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March 16, 2007

Don't worry about it

Don't worry about the ballpark situation. It won't help. I must say I feel a certain sense of liberation right now over the whole thing. First of all there is nothing we can do. Secondly, and I've said this before, if the Twins let this slip away they deserve their fate.

Also, Charley Walters (and I know we have to take his words with a grain of salt) said just today:

Landowners of the Twins' downtown Minneapolis ballpark site continue to seek what Hennepin County and the Twins consider an exorbitant price, and it's becoming likely that some form of a land condemnation process will be required to move the project forward. That would mean the Twins probably would restructure their deal with the county. And, ultimately, that would mean Carl Pohlad, who returned Wednesday night from spring training, could bail the county out financially. Discussions continue.

People are talking on both sides. If they don't figure this out there is nothing we can do about it. Having said that, there is way too much money at stake for them not to figure this out.

I feel good. I feel free. It is out of our hands. The Twins will step up. It is their only choice. And if they don't I may actually laugh about it. They will be pouring $350 million right down the drain. They aren't that stupid.

Posted by snackeru at March 16, 2007 8:07 PM

Comments

Unless he was recently cloned, I believe this is the same Carl Pohlad who some years ago, to generate support for a ballpark, threatened to sell the team to a phantom buyer in North Carolina. He was also the one several years later who offered to make a "contribution" toward the building of a ballpark which actually turned out to be a loan.

More than anything, it’s his acts and people’s mistrust of him that has caused this to go on for 11 years.

I would not be so quick to assume that he’ll now “do the right thing? and bail out the county, at least not without exacting a substantial price for doing so.

At this point I have to give Comm. Opat credit for not moving ahead with condemnation. He shouldn’t do a thing until he has a signed commitment in hand and assurance that this doesn’t have to go back to the legislature.

There is now far more pressure on the Twins than on the county since, as you say, the Twins have the most to lose or gain.

Posted by: Ray at March 16, 2007 8:40 PM

Ray, after I posted this entry I got an email from someone deep inside the negotations which said, and I will paraphrase, that my analysis is "spot on." He also said they made "very good progress" this week during negotiations, and negotiations will continue next week.

Pohlad could choose to shoot himself in the foot, as you have pointed out. He could also try to blame it on us, or politicians. But he would be wrong. The ball is clearly now in his court. Somehow they are working out how he will get his in the end, to be sure, but it won't be costing us anything extra. The people of Hennepin County have made their contribution.

It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out, and I am very confident it will shake out.

Posted by: Shane at March 16, 2007 8:54 PM

As you can surmise from my previous post, I don’t have much in the way of feelings other than disdain toward Mr. Pohlad, at least for his previous attempts to get the public to support his efforts to build a ballpark. I think his clumsy actions have betrayed the fans who support the team and have generated a lot of the current opposition to the ballpark.

While people like yourself are working in relative anonymity to support the Twins and the ballpark efforts, it would be an insult to everyone if he were to emerge from the negotiations as the person who saved the Twins for Minnesota.

Although I have never been a supporter of the ballpark under its current terms, I can at least admire the efforts of those like you who are.

I feel that if the Twins decide to step back from making a contribution to finalize the deal, this should come to a quick end and they should leave the area. The county and the public have done more than their share to pay for a ballpark and should not be asked to contribute anything more.

Posted by: Ray at March 16, 2007 9:41 PM

Agreed. It almost makes me happy that there is a $90 million cap on the infrastructure knowing Pohlad may have to contribute more.

If you'll recall, the Ventura/Sausen plan of 2002 (otherwise known as the arbitrage scheme) called for the Twins to contribute $165 million. I have always thought that was a more appropriate contribution. This is especially true considering the Gophers are privately financing 65% of their stadium.

If Pohlad steps up and "bridges the gap" I will consider it nothing more than him realizing the gig is up. He can't squeeze anymore out of the public and has to step up in order to make all the money this stadium is sure to generate.

Having said all of this, I have also tried to be pragmatic in all of this. As I said in the previous post, I never really cared about Pohlad and his billions or how much money he would make. Pohald will always be rich. I wanted the stadium for me.

Posted by: Shane at March 16, 2007 9:59 PM

i just want to see what this thing will actually look like. they've been keeping the lid on the design from the fans for too long while advertising new ballpark priority seating. the season starts in a couple weeks, i'd like to have some sort of resolution by then.

