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April 25, 2007

Hodgepodge

• Discussion topics for today:

1. The Twins pitching rotation is beginning to tick me off. I can handle Bonser pitching erratically, but Santana? That is upsetting. So, assuming that Ponson's days are numbered, who would you bring up to replace him?

Garza or Slowey?

2. 1776.jpg I'm reading 1776 by David McCollough right now. It is an enjoyable book. Obviously 1776 was an important year for America, but quite frankly most Americans don't know much about it besides the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The book details the military campaigns of that year including the bloodless defense of Boston (by taking the Dorchester Heights under the cloak of night) and the Battle of Long Island where Washington made the most celebrated retreat in the history of warfare. Yes, retreat. Anyway, good book.

What are you reading? Anything good?

3. The Vikings draft is this weekend and I will definitely tune in for their first pick. In order, I would like the Vikings to draft one of these players:

  1. Adrian Peterson
  2. Brady Quinn
  3. LaRon Landry

If none of these players are available at 7, I say trade down and stock up. Any thoughts?

4. And speaking of the Vikings, I was absolutely flummoxed by their stadium design unveiling. Bamboozled. Here I thought moving the plans to downtown Minneapolis, razing the Metrodome, and building on that land might actually save money! How naive can I be?

I have a lot of thoughts running around in my head about this. For example, my immediate thought is that Zygi should have stayed in Anoka County because at least he had a partner there. Now he has to hope for a metro-wide sales tax that will surely be subject to a referendum AND Anoka County will fight tooth and nail to defeat it after how shabbily Zygi treated them.

I've said this many, many times before but the only hope the Vikings have right now for new digs is if they 1) renovate the Metrodome (I think the legislature would throw money at them) or 2) if Zygi contributes at least 70% of the cost. Right now, neither of these are even remotely going to happen.

So, much like the Twins stadium debacle, we've got about 10 years more to wait before a stadium solution presents itself. Sometime around 2011-2012 Zygi will start threatening a move to LA. Then, and only then, will we start seeing some action on this.

Thoughts?

Posted by snackeru at April 25, 2007 7:31 AM

Comments

I can't imagine that Zygi is that stupid. Either he knows there is no way he'll get the money it would take to build the complex they unveiled and already has plans for a cheaper version, which he'll pull out and say "hey, I'll do you all a favor, you can give us less money and we'll build this stadium instead". It's easier to negotiate down than up.
Or, he has some serious investors lined up that will make a ton of money if the retail built around the stadium does well, which I think it would.

Posted by: Jimmy at April 25, 2007 9:14 AM

What are some other creative ways to pay for Zygi's dream stadium? Parking revenue? Retail development? TIF? I guess my question is, why isn't Zygi going with any of these possibilities today? Right now? Is it because they just won't work or is Zygi that stupid?

Posted by: Shane at April 25, 2007 9:19 AM

Actually, I know Zygi isn't stupid. He will just be patient and wait until he can convince the legislature to help him build it. It is inevitable.

Posted by: Shane at April 25, 2007 9:34 AM

Ziggy is simply too arrogant to believe that the legislature will rightfully say no to this plan.

Posted by: Telemachus at April 25, 2007 9:53 AM

1. Scott Baker(!)
2. Last 60 pages of At Canaan's Edge
3. Whoever has Type O Blood (what, Mel Kiper, Jr. hasn't broken players down by blood-type yet?)
4. Pass

Posted by: Will Young at April 25, 2007 9:55 AM

What plan? These are just pictures and a pricetag.

Posted by: Shane at April 25, 2007 9:55 AM

The Vikes plan was simply an ice breaker. This is a dance done in all communities prior to getting a deal done. Zygi wasn't expecting anything this year, with the bad taste in everyone's mouth after the Twinkies deal. Lightening struck for the Twinkies last year. He knows its too soon and he knows he's obligated to the Metro dome until 2011. This will obviously get more serious next year and probably get done in 2009.

Posted by: PurpleNurple at April 25, 2007 10:04 AM

Shane,

According to my source, the $675M proposal in Anoka County would not have been feasible after the first year of failing to get it approved. That number continued to be used, but it wasn't realistic. They also had $115M in the plan to realign the freeways adjacent to the site, so the real estimate in Anoka County for the entire project was always $790M. Apparently, with the wetlands issues up there as well, the project cost was about the same as the current Minneapolis number. All that being said, they did have a willing financial partner in Anoka County...which they now lack. And, without a partner, they will be without a stadium.

Zygi simply intends to keep coming back until they get approval...which could take a long time. This is the precise reason that they continue to study the State Fairgrounds site, because it would present fewer issues (CJ's and my recent comments notwithstanding), and could include a financial partner in Ramsey County or the city of St. Paul.

