November 29, 2006
In the Christmas Spirit
• Well, as you can see by the header image, I am getting into the Christmas spirit. In fact, just today, I purchased Sufjan Stevens' Songs for Christmas. If you are wondering, it is just as good as people say. Get this, in an off year Stevens releases an album of outtakes (The Avalanche) that is better than most albums this year, and then he releases a set of Christmas CDs with a total of 42 songs (for the unbelievable price of $20). Amazing. If you are looking for a unique set of Christmas songs this year, you can't do much better than Songs for Christmas. Tons of great songs for a good price.
• So, I'm watching the Gophers lose to a mediocre Clemson team, and I must say that I agree with 10,000 Takes that this just might be the worst Gophers team we've seen in a long time. Now, unfortunately for us we really shouldn't be too upset about this reality. One problem I've always had with Glen Mason and the Gopher football team is that he doesn't recruit well in Minnesota. After they barely beat NDSU there were a ton of people that were upset with the fact that NDSU is comprised mostly of Minnesotans. More so than the U of M Golden Gophers football team, that is for sure. A lot of people wondered, if a bunch of Minnesotans can almost beat the U of M, why aren't they playing for the U of M?
I think you know where I am going with this, but the Golden Gophers basketball team this year is dominated by native Minnesotans. Of the 14 players on the team, 9 are from Minnesota. Four out of the five starters are from Minnesota, and if McKenzie started they would all be from Minnesota.
This is something to be happy about. The Golden Gophers are primarily from Minnesota. Some might even say this is the way it should be. Now what is upsetting about this is the fact that together they make for a pretty crappy team. I think the big question at this point is: are Minnesotans just crappy basketball players? Is this group of Minnesotans just not that good? And how much is the coach to blame? Dan Monson has done a good job of recruiting Minnesota players. Whether he gets them out of high school or they transfer to the program, he usually gets the bulk of the best of what Minnesota high schools have to offer. He should be commended for this. However, would a different coach be able to get more out of them? It is hard to say, but Joel Maturi doesn't seem to think so. Monson's job, for whatever reason, seems to be secure.
• Is anyone else as confused as I am over this Scott Skiles--Ben Wallace headband feud? I mean, I know it is about more than just a headband, but if you focus on the headband you begin to realize what a bonehead stupid rule this is. For the life of me I cannot fathom why headbands should be banned. Are they "thuggish"? Do they actually do a bad job of keeping sweat off your face? What is the reason? Because whatever it is, I'm sure it is stupid. It reminds me of something I have to tell myself concerning my kids: fight the battles that are worth fighting. Are headbands really a fight worth having?
• And speaking of my kids, for some reason a fight I usually find worth having with them concerns turning off lights in the house. Man, it drives me crazy to see lights on all over the house. In fact, they know if I ever see the light on in the basement bathroom and no one is in the bathroom ... well, the punishment is they have to run around the house seven times. That's right, seven times. Believe you me, after a few times running around the house seven times I don't see that light on too much anymore. And I kinda wish I would. My kids were getting some really good exercise.
So anyway, now I've got a new problem with my lights. You see, my wife bought a new pencil sharpener and asked me to install it somewhere. Well, I didn't want to screw it into my wall, or my cupboard, so in what I thought was a stroke of genius I decided to install it in my garage. Seriously, I thought this was an Einstein type genius level decision. I was really proud of myself.
The unfortunate thing about this idea, though, is that during winter in Minnesota it gets dark at about 12 noon. It is brutal. So, when my kids go to sharpen a pencil, they turn on the garage lights, sharpen their pencil, and then come back in the house. Obviously without turning off the lights. And I can't see that they haven't turned off the lights because I don't go into the garage. This means that the lights in my garage are on about 23 hours a day. In fact, they are probably on right now. I better go check.
Anyway, I don't really know where I am going with this other than to say it drives me nuts. If anyone has any ideas of how I can overcome this problem I am all ears. Because I usually figure out the lights are on at about 10:00 at night, and it is more work than it is worth to get my kids out of bed, dressed, and running around the house seven times.
