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February 22, 2007

Just a couple of tidbits

First of all, once again thanks to all the commenters to this site that have helped us all understand better just what is going on. I certainly appreciate all of your thoughts and feedback.

Now to the business at hand. I have been informed that a very important meeting will be happening tomorrow. This meeting could help determine if Hennepin County will have enough money to bridge the gap should they decide to carry through on condemnation. In other words, we could be getting some good news or some bad news tomorrow. I say could because this meeting is one of those happening "behind closed doors" so who knows if the media will be involved. Of course, I will pursue any news on the outcomes of this meeting that I can get my hands on.

Lastly, David Howe has pointed out this recent tidbit from Shooter over at the Pioneer Press:

"Make no mistake: Twins owner Carl Pohlad is not going to be enticed into coughing up more money to resolve Hennepin County's downtown Minneapolis ballpark land mess.

Meanwhile, the Twins and the new Ballpark Authority are closing in on a 30-year lease."

This seems to contradict other statements we've read that suggest the Twins may be willing to help, but not to expect them to give the County a blank check.

I just want to say that if this deal falls through and the Twins sit back and watch it fail because they don't want to contribute another $10-$15 million, I say good riddens to them. If they can pay Torii Hunter $12 million this year but nothing extra to ensure their long term viability in this market through a new ballpark, then they deserve their fate.

There are certainly other entities that can help bridge the gap in terms of the condemnation process and how it values the land. In fact, I think we are going to begin to hear some creative ways to bridge the gap (hopefully tomorrow). But the Twins could easily make this all go away. I can understand that they want to lay low right now, but at some point they may need to step up. If they don't, I will help them pack.

I'll probably write some more tonight.

Posted by snackeru at February 22, 2007 7:20 AM

Comments

Not to read too much into the tea leaves, but Friday meetings often mean bad news: schedule late in the week and get out of dodge before the #$%! hits the (baseball) fan.

On the other hand, if a resolution has been reached, maybe they want to get the news out ASAP.

Geez, I don't know. This has my head spinning. I think I'll go on a 2 week bender in Vegas and find out what happened when I sober up in mid March...

Posted by: tato at February 22, 2007 9:40 AM

yep, i agree, it's pretty clear. it's nearly march, how long are is the chief benefactor of the public's good will, the twins, going to "lay low". it either gets done in the next few weeks or it doesn't and like u shane, i will bid them a fond farewell and say thanks for the memories. i'm not interested in reading spring training stories until this issue is resolved. i don't care about how mauer's going to spend his money or if they twins will sign morneau to a long-term deal. baseball is fantasy, a game, and until there is a plan to buy the site, it might as well be monopoly money they are playing with because in a couple years the team will be playing in another city or dissolved.

Posted by: mullen at February 22, 2007 10:00 AM

I just had an epiphany as to why all of this crap is happening. Last October, I went out and spent well over $100 on a "classic" Twins coat - leather sleeves and the whole bit. I thought, "Hey, they'll be around for the next 30 years because of the new stadium, right?" Now it all makes sense. I'll have an expensive Twins that I'll be too bitter to wear.

I knew I should have bought that Wild coat instead!

Posted by: Jeff T. at February 22, 2007 10:29 AM

Curses on you Jeff! You and your desire to look hip and stylish may have cost us a ballpark!

You ruined it for everyone!

Posted by: Shane at February 22, 2007 10:33 AM

Of course if I would have bought the Wild coat, the NHL would fold.

Posted by: Jeff T. at February 22, 2007 11:07 AM

Studies have statistically shown that there's less chance of an incident if you do it at the end of the week.

Posted by: Aaron at February 22, 2007 11:08 AM

I have heard that before and think you guys are looking too much into this. The studies you are referring to are in an office setting with coworkers. Although these guys are working together towards common goal, I wouldn't consider them coworkers working in the same office.

Posted by: MOJO at February 22, 2007 11:19 AM

Kupchella is back on Kfan right now

Posted by: MOJO at February 22, 2007 11:27 AM

Sheesh, do you think Kare 11's sudden extreme interest in this has anything to do with Sweeps?

Anyway, it's good to hear that something will happen soon. Does anyone know when the 18% provision kicks in on sale of the team? If Pohlad does not want to step up here, he should just sell. I think Glen Taylor or others would be more then happy to step in and make this happen in exchange for a shiny new stadium.

Posted by: D Howe at February 22, 2007 11:33 AM

MOJO, can you give us a recap?

Thanks!

Posted by: Erik at February 22, 2007 11:33 AM

He only talked for a few minutes and there was nothing new.

I think he has become the TV "expert" so to speak. Seems like everyone wants to talk to him.

Shane... I think you should start doing TV interviews...the public would learn much more.

Posted by: MOJO at February 22, 2007 11:37 AM

I'm not going to get riled up about any speculation from Charley Walters. Did a little birdie tell him that?