Or, maybe they could build a stadium that is half in St. Paul and half in Mpls. They could have the 50-yard line right on the border. We could build it on stilts over the river. Then, they could try and get money from a half-dozen sources!!!

Posted by: Derek at April 25, 2007 10:05 AM

Almost forgot;

1.) LaRon Landry (remember Joey Browner!)
2.) Either DE (Adams or Anderson)
3.) Adrian Peterson (Chester who?)

Posted by: PurpleNurple at April 25, 2007 10:07 AM

Couple of thoughts: It will be interesting to see what power Vikings fans can wield over the legislature. Quite frankly, there are a lot more Viking fans out there than Twins fans. In other words, if the Twins can get a stadium built with the help of all the fan whining, then surely the cacophony of Viking fan noise will have an impact.

The State Fairgrounds are a non-starter as far as I'm concerned. The State Fair board has already made it quite clear they will not entertain this idea even for a second. I personally think it makes a lot of sense, but it appears the State Fair governing body has enough power to just say no.

I still think 2009 is optimistic to see a plan get done. I'm not saying that wouldn't make me happy, I just can't see it. It all depends on the plan.

Posted by: Shane at April 25, 2007 10:11 AM

Wait a minute PurpleNurple! You would take Landry over Peterson? Here is my thinking on the issue ... the Vikings need an offensive star to start building fan interest again. In fact, I think it is important for their stadium drive. Landry would be a good pick, but the fans need someone to get excited about. Zygi had better start seeing that. That is why Peterson would be my pick (if he is available, unlikely I know).

Posted by: Shane at April 25, 2007 10:15 AM

1. Garza, though I think Slowey should be next if Boof doesn't step it up.

2. Just finished "Memorial Day" by Vince Flynn and now have to decide if I want to move on to "Consent to Kill" or take a break from Mitch Rapp and switch gears to "The Hardcore Diaries" by Mick Foley.

3. I would say AP if he's on the board, otherwise a DE. Landry sounds good, but the Vikes have something like five or six good options at safety already, so unless he's better than all of them, it seems like overkill given the more obvious needs elsewhere.

4. Until there's a plan unveiled to pay for a new Vikings stadium, the rest of it is pretty much moot, I think, but I'm not a fan of moving the Vikings to the Fairgrounds at all.

Posted by: Snyder at April 25, 2007 10:26 AM

2. Coincidentally, I'm reading "The Power Broker" about Robert Moses, the New York urban planner who is basically responsible for all of the modern parks and "parkways" on Long Island (among other things).

Where Washington retreated, Moses waged war!

Posted by: spycake at April 25, 2007 10:43 AM

1. I'd go with Garza in for Ponson. Regarding Santana, its April so I'm not worried about him as its pretty typical for him to start slow. I was a tad surprised last night when he plunked Martinez after Hafner's shot, and then with hitting Hafner later in the game. I kind of like that. I'm surprised Cleveland didn't retaliate at some point.

2. Shane - have you read John Adams by McCullough? I'm reading that at the moment and will move onto 1776 after I've finished. I've heard that reading John Adams before 1776 helps a little. Curious as to what you thought about that.

3. Stadium looks nice, good luck Zygi. By the time the thing gets approved, it will be $1.5 billion. I remember being shocked at how much the Cowboys new stadium cost (I think its a shade under $1 billion). With knowing the details of the features in that stadium, Zygi's stadium better be damn impressive to justify a similiar price. Maybe personal replay systems at every seat.

Posted by: IowaWigman at April 25, 2007 11:14 AM

Robert Moses was one seriously powerful dude. The guy brought mayors and governors to their knees and pretty much destroyed his own brother. That was one of the better biographies I have ever read.

I was not a huge John Adams fan. The book was decent, but not nearly as well-written as Truman, The Great Bridge, or The Path Between the Seas. It seemed like McCullough was just phoning it in and just reprinting John and Abigail's diaries extensively rather than telling a story... my two cents...

Posted by: Will Young at April 25, 2007 11:22 AM

Oh, and I love those Vince Flynn books. Thankfully my brother gets the latest one every year for Christmas from someone, so I just swipe them for a few days whenever I see him.

Posted by: Will Young at April 25, 2007 11:23 AM

You can't let the fans or your desire for an offensive playmaker dictate your draft approach. The Vikes were abysmal against the pass last year. Yea, I know it was due to a lacking pass rush, but a blitzing safety can offset that. Plus they come up and support the run. Taking Landry lets you move Dwight Smith to CB and push Cedric Griffin and add depth there. Sharper's getting old and Tank is oft injured. Landry is a stud; I've heard "a once in a decade talent" I know that's cliche' but not at a position of need.