This ends another episode of "who gives a rat's butt theater."
November 27, 2006
Something to get behind
If you've been watching the Vikings you probably realize by now that this year is going to be another one of "those years." A year where the team is mediocre at best, and if they do by some miracle make the playoffs they will either make an early exit or break our hearts in spectacular fashion. As the tag line of The Ragnarok says, "It ain't easy being a Vikings fan."
What is a Vikings fan to do then? How can we salvage this year, and actually be able to possibly look back on this year as a year of accomplishment, no matter how small? Well, there is something. There is a crusade that we can all get behind. As a little background, I'd like to dig back into the archives and reprint something I wrote on May 26, 2005 after Zygi Wilf bought the team:
Another note to Zygi: for the love of all that is holy stop playing "Welcome to the Jungle." Just stop! My ears can no longer take the bleeding induced by this overrated song. Again, the Vikings need a song that maybe hearkens back to the real Vikings. (The Immigrant Song) A song that rocks and makes sense from the standpoint of "From the fury of the Norsemen, O Lord, save us!" (The Immigrant Song) A song that the Twins already use! The Twins!!! To recap: "Welcome to the Jungle" OUT; "The Immigrant Song" IN. Let's make it happen, Zygi.
Unfortunately for all of us, "Welcome to the Jungle" is still being played in the Metrodome. This is just mind boggling considering what a perfect song "The Immigrant Song" is for Vikings games. Well, it seems I am not alone in my thinking on this issue. In fact, there is a man out there that is pretty much singly handedly making this his crusade. According to MPR:
A Duluth man is on a quest to change the music the Minnesota Vikings play in the Metrodome before kicking the football. Andy Saur says the Vikings should be playing a Led Zeppelin song rather than the one they use by Guns N' Roses. His efforts have gotten nationwide media attention, but he admits he's still in for a long struggle.
That man is named Andy Saur, and we all owe him a debt of gratitude for trying to rid the Metrodome of all things G'n'R. Thank you Andy! In fact, not only does he talk about it, he has developed an entire web site to discuss this important issue. It is called Vikings Kickoff.com. And not only that, he has also put together an online petition which I hope you will consider signing immediately.
This is a serious issue people. We can no longer sit idly by and let Guns and Roses be played with impunity whilst such a superior song is available and clearly more appropriate. Besides, what else have we got to do as Vikings fans this year? Cheer Brad Johnson on to the Super Bowl? Pfft. Together, let's work for something we can all be proud of. Let's make "The Immigrant Song" the song of the Minnesota Vikings.
On another note, can anyone explain to me why Randy Foye isn't starting and playing at least 30 minutes every game? What does he have to do, prove two games in a row in the fourth quarter that he is one of the best players on the court? Oh wait, he's already done that. Is Dwayne Casey another Dan Monson? Is he clueless or something?
November 25, 2006
Stuff I'm thankful for:
- The Twins. What a great year. Almost as much fun as 1991. I don't know how Terry Ryan is going to pay for all this talent, but I am optimistic for the future. Who says we need a new stadium to compete? Whoever was in favor of that boondoggle should be tarred and feathered.
- Gopher hockey. At least Minnesota dominates in one sport.
- Having said that, the football season ended pretty nicely too. Floyd of Rosedale is nice to have.
- My library card(s). See that list of books on the right hand side of this blog? All of those books came from a library. So much to read, and not enough time. Buying books ... bah! What a waste of money.
- My fuzzy little kitty cat. I'm serious. My wife spent $500 for our cat Trinity. She is a pure bred Ragdoll. I thought my wife was bat-guano crazy when she bought her, but I'll be bamboozled if I don't love that stupid little cat.
- The little stuff in life:
- My Starbury shoes. $15 for a pair of high tops! I love it.
- EZ Cheese and crackers. I seriously could live on this combination.
- Working at Walter Library at the U of M. I work in the most beautiful building on campus.
- My new basketball hoop in my driveway. If there is one thing I really take seriously, it is installing a basketball hoop. My basketball hoop is installed to perfection.