Posted by: SBG at February 22, 2007 12:35 PM

the second nugget about the lease negotiations is accurate. his first comment is just conjecture. he's speculating and pulling things out of his ass. but if the twins want to go back to the legislature, good luck, it's the team's funeral. according to the timeline, the county board was supposed to approve the final lease terms with the team by end of this month.

Posted by: mullen at February 22, 2007 12:47 PM

You quip that if they (the Twins) can pay Hunter 12 million per year they can cough up 10 - 15 million to help out.

Others less inclined to get caught up watching grown men play a children's game for millions would ask:

"If they can pay Tori Hunter 12 million per year why can't they BUILD THEIR OWN STADIUM!"

Posted by: mark at February 22, 2007 1:47 PM

Could a corporation step in and bridge this gap in exchange for naming rights?

I was just wondering since I haven't seen idea tossed around before.

(Thanks for the great site. I've learned boat loads.)

Posted by: Kup at February 22, 2007 2:12 PM

Mark, blow itout your a**, that argument is SSSSSSSSSSOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OLD!

Posted by: Lucha Libre at February 22, 2007 2:16 PM

Lucha. It may be ssssssssoooooo old.......but
it is 100% right.

Say goodbye to watching grown men play a children's game in a new stadium.

Posted by: mark at February 22, 2007 2:29 PM

arguments from 1997 alert! arguments from 1997 alert! incoming trolls!

Posted by: mullen at February 22, 2007 3:01 PM

Mark, you have every right to your opinion. What I don't understand is why you (and people who share your opinion) get so much satisfaction out of the idea of forcing the Twins to move away and out of 'sticking it' to Carl Pohlad. I personally have no use for the Guthrie theatre and would prefer if my tax dollars had not helped fund it's move. If given a chance to vote on this in a referendum I'd have noted NO. Yet I was never terribly upset over this, and I certainly would get no perverse pleasure out of seeing the Guthrie pull up and move to Portland.

Posted by: DHowe at February 22, 2007 3:01 PM

I have grown more confused about something over the last couple of days. Let's say the Twins (or some other entity) decides to step in and pay the difference between HCC's offer of 13 million and the amount the district court comes back with after holding condemnation proceedings. Does that amount that the Twins would pay count toward the 90 million infrastructure (etc.) cap?

I have not specifically looked at the legislation, but it seems as though some believe that ANY price paid for the land, no matter who is on the hook for it, counts against that 90 million amount. If that is the case, then what does it matter if HCC pays for the entire amount or if another entity helps out?

Posted by: Jenga at February 22, 2007 3:39 PM

Jenga, the County is limited to $90 million of their own money. If the Twins chip in a few more million it will not count against that cap.

You are right, if that is not the case then we shouldn't even worry about this anymore. The County just wouldn't have enough money period.

Posted by: Shane at February 22, 2007 4:05 PM

After reading this story, LPII still look like greedy a**holes. What a bunch of scheming scumbags, good look getting lots of money with your condos next to the grabage burner, yeah right!
http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/local/16752161.htm

Posted by: Lucha Libre at February 22, 2007 5:41 PM

LL,
Once again you are demonstating the same level of objectivity and truthfulness as "O-Putz" and the county. This could be why we have no deal this far down the path.

Posted by: Jimmy Jack at February 22, 2007 5:50 PM

"The two sides in the negotiations are still not talking, said Aron Kahn, a former reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer Press working as a consultant for the landowners."

Why!? Honestly tell me why there are no discussions going on.

Posted by: Erik at February 22, 2007 6:13 PM

I was just thinking about this tidbit from Shane's recap a few days ago:

During the legislative stadium battle in April 2006, the House Taxes Committee limits stadium infrastructure and land acquisition to $90 million. Krinkie must still be really proud of this.

You know, I wouldn't put the blame on the Legislature for this. It's a reasonable provision to limit the county's financial obligation, especially given there exists some public contention with the bill regardless. If, say, the site was found to be contaminated with the remains of Timberwolves point guards and removal would cost $100 million alone, we might be glad this provision exists. It really just exists to prevent a boondoggle from developing.

Furthermore, I doubt that the Taxes Committee just pulled this $90 million figure out of thin air. I assume that was the estimated infrastructure costs according to the county. Now, if that figure was based on the expired 2003-2004 land purchase agreement, or this year's relatively low-ball offer, then the county definitely deserves a ton of blame in this. I understand that they wanted to present minimal costs to get the bill passed, but their apparent awareness of the unknowns involved should have prompted the County to submit a higher infrastructure figure, a "range" of potential infrastructure costs, and/or include language that a semi-flexible infrastructure cap would be necessary under certain circumstances.

I don't know why I just thought about this... just biding my time for Shane's next big announcement, I suppose.

Posted by: spycake at February 22, 2007 7:01 PM

MOJO, did you miss it last spring? Shane's already got his foot in the door at WCCO TV:

http://blog.lib.umn.edu/snackeru/greet/2006/04/26/back_to_work.html

Kupchella's got nothing on this dude.

Posted by: spycake at February 22, 2007 7:04 PM

Couldn't agree more with Shane here.