Chester's adequate at RB and Brady won't be ready for 2 or 3 years (maybe never if some people are right). You stick with T-Jack, who you thought enough about to chase hard last year and made Johnson expendable, get him a decent receiver in the 2nd round (Smith, Gonzalez) and anchor your D-backfied for the next decade with LaRon.

Posted by: PurpleNurple at April 25, 2007 11:28 AM

Spycake and Will, agree Power Broker is a great book. With the 3 LBJ Biographies I also own, I estimate that I have nearly 5,000 Robert Caro-written pages on my bookshelf. Also Will, At Caanan's Edge was great and agree about that Truman was a much better book that John Adams.

Shane, I'm not quite sure there are more Vikings fans than Twins fans. Vikings fans are more vocal, but I think Twins fandom is much more broad (don't forget those shut-ins listening to the Twins game from their nursing home).

also, Garza first, then Baker.

Posted by: Freealonzo at April 25, 2007 11:36 AM

The plan has been released, that's what the pictures and pricetag are for. Way too expensive, won't get done and should not be done.

Posted by: Telemachus at April 25, 2007 11:43 AM

Telemachus,

When we say "plan", we simply mean the mechanism by which the Vikings/ROMA/MSFC believe is the best way to pay for it.

So far, it is a price tag and pictures. How will it come to fruition?

And, you may be right, there will come a day when this stuff is just too expensive. But, some also believe that the price of steel and various related construction materials will drop in the near future. So, no one really knows.

Posted by: Derek at April 25, 2007 12:17 PM

My personal strategy for the draft: take the best player available. The draft is not for taking players in positions that you need. That is what trading and free agency is for. If you really don't want to take the best player available when it is your turn, trade down.

Posted by: Derek at April 25, 2007 12:18 PM

1. Garza or Slowey?

Garza. He at least has ML experience. Slowey needs to be ready though for Silva's eventual meltdown.

2. What are you reading? Anything good?

Just finished Devil in the White City very fascinating look at one of America's greatest mass murders that no one knows about and the Chicago Worlds Fair and the implications it had on the 20th century.

Did a big paper in college those many years ago on Robert Moses. Very fascinating individual.

3. Vikings draft.

Adrian Peterson
Gaines Adams
Amobi Okoye

I am not high on Quinn and I think a #7 is too high for a safety who would be what, their 7th or 8th safety?


4. How naive can I be?

It is not about saving money for the Vikings it is about the nicest palace for their show. They really blew it on the Anoka County deal and are just making it worse.

Posted by: pragmatic_cynic at April 25, 2007 12:23 PM

Sorry free - but by any measure you can muster; the Vikes fan base far exceeds the Twinkies. That just falls in line with the NFL vs MLB though, its not a shot against the Twinkies.

Posted by: PurpleNurple at April 25, 2007 12:39 PM

PN: (with tongue firmly placed in cheek) But what about the shut-ins, what about the shut-ins?

btw, Purple Nurple disproves one of the 301 facts in Shane's link from yesterday which was that nothing rhymes with purple.

Posted by: Freealonzo at April 25, 2007 12:44 PM

If you don't think "Nurple" is a word; ask any teenager to give you a "PurpleNurple" and see if he knows what you're asking for?

I agree, counting "shut-ins" probably gives MLB a slight edge. But, of course, you'd have to eliminate the ones that didn't know what they were listing to. In that case; that'd be most of them.

Posted by: PurpleNurple at April 25, 2007 1:19 PM

I think Free might be on to something in questioning whether the Vikings really are more popular than the Twins right now. Five years ago, before "Love Boat" or "Get to know 'em" that would have certainly been true. Now I'm not so sure.

However, I have to strongly disagree with Free's pitcher comments. No way in hell should Baker follow Garza. Baker's had enough opportunities in the majors to show he's gutless. His numbers last year were worse than Silva's. I would trade him to some pitching-desperate team for a utility player/pinch hitter to give Gardy some options.

Posted by: Snyder at April 25, 2007 1:29 PM

Interesting tidbit of information:

The average waistline of men that attend more than 4 baseball games per year is 42 inches.

Suck it up boys.

Posted by: mary at April 25, 2007 1:36 PM

No one can convince me the Twins have a fan base that is bigger than the Vikings. No way. The Twins fan base may be bridging the gap, but the Vikings are still at the top.

One more year of Chilly's ineptness, however ...

Posted by: Shane at April 25, 2007 1:37 PM

1) Move up the time-table on Lirano and have him throw with his non-pitching arm. Can't be worse than Sidney Pontoon. If not, then Slowey deserves a shot

2) Reading the Grail series of books by Bernard Cornwell. Just finished his Viking quest series. Good stuff.