- Camping at Many Point. I had a great time with my son and the other Boy Scouts at the Many Point Scout camp this summer. Seeing the stars in rural Minnesota is truly beautiful.
- I am thankful for the State Fair. What a blast that is every year!
- I am thankful I got my first award this year! I am the Firecracker of the Year as selected by Neerland and Oyaas. I can't express enough how cool this was.
- I am thankful for the awesome party put on by Jim in St. Paul at the Summit Brewery. Wasn't that a blast? It puts a smile on my face just thinking about how much we had to celebrate.
- And of course, I am thankful that a Twins stadium bill finally passed. I am thankful that we will be watching outdoor baseball in 2010! I am thankful for all the friends I made through the process. I still can't believe it! What a blast!
- Finally, I am thankful for my beautiful wife and family, especially for putting up with all my stadium ramblings over the years. Because, truly, I am certifiably insane about all of this.
November 21, 2006
Show me the money
First and foremost, I'd like to look at the bright side of Anoka County dropping out of the race for a new Vikings stadium: in the next couple of months I will be able to post some new stadium pictures in the header of this site! That is reason alone to smile.
OK. I think we can all agree that Anoka County dropping out of the race is not a big surprise. Personally, I wouldn't have minded the Vikings calling Anoka County home, but there were some obvious problems with the site that caused the price tag to balloon out of control. Anoka County made a good decision to drop out, and it sounds like the Vikings made it easy for them by not even contacting them by their Monday noon deadline. Did anyone else think that was strange? Anoka County gives the Vikings until noon on Monday to contact them with some kind of reassurance that Anoka County is still THE site, and the Vikings don't even give them a call? Lester Bagley's crocodile tears over Anoka County dropping out seemed a little disingenuous after that news came out.
Having said that, Minneapolis is by far a better site, with the emphasis on the word SITE. The Strib ran a great editorial today that highlights this fact:
The location makes sense. It is publicly owned. It's already part of a downtown master plan. It has been properly zoned. It sits smack at the intersection of the state's two major interstate freeways. Its light-rail trains have demonstrated a remarkable ability to deliver fans to games -- and additional lines to St. Paul and the northwestern and southwestern suburbs are anticipated. Sewers, streets, hotels, meeting rooms and other relevant pieces of infrastructure are already in place. The adjacent Mill District is humming with riverfront redevelopment. There's plenty of land around the Dome, some of which is owned by this newspaper.
Yep, I can buy this. In fact, this sounds great. But at this point this is not my main concern. Obviously, what we should all be worried about is: who is going to pay for all of this? I think we can all agree on certain points:
- Minneapolis can't pay. They are already bearing the brunt of the Twins stadium tax and as Mark has pointed out, Minneapolis alone paying for a Vikings stadium would probably require a 1% sales tax at the least. And obviously ...
- Hennepin County can't pay. They are on the hook for the Twins stadium. There is no way a new tax gets imposed on Minneapolis or Hennepin County to pay for this.
- The state of Minnesota won't pay. First of all, the state is on the hook for a big chunk of the Gopher's stadium. And that was hard enough to pass in the legislature. I think the history of the Twins stadium debate should also shed some light on the state's willingness to pay for this kind of thing.
- What about a metro-area sales tax? By metro-area, are you talking about the 5 county area? Because you can probably knock out Anoka County from that mix. They aren't going to want to contribute to this. Not on your life. And once Anoka County starts making noise, the other counties will follow suit.
So where does that leave us? Last session the Democrats tried to tie a new stadium to a metro-wide transportation infrastructure plan. New roads, improved roads, light-rail out the wazoo, personal helicopter backpacks for all residents over the age of 21 ... the works. Personally I think the idea is great, but I wonder if T-Paw would go for it. He still has the veto, and last session he said emphatically this kind of plan was a non-starter. That was last year. Will this year be different?
What about taxes imposed on visitors like a car rental tax or a hotel tax? A bunch of stadiums were built in this fashion. I wonder if a Democratic controlled legislature will be more willing to consider these measures. And if you'll recall, the metro liquor tax expired a couple of years ago. Would they consider bringing that back to pay for this?
