nostalgic from left field and lead seventh inning renditions of A Mighty Fortress.

Posted by: ss at May 23, 2006 2:07 PM

For a second there I thought ss WAS Garrison Keillor.

Posted by: freealonzo at May 23, 2006 2:16 PM

It's gotta be Hormel Foods Park. We could call it the Spam Can. Or not.

Posted by: SBG at May 23, 2006 2:22 PM

I like the Toro one - yes, they're in Bloomington.

Posted by: JC at May 23, 2006 2:24 PM

Too bad the brewery I work for does not have the resources of a Miller Brewing. I would love to take in a game at Summit Field.

Posted by: Jiminstpaul at May 23, 2006 2:28 PM

I like Summit Field or Summit Park.......Land O' Lakes is also pretty sweet.

So has anyone heard of the Gov signing the Bill at the game tonight?

Or am I just hearing rumors?

Posted by: MOJO at May 23, 2006 2:33 PM

Here's my current odds...

2-1 Best Buy Ballpark
5-1 3M Field
10-1 General Mills Park
15-1 Land O' Lakes Park
20-1 Hormel Ballpark
25-1 Toro Field
30-1 Kemps Park
35-1 Wheaties Field (my favorite)
250-1 DQ Diamond
100,000-1 The House that Sid Built
1,000,000-1 Sam Goody Field

Place your bets!

Posted by: Andrew at May 23, 2006 2:46 PM

Hilarious, Andrew ... The House that Sid Built! That is too good...

I think your break down will become a poll for tomorrow's Machine entry!

Posted by: Shane at May 23, 2006 2:55 PM

I have my doubts about "3M field".

3M hasn't been a sponsor of the Twins or really any of the local sports teams except the Wild. Even with the Wild it almost seems as if they sponsor them because it would look really cold not to help out a team in your backyard.

I think Best Buy Park would be the best bet because they're already a big sponsor of the Twins and they could benefit the most out of any company.

Posted by: Boof at May 23, 2006 2:56 PM

Old Dutch Park - They could have a big vat of dip in centerfield like the waterfalls in KC or the pool in Arizona or the ocean in SF.

If old dutch would do that I would even match the pledge by agreeing to eat a bag full of those mutant chips with green on them that seem to randomly appear in every tasty bag of the old dutch potato chips.

Posted by: J. Lichty at May 23, 2006 4:04 PM

Cincinati already got the best corporate naming rights deal, "Great American" Ballpark. I didn't even know it was named after a corporation until someone told me. I thought it was just a cool name for a park.

Posted by: David Howe at May 23, 2006 4:10 PM

I worry a little that the team could become the Minnesota Twins of Hennepin County.

Posted by: oldstuffer at May 23, 2006 8:49 PM

I've finally had the time to reflect on what stadiums mean to me (after the required cooling-off period.) If interested, it's posted at the URL associated with my name in this comment, but I can sum up:

1) I'm glad we got a Gophers stadium because I love Gopher football and I want to see them succeed (for once).
2) I'm glad we got a Twins stadium because my Dad took me to games and I want to do the same for my kids... and I very nearly lost that opportunity.

Posted by: Jon at May 24, 2006 12:22 AM

Personally, I like: Cargill Fields.

Posted by: Drake33 at May 26, 2006 4:57 PM

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