Posted by: mullen at March 17, 2007 12:06 AM

Shane - what part of your analysis is "spot on?" I didn't even see an "analysis" other than the representation that the Twins have too much to lose to let this deal fall apart. That's not analysis; that's just an observation and the existence of this doesn't make a resolution any more probable.

Too much money is relative. How much is too much for a billionaire? By our assessment, shortly after this stadium opens, Pohlad will have nothing invested. Had he been asked to invest ANYTHING for longer than a couple of years, this deal would be dead. I suspect the bulk of the negotiations right now revolve around; IF Pohland "back stops" the county in their condemnation, How and when will he get his "bridge loan" back.

He's not interested in "investing" anything, for any length of time, in this ballpark.

Posted by: Kaz at March 17, 2007 9:33 AM

and that isn't analysis either, it's opinion and conjecture. that's what all of this is. it's only after a resolution to all of this that we can truly play monday morning quarterback. everyone comes to this, as with all issues, with their personal bias. you don't have any idea about the team's financial stake in this re-worked deal than anyone else here. unless of course, you're a lawyer at the negotiating table.

Posted by: mullen at March 17, 2007 10:38 AM

I didn't represent my opinion as "analysis" either.

You have an uncanny ability to point out the obvious.

Posted by: Kaz at March 17, 2007 10:52 AM

Also; my "opinion" is based on actions, not what the parties have said.

Pohlad, by his actions, has resisted investing any meaningful dollars for any length of time, throughout this process. Why would he change now? how do you instill the "fear of loss" in a billionaire?

Posted by: Kaz at March 17, 2007 10:55 AM

I marvel at why people care so much about (hate) Carl Pohlad in this. The man is 90-something years old and may well be dead before the first pitch in this stadium. If he gets this stadium maybe he'll be worth 1.4 billion when he dies. If you proud Minnesotans who hate him so much rise up and tell him to go to hell maybe he'll be worth 1.2 billion. Who cares? This isn't about him and never has been.

This is about whether or not having the Twins is a good thing for Minnesota. If you agree that it is, then building the stadium is a good thing. Other cities have dictated for us that having professional sports teams requires facilities that are partially publicly funded. That may not be right, but it is the reality. If you want to be mad at someone, be mad at them.

Anyway, I'm glad it's happening and I'm certainly not sad for the Pohlad's that they have to kick in a bit more. They've screwed this up many time and and in many ways and they have to step up.

Posted by: David Howe at March 17, 2007 11:36 AM

David H: Amen Brother!

Posted by: freealonzo at March 17, 2007 12:05 PM

what actions mr. know-it-all? have you gone through the ballpark deal documents? right, i thought not.

Posted by: mullen at March 17, 2007 12:21 PM

I'm sure the Vikings would be more than happy to use the $350M if this can't be resolved.

Posted by: Justin C. at March 17, 2007 12:43 PM

Kaz (Penny), you say; "By our assessment, shortly after this stadium opens, Pohlad will have nothing invested. Had he been asked to invest ANYTHING for longer than a couple of years, this deal would be dead."
1] Who is "our assessment"?
2} What does your assessment say?
3] Who authorized" our assessment".

You sure sound like someone with an ax to grind and the Twins are the grinder. Turn your ax to the HC board who as a group have messed this entire process up. People in other MLB cities are laughing at them (and not just O-Putz)as an example of government ineptness at it's best.

Posted by: Jimmy Jack at March 17, 2007 12:54 PM

I've ground my axe on Oputz and the County board plenty. Their comedy of errors started when they took LP2 at their word as "willing sellers." Living proof that they were outmaned in the brains department on this deal.

mullen - how old are you? 12? Actions have nothing to do with whats written in the ballpark documents. It has to do with whats been displayed and witnessed by everybody for the past 10 years.

My "opinion" isn't hatred for Pohlad, just an acknowledgement that a man is the sum of his actions. He has done more to prevent and avoid investing in this deal than he has stepped up to make it happen. That's all. And if it falls apart, like Shane said, he gets what he deserves.

Posted by: Kaz at March 17, 2007 1:23 PM

twins would've left in 1984 without the old codger and his money. no two world series to celebrate and feel good about as a community. you can say what you want about the twins organziation, but they've provided winning baseball, not every year to be sure, but in the insane business that is major league baseball, they've managed to keep their head above water against the large markets. no i'm not 12, just an optimist. have a great weekend kaz.