The way I see it, the Vikings are about $300 million short. As has already been pointed out, Zygi Wilf's $280 million contribution to the Anoka County plan was largely made up of NFL G3 loan money. Zygi is really going to have to loosen the purse strings and make a TRUE contribution to get this kind of thing off the ground. If he pledged a true $300 million from his own pocket, got another $100 million from the G3, and then sank naming rights into helping to pay for the stadium, the legislature might be willing to figure out the last $100-$150 million.
So, we shall see. I still don't think we'll see any action on this the next legislative session, but if Zygi makes a strong proposal with at least 75% private money we might finally be rid of this stadium nonsense.
Finally, here are some pictures of my visit with Floyd of Rosedale! Freealonzo and I went down to the Gopher Football Hall of Fame a couple of days ago and tracked down this famous statue.
Much like my visit with the Jug, it was really neat to see Floyd up close. And man was that thing heavy! If you watched the game last Saturday you probably noticed the Gopher seniors struggling to lift the thing over their heads. To verify its weight, I tried to just lift it up. Now, if you know me, you know that I often get mistaken for The Rock. When I see The Rock, it is like looking in a mirror. You know, dark complexion, python-like arms ... But man was that thing heavy! It was like dead-lifting a drunken Packer fan.
I know what you are thinking and no, this is not The Rock. It is me! Again, just like the Jug it is kind of slick to be around such an amazing and tangible piece of history. If my math is correct, Floyd of Rosedale is about 71 years old.
And here is a picture of me and Freealonzo. Thanks for coming along Free! Now all we need are pictures with the Axe and the Bell. I can see a couple of photo shoots happening as soon as next year!
Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!
November 20, 2006
Try that again...
More tomorrow on the nightmare that is the Vikings stadium drive. I need to sleep on it.
November 19, 2006
On Newsstands Today!
I say we start getting ready for next year.
November 17, 2006
Conversation I had in Nashville
Background: Nashville is known for having an exact replica of the Parthenon, shown above. This is a conversation I had while purchasing my ticket for a trolley tour of the city.
Me: Does the trolley pass by the Parthenon?
Ticket seller: Yes.
Me: Great. I really want to see it since I don't think I'll ever get to Greece.
Ticket seller: (looking at me like I am the biggest idiot) What does the Parthenon have to do with Greece?
A small tear slowly trickled down my face.
November 15, 2006
We are cursed to have to worry about this
This is LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans. I just saw it on a recent trip to Nashville. It is one of the most beautiful stadiums in the NFL. It was built in 1999 and financed with $149.5 million from hotel/motel taxes and surplus funds with the state providing $70 million. In addition, $55 million in bonds was needed and will be repaid through sales taxes, $12 million was needed for infrastructure and $2 million in the form of land donations. This beautiful stadium was built for the grand total of $290 million.
If you haven't heard, the Vikings are now claiming their stadium will cost $800 million. Holy cow. I don't even know how to begin to comprehend that. $800 million ... Wow. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Because as I said before, it will not get done this year. I just can't see it. So, what will the cost be next year? $900 million? $1 billion?
Let's look on the bright side. This new estimate is based on new figures of what it would cost to build a stadium in Anoka County. A stadium in Anoka County has now got to be seen as a huge long shot, almost as impossible as the Vikings winning the Super Bowl. That is because of what it would cost to build this stadium in Anoka County. According to the Strib:
And while that figure included a retractable roof that Anoka County projected to cost $115 million, Wilf said construction and operation of the roof would cost at least $200 million. Erhart's $800 million estimate, which Anoka County is trying to fine-tune before it submits stadium costs to the Vikings, includes a retractable roof.
The earlier estimate also did not include the cost of improving Interstate Hwy. 35W or other roads leading to a stadium in Blaine. Anoka County projected those infrastructure costs at $115 million -- work that Anoka County hoped could be paid for in state or federal funding.