If the Twins aren't willing to kick in, I'll go as far as to say, an extra $40Million, they can go ahead and leave.

That said, I understand that they need to play hardball and not give in to the LPII a**holes. But if this thing falls through over 10 or 20 million that's ridiculous.

Like someone else said...if that were the case why wouldn't Carl Pohlad just sell the team to an owner that would gladly kick in an extra chunk of money for a new stadium?

Perhaps the fans should have a hostile takeover of the Twins!!! ;) If that were only possible.

Posted by: mlb2131 at February 22, 2007 7:19 PM

aron kahn is working as a consultant for the landowners? um, ok. maybe they'll hire nick coleman next. he can moonlight for them on days when he's not writing the same three columns about the same three topics. they must think their PR image needs work. i thought they didn't care.

Posted by: mullen at February 22, 2007 7:42 PM

some more interesting tidbits:
http://ballparkdigest.com/

Posted by: mullen at February 22, 2007 8:16 PM

There will be a piece on this on chanel 5 10 o'clock news tonight.

Posted by: ralph the dog at February 22, 2007 9:03 PM

There will be a piece on this on channel 5 10 o'clock news tonight.

Posted by: ralph the dog at February 22, 2007 9:03 PM

I can hardly wait until Pogin and Lambrect build "The Grand Central Station of Minneapolis" on the Rapid Park site so I can take the Light Rail to Shinders. Boy, will that be fun.

Posted by: Jeff T. at February 22, 2007 9:49 PM

The debate that just keeps going and going, and..

Posted by: Lucha Libre at February 22, 2007 10:11 PM

Ralph...or someone...

You mind giving us a recap of KSTP's report?

Thanks!

Posted by: Erik at February 22, 2007 10:14 PM

Does anyone think that the twins will still get a stadium after all of this? every day it seems more and more unlikely. i really hope they do.

Posted by: troy at February 22, 2007 10:17 PM

JJ, These scumbags knew all along that they could toy with the county, and with Twins fans, and despite what RK reported, they were celebrating at the Rapid Park site. For someone to say that LPII are just innocent mesunderstood victims is beyond B.S. I personally can't see that garbage burner site going beyond 20 Million dollars. Who wants to live in a condo next to a Garbage incinerator? These people are either scumbags or delusional, there's just no getting around it.

Posted by: Lucha Libre at February 22, 2007 10:19 PM

so lucha libre doesnt think so then?

Posted by: troy at February 22, 2007 10:25 PM

Okay, it's happening again, I can't seen any posts past my last one, yet I know that people have posted since because there are more posts counted.

Posted by: Lucha Libre at February 22, 2007 10:41 PM

Spycake

It's funny you mention the WCCO interview...that is actually how I learned of this fantastic website. I think Shane should do more of it!

Posted by: MOJO at February 22, 2007 10:48 PM

KSTP's report is that the dispute is between the $23 million the county originally offered and the $13 million they're offering now due to the condition of the soil. The landowner's say the soil is fine. They sent a letter to the county on Monday offering to settle the dispute in court or with an arbitrator. Opat calls it 'backnoise' and says if they really want a stadium, make a counter-offer.

This is the first time I've heard the issue framed solely as a dispute over the condition of the soil. It's also the first time I've heard $23 million tossed out in this debate. If the landowners really would accept $23 million (that was never explicity said in the report) then this really is ridiculous. Either cut a deal or condemn and get going on this thing.

Posted by: David Howe at February 23, 2007 1:49 AM

The channel 5 story is available on kstp.com. I agree with David - they made it sound like a $10 million dispute over the condition of the soil. It's worth watching.

Posted by: Jeff T. at February 23, 2007 6:53 AM

Most Minnesotan's now believe Carl Pohlad should build his own stadium, that sticking it to Hennepin County taxpayers was a mistake, and that Tim Pawlenty won his stadium vote with favors he passed out to key legislatures.

All so he (Pawlenty) could be seen standing in a wannabee baseball uniform alongside Carl Pohlad taking credit for building a God awful stadium for 200,000 fans with someone else's money.

Posted by: mark at February 23, 2007 7:17 AM

oh thanks bud, for speaking for all minnesotans. i see you're in the polling business now.

Posted by: mullen at February 23, 2007 8:17 AM

Ok, now that we have heard the latest "O-Putz" which now refers to problems with the land, why not agree on the price, get a soil expert in a room today, put him under oath. If he says there are no soil problems worth $10MM, then sign the docs and start shoveling. if he says there are, then the county has really screwed this up to have something as basic as the soil be brought to the forefront at the 14th hour and should have no business spending our money. If true, then there is something to be said about one of the world's great lies, "I'm from the government and I am here to help".

Posted by: Jimmy Jack at February 23, 2007 8:38 AM

The whole "O-Putz" name calling is getting really old and quite frankly, Childish. I personally believe it doesn't matter what happens from here on out. People just want to throw Opat under the "Bus" and blame everything on him. Nice..........

Posted by: JBN at February 23, 2007 12:29 PM

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