Posted by: mullen at March 17, 2007 4:21 PM

Penny, oops, Kaz, you say, "I've ground my axe on Oputz and the County board plenty. Their comedy of errors started when they took LP2 at their word as "willing sellers." Living proof that they were outmaned in the brains department on this deal".

Their comedy of errors did not start with this deal. This is just an example of they wanting something for next to nothing because they did not plan or budget properly. I can name many other deals where the HC board demonstrated their lack of brains with some HC board members more than others showing they were outmanned in the brains department. But then again, look what they started with.

Posted by: Jimmy Jack at March 17, 2007 6:51 PM

Whats your point? HC commissioners are dumb? evidenced many ways in addition to the current debacle? I wouldn't disagree with that.

Posted by: Kaz at March 17, 2007 6:56 PM

Kaz, "what's my point?". Please answer my earlier questions or are you just making up stuff again? Here they are one more time;
1] Who is "our assessment"?
2} What does your assessment say?
3] Who authorized" our assessment".


Posted by: Jimmy Jack at March 17, 2007 8:06 PM

I hope all you stadium heads are prepared to support your club on opening day 2010. The forecast for opening day this year is a high of 52 and a low of 38. Dress warm!!!! hahahahahahaha

Posted by: phil at March 17, 2007 8:07 PM

Phil, I would say that's a pretty good day when we can watch Twins baseball outdoors again no matter the temp.

Posted by: Jimmy Jack at March 17, 2007 8:27 PM

52 and a low 38 sounds fine to me...anyone else have a huge problem with this early april temp?

Posted by: Phil Smells at March 17, 2007 8:44 PM

what a joke. you won't be there and if you are - you'll be with 2 other people and a hot dog vendor

April/May and Sept the average twins home attendance will be 3! hahahahahahahahahahhaha

Posted by: phil at March 17, 2007 10:13 PM

JJ-

1.)Me, John Q. Public and the citizens of Hennepin County.

2.)It's been established everywhere that the Twins revenue will increase at least 40M a year after the new stadium is built. Namining rights and suite sales should pretty much guaranty Pohlad his "investment" back in less than 2 years.

3.)The common sense commission

Posted by: Kaz at March 17, 2007 10:40 PM

Kaz, Thanks. I was really worried that your sources for your opinions were the HC commissioners or another really "reliable" source.
Please don't say the "common sense comission" is a government person because then it would be an oxymoron, right?

Posted by: Jimmy Jack at March 18, 2007 11:32 AM

No no no. With the extra $40mm, the Twins will increase their payroll.

The Twins won't ever be a top 10 payroll team, but I think that with the new stadium, and revenues generated that they can keep Santana for as long they want to.

Posted by: Drake33 at March 19, 2007 2:49 AM

Um...I'm guessing Phil isn't a native Minnesotan or he'd know that 52 degrees is T-shirt weather around here? Sheesh. :-)

Posted by: Mark Snyder at March 19, 2007 12:47 PM

"It's been established everywhere that the Twins revenue will increase at least 40M a year after the new stadium is built. Namining rights and suite sales should pretty much guaranty Pohlad his "investment" back in less than 2 years."

Where is this everywhere of which you speak?

The highest naming rights deal in baseball is $6 million a year (including pouring rights for Coke) at Minute Maid Park in Houston. And the rest run in the $1 to $2 million range.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/sportsbusiness/news/story?page=stadiumnames

Assuming the Twins get $2 million for naming rights, that is $38 million for suites! Really? With maybe 75-100 suites at the max of $100 to $150K given the current market (see below). I think that is just a *ittle* bit short of the hypothetical $40 million that has been "established everywhere." But please, do not let the facts get in you way, just resume your ranting.

http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB117167181660611755-SFGfzwRfbZzKz6B0VZ_ktSedtis_20070318.html

Posted by: pragmatic_cynic at March 19, 2007 1:53 PM

Pragmatic,

Just jumping into the conversation, but the $40 million figure actually came from Twins prez Dave St. Peter himself:

"St. Peter told City Pages that he expects the Twins to increase revenues by $40 million a year in the new ballpark" (http://citypages.com/databank/26/1275/article13266.asp)

City Pages anaylzed more than just naming rights and suites, of course, and if the Twins were claiming a $40 million increase in revenues almost two years ago, that's probably a more than reasonable starting point today.

But don't let these facts get in the way of your facts.

Posted by: spycake at March 19, 2007 7:52 PM

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