So, can we correctly assume that without a retractable roof, and without those infrastructure costs, a stadium somewhere else would cost a more (cough, cough) reasonable $485 million? $800 - $200 -$115 = $485. For example, what if the stadium was built in Minneapolis? Perhaps even on the same land as the Metrodome? The infrastructure is certainly there already. And, just like Zygi wants, how about without a roof? Would it cost as little as $485 million then? Of course, the Vikings probably wouldn't be able to start construction until at least 2009 (when TCF stadium opens), so the costs would probably go up, but still ... $800 million?
The Vikings have already agreed to pay at least $280 million. Is it out of the question to expect them to pay, say, $300 million? I think not. Then consider this quote from the Pioneer Press:
An NFL program that has helped the development of stadiums around the league is the G-3 loan. Eight teams have received more than $600 million to help offset the initial financial burdens. The New York Jets and New York Giants are waiting to hear if their request for $300 million from the G-3 funding program will be approved.
What if the Vikings could get the same deal? Combined with Zygi's $300 million, would $600 million be enough to pay for a roofless stadium in downtown Minneapolis? I would think so. And Zygi wouldn't have to go to the state or the county to get funding. Someone tell me: why wouldn't this work? (I'll answer my own question ... the NFL probably wouldn't give the Vikings a $300 million G3 loan. The Giants and the Jets, two teams, will probably have a hard time getting that kind of cha-ching)
Because I hate to break it to you, and I've said this before, but I just don't think the Vikings will get anywhere this legislative session. I hope I'm wrong, but I just can't see it. Again, someone please tell me if I'm wrong. Quite frankly Minneapolis is the only location that makes sense for the new stadium and with the construction of the new Twins stadium there just isn't anything left for the Vikings. Anoka County can't handle the added expense of a new $800 million stadium, and as we've already seen with the Twins, the state is loathe to give up its own money for this kind of effort.
We are cursed to have to keep thinking about this. Absolutely cursed. Of course, I'll keep looking for any kind of news I can find concerning this issue, but I'm not expecting any of the news to be good for quite a while.
Unfortunately, the question must be asked: Does a new Twins stadium mean we'll be waving goodbye to the Vikings?
November 14, 2006
Overheard at Great Clips
Customer: Thanks for the haircut! Now I don't look like Quasimodo.
Stylist: What video game is that from?
Customer: No. Not a video game. You know, the Hunchback of Notre Dame. The Disney cartoon.
A small tear slowly trickled down my face.
November 12, 2006
Fire Mason? Fire Childress ...
Ugh. Have the Vikings ever been so boring? It is like watching paint dry. And this is coming from a guy who has watched the Vikings for 30 years. Our quarterback can't throw more than 30 yards, we don't have any receivers for him to throw to, our offensive line doesn't give him enough time to find these mythical receivers, and our running game is so stale that it forces us into 3rd and long situations where our offensive line can't protect our quarterback so that he doesn't have any time to find our sucky receivers. Have I missed anything?
Oh yeah, now that the Patriots have exposed our sketchy pass defense (especially up the middle) we can look forward to Joey Harrington carving us up and throwing for 300 yards. Ugh!
I can handle losing. Heck, I'm a Vikings fan. But for goodness sake please try to entertain me. Childress has built the most boring team on earth. I say bench Brad Johnson and lets start the Tavaris Jackson experiment. What do we have to lose? This is not a playoff team and he'll be starting next year anyway. Who is with me?
The best part of the game was having Cheesehead Craig over to my house to enjoy some Viking hospitality. As many of you know, Cheesehead Craig is my neighbor and he also happens to bleed green and gold. As is tradition, he comes to my house for the Vikes/Pack game at the Dome, and I go to his house for the Vikes/Pack game at Lambeau.
Anyway, Cheesehead Craig came over and we ate in grand fashion. Between the two of us we had:
8 cans of Pepsi and Mountain Dew Code Red
8 Twizzler Pull and Peels
1 11 oz. bag of Old Dutch Potato Chips
8 100 Grand mini candy bars
60 Three Meat/Supreme Totinos Pizza Rolls
I am so stuffed I could puke. I feel sick. Watching the Vikings pathetic attempts at "football" didn't help either. And to top it all off, Cheesehead Craig was dancing around all game like a fairy who just had pixie dust sprinkled all over him. It was disgusting. Stupid Vikings ...
Well, now that I have exposed my complete lack of football knowledge, let's talk about something I think I actually know about: stadiums in Minnesota. Or at least I thought I did. In the last entry on this humble blog I wrote that Margaret Anderson Kelliher was the only Minneapolis legislator that voted for the Twins stadium last May. Freealonzo immediately corrected me and said that Paul Thissen also voted in favor. So, I corrected the entry. Then, late Saturday night I got another comment that went something like this:
Actually, there were four Mpls legislators who voted for the ballpark: Margaret AK and Paul Thissen in the house, and Wes Skoglund and me in the senate. Wes retired, and the other three of us came through handily: Margaret was 80%, Paul 75% and I had 79%.
That comment was from Linda Higgins, the esteemed senator from District 58 - Minneapolis. Thank you, Linda, for the comment and thanks again for someone correcting my shoddy, slapdash writing. So, just to recap, there were 4 (four) Minneapolis legislators that voted in favor of the Twins stadium. Obviously, in my original post I was referring more to the House of Representatives, but my writing didn't reflect that very well. Needless to say, I'm not even going to attempt to count up the St. Paul legislators that voted in favor of the plan.
In addition, what I find kind of amusing about a state senator writing to correct me and take credit for the ballpark is the fact that I had the hardest time getting both senators and representatives to respond to me when I was writing them before the ballpark was approved. No one, besides those that were against the plan, would fess up to me concerning their real feelings about the ballpark. Now I've got senators coming out of the woodwork and lining up to take credit! Well, OK ... just one senator. But still! I feel like I am being blindsided! Or am I still feeling the affects of the Vikes/Pack game I just witnessed? I am so disoriented!
Finally, I was listening to Sid and Dave this morning on Washburn-Crosby Co. radio when Sid said something that made my blood chill. Sid said that he was speaking with Zygi this week who said to him something like, "The biggest mistake I ever made was saying I would never move the Vikings after I bought the team." That is like a dagger to my heart.
You know what that means? By 2011 (probably before) Zygi will start hinting that he will move the team without a new stadium. I think it is a guarantee at this point. On the bright side it may finally cause something to get done, but on the other hand it will also give me a fricken' ulcer.
People, by my estimation we are about 6-8 years away from a new stadium for the Vikings even being approved. The Vikings lease runs until 2011 and the state legislature really doesn't want to talk about stadiums right now. They are sick of it. In 2010 or 2011 Zygi will finally drop the hammer and start making threats and the legislature will start dinking around with various proposals. This will appease Zygi just enough to keep going back year after year (ala the Twins) until something finally gets approved. My guess is in 2013 we will finally have a plan.
Or Zygi can do the unthinkable. He can partner with Minneapolis for infrastructure and build his own stadium now for half of what he will spend in 2013. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that Zygi didn't get to be as rich as he is without getting what he wants.
In other words, we've got about three years to relax before Zygi starts to really tick us all off. So, let's try and enjoy them. Oh wait ... the Vikings stink. Sigh.
November 9, 2006
The Backlash continues ...
If you are anything like me (which I doubt because I am a unique and wonderful child of God/flower) you are just plain old bamboozled by Tuesday's election results. I really didn't think it would go this well. I'm bamboozled and flabbergasted. Take a look at the picture on the left. You know who that is? That is Margaret Kelliher. Margaret is the one of only two Minneapolis legislators (thanks freealonzo) that had the guts to vote in favor of the Twins stadium. And not only that, she also stuck her neck out and received more press by being a part of the stadium conference committee. While I appreciated her leadership, back in May I thought she was going to have a hard time getting reelected come November.
Well, I think we all know what happened next. Not only did she win, but she won with over 80% of the vote. And with the DFL taking control of the House, she is now poised to become Speaker of the House in Minnesota. Blink. Where is this vaunted stadium backlash we all heard about? Where is the "retribution?" Could it be that deep down inside Minnesotans are either excited about the stadium, or do they just not care?
There was one casualty of Tuesday's election that does deserve a mention, and a few of you have already spoken about this in the comments. Of course, I am referring to Dean Johnson. Now, I don't know anything about who beat him out (Gimse), but like Krinkie, Dean Johnson held a pretty important role in the Minnesota legislature, that of Senate Majority Leader, and for him to lose is a big deal. Sid Hartman was correct today to say that Zygi must be a little peeved with this development. I am also saddened to see him go. And his ouster had nothing to do with the stadium, but with Johnson's stance on issues like abortion and gay marriage. His bold faced lie concerning Minnesota Supreme Court justices probably didn't help him either.
And speaking of Zygi, what must he be thinking overall right now. I think Charley Walters summed up my feelings rather well when he wrote today:
It's premature to speculate on how Tuesday's election results could affect public support for a new Vikings stadium, but it's clear that the deal in Blaine is teetering and seems unlikely to succeed.
It also seems unlikely a Vikings stadium bill will be approved in next spring's state legislative session. The Vikings are bound to the Metrodome through the 2011 season.
Downtown Minneapolis still appears the Vikings' best bet for a new stadium by either razing or renovating the Dome. The question that remains: Who will pay for it?
The Dome site's footprint is large enough for a new stadium. The problem with a radical renovation is that the Dome is a two-level structure and most modern stadiums are three levels, and that's a major difference for luxury seating.
1) It will be shocking if a Vikings stadium is approved in the upcoming legislative session, 2) where will Zygi finally settle on (Minneapolis or Anoka County) and 3) who is going to pay. If Zygi was smart he would take a page from Philadelphia, Washington, and New England and just bite the bullet. Partner with Minneapolis (for infrastructure) and start building it himself. We shall see ...
November 8, 2006
Phil Krinkie and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year
Poor Phil Krinkie. I think it is an understatement to say that he had a bad year. Consider:
- A Twins stadium was approved
- A Gophers stadium was approved
- His $800 million tax cut plan was roundly ridiculed
- The NorthStar light rail project was approved
- He lost the Republican nomination to represent the 6th Congressional District
- And finally, on November 7, 2006 he was voted out of office
Wow, what a crappy year! What is especially amazing about this is that Phil Krinkie was a pretty powerful member of the legislature. He was chair of the extremely important House Taxes Committee. And yet his constituents voted him out. Stunning.
Hennepin County's Referendum
And on November 7, 2006, Hennepin County finally had their stadium referendum. And the results were very good.
|Opat: Victorious||McLaughlin: Victorious||Stenglein: Victorious|
A great day in Minnesota!
What a beautiful day in the great state of Minnesota. Stay tuned throughout the day as I revel in our victory!
November 7, 2006
I heard this quote a couple of days ago and found it hilariously accurate:
"If women knew what we were thinking they would never stop slapping us."
Funny stuff. I believe the comedian Larry Miller first said it.
Well, today is election day and I for one am excited about it. Today we'll finally find out if certain politicians will pay for approving that boondoggle of a Twins stadium. I for one predict small payments, if any. In fact, I would be surprised if any legislator loses his or her job over this issue. I think more people care about the big issues like health care, the war in Iraq, education, etc., and rightfully so.
What will really make my day, though, is if Mike Opat is reelected. If that happens, which I think it will, I would argue that a Vikings stadium will be that much easier to approve (whenever a decent plan is proposed). We'll see. Regardless of what the future holds, Mike Opat winning tonight would make my whole week.
Did you all see that the Foshay Tower is going to be turned into a swanky hotel? Of course, if you are interested the mighty Wikipedia has a great article on the history of what was once dubbed the first skyscraper west of the Mississippi. The article also has this fascinating tidbit of trivia:
When the building was completed, [Foshay] held a large ceremony featuring music by John Philip Sousa. Foshay even persuaded him to create a special march named "Foshay Tower-Washington Memorial March" that was only played once during Foshay's lifetime, for the opening of the Tower. Six weeks after the building's opening, Foshay's corporate empire had crumbled to dust as the Great Depression began. Ignominiously, Foshay's check to Sousa bounced, and in retaliation, Sousa prohibited the playing of the march so long as Foshay's debt to him remained outstanding. In 1999, a group of Minnesota investors repaid Foshay's debt to Sousa's estate, and the march was permitted to be played again.
I know what you are thinking ... you are thinking, "No way!" To which I would answer, "Way!" I thought that was pretty cool.
Finally, I will leave you with a discussion on what is my favorite commercial of the past five years: the Burger King commercial where the chicken wants to be a french fry. You know the one I am talking about? Hilarious. I wish they would have played it more. Makes me want to eat chicken strips. Youtube has a clip of it, but the sound is a little off. Anyway, to quote the commercial, "Maybe I DO wanna be a french fry!" Like I've said before, my friends, simple pleasures. Learn to love the simple pleasures.
That is about it.
November 2, 2006
More questions than answers
So, we've all heard by now that Zygi is looking hard at Minneapolis for his new stadium. This will either be on the land that the Metrodome sits on, or on land around the Metrodome. I've always thought that it could also mean a renovated Metrodome, but I'm not a complete idiot ... that is a long shot at best. Also it would seem with all of Zygi's comments about a stadium in Minneapolis that there will be no stadium in Anoka County. I know Zygi probably plans on bringing something to the legislature during the next session concerning Anoka County, but at this point that would just be a huge waste of time. The legislature is not going to support all this wishy-washy behavior on his part. If Zygi really wanted to build a stadium in Anoka County then he should have kept his mouth shut about Minneapolis. And if he tries to float a plan this year that focuses on Minneapolis ... well it just won't go anywhere. The legislature wants something rock solid, and Zygi is on the proverbial house made of sand. There are just too many questions.
- What does he want to build? A stadium with or without a roof? Right now Zygi is saying he wants a roofless stadium, to take advantage of Minnesota winters. Well, I don't care where he builds it, if it is roofless he is going to be building it without much public assistance. So, because of that, I consider this roofless "posturing" on Zygi's part to ultimately be another reason nothing will happen this year.
- Where is this needed public money going to come from? Zygi is again claiming that he will need governmental assistance. The public is already footing bill for a new Gopher's stadium, and Hennepin County has already stated that building a new Vikings stadium will not be a county government priority. So, again, where will this public money come from? Is there any left for a new Vikings stadium?
- If Zygi definitively decides to build an open air stadium, how much will it cost? Consider that by building in Minneapolis Zygi won't need much of any road improvements (like Anoka County did with 35W). Would it be enough public assistance for Zygi to just get the Metrodome land for free? Probably not, but I seriously wonder if that isn't part of the plan.
- And how real is the "move to LA" threat that Red McCombs wielded so effectively? I would argue that this threat is nothing more than a scary joke. Zygi has yet to play this card, but it is only a matter of time. Consider, though, that in the fraternity of NFL owners, Zygi is the newest of the newcomers. Consider also that the LA market is hugely profitable, especially if LA builds a new stadium or renovates the Rose Bowl. Do you really think this old boys club is going to give Zygi, the new kid on the block, the LA market? Not on your life. Zygi is wise not to talk about this.
So, what is Zygi going to do? What should he do? Sooner rather than later he will (he should) throw the towel in regarding Anoka County. He has already shot himself in the foot there. He should then propose a plan where the city of Minneapolis either gives him or sells him the Metrodome for a $1, and then he should immediately propose a plan where he begins construction on a new, open air stadium for the Vikings in 2011. He should propose to pay for the stadium himself, with the state/county picking up the costs of infrastructure. By 2011 the Vikings can play home games at TCF Bank Stadium. All in all, with the idea that he can get the Metrodome land for almost nothing, he should be able to build an open air stadium for between $300-350 million. Since his contribution to the Anoka County plan was going to be around $280 million, I would think something like $330 million would be doable.
Now this is all being written by a guy that is pretty ignorant of what it takes to build an NFL stadium these days. However, again, if Zygi wants an open-air stadium, he is going to have to build it himself. If you've got any other insights, please feel free to share.