3) Allow me to shake up the draft topic. My inside connections project the first round this way:

1. Oakland Raiders: Calvin Johnson, wide receiver, Georgia Tech.

2. Arizona Cardinals (from Lions, projected): Joe Thomas, offensive tackle, Wisconsin.

3. Cleveland Browns: Brady Quinn, quarterback, Notre Dame.

4. Minnesota Vikings (from Buccaneers, projected): JaMarcus Russell, quarterback, LSU.

The going hypothesis at Winter Park is that, if the Chiefs trade aging QB Trent Green to the Dolphins before the draft, the Dolphins will eventually cut Daunte Culpepper. With Daunte Culpepper likely to be on the market, Raiders owner Al Davis then will decide that he doesn't need to take quarterback JaMarcus Russell with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft and instead reunite Culpepper with Randy Moss with Calvin Johnson playing opposite Moss.

You may now talk amongst yourselves.

4)I have absolutely no emotion for the Vikes at present. None...nada...zippo. Why? Present management (spelled with a mis- at the prefix). There is no plan. Zygi pissed off Anoka, so you are correct Shane, there isn't a snowballs chance in heck that a 7-metro county tax would get passed. So what do they do? Post some very poor stadium renditions (I have 4-years of college architecture to base my opinion on) and then cooly ask for $1 bil. WTF?!?

Question for everyone else: Which organization is the worst run in the TC now: Wolves or Vikes?

Posted by: Brian Maas at April 25, 2007 1:41 PM

Wow, first of all, when the mighty Mr. Cheer or Die has no emotion for the Vikings things must be really, really bad. I will have to ponder that some more...

Secondly, if the draft goes like you think I will see it as a sign of the coming Apocalypse. In fact, if the Vikings draft JaMarcus Russell, I will buy you the most expensive steak at Outback Steakhouse. That's right ... Outback. Not Applebees. That is how crazy I think your projections are!

Posted by: Shane at April 25, 2007 1:45 PM

Off field B.S. doesn't affect fans. It's just news media fodder.

Since you brought up Childress. I had a discussion with my brother this morning; was 6-10 really that bad? considering? How many coaches have kicked off the inaugural season better than .500?

Expectations are high, no doubt, but would 8-8 (a solid 2 game improvement) be acceptable? shouldn't it be?

If "Chilly" gets to 10-6 or even 11-5 in 3 years AND is a playoff factor? wouldn't that be acceptable? Lovie Smith went 5-11 his first year?

I think "Chilly" gets more time than 2 years.

Posted by: PurpleNurple at April 25, 2007 1:46 PM

How can you even compare the T-wolves and their decade + of ineptness, to the Vikes 1 year under Zygi/Childress? THAT'S NOT EVEN CLOSE!

You are delusional.

Posted by: PurpleNurple at April 25, 2007 1:52 PM

"I think "Chilly" gets more time than 2 years."

Good golly molly. One more year of Chilly will break this town. What's he going to do to fire up the team? Read a poem?

It wasn't that long ago ('92) when the season ticket fan base was just over 35K. For preseason games, the upper deck was basically empty. That's where this team is heading should they finish dead last in the once great Norse division. Not how they can build a stadium, but how they even expect to fill up the 50K seat Gopher stadium while awaiting the completion of a new stadium.

Next question of the day: how many TV blackouts this Vikes season? Greater or lesser than 4?

Posted by: Brian Maas at April 25, 2007 1:52 PM

You're a knob! I'll buy you steak at Outback if there is 1.

Posted by: PurpleNurple at April 25, 2007 1:54 PM

1. Perkins should be moved to the rotation first, then when we need another starter... Slowey. As for who to call up when we offload Sir Sid... Venafro.

2. I agree on Truman, great book. I'm plodding through an LBJ bio right now, and have a to-read list that is massive

3. i honestly dont give a squat about the vikings, but i love the college game so i'll throw this out there. Take AP... he's a rare talent, and in the 6th or 7th round you need to grab Dave Ball the reciever from New Hampshire... SUPER SLEEPER.

4. The Anoka County deal fell through for a number of reasons, but one of them was that metro gun club pulled a Land Partners II deal by jerking the price WAY up. That deal was in trouble from the get go without a TIF plan (which was the original idea)

Currently, I think the Fairgrounds board, the Como and St. Anthony Park Community Council, St. Paul's 4th Ward, and the City of Falcon Heights are all barriers to the Fairgrounds... and as for getting St. Paul to put up anything for it? - not going to happen. No way there are the votes on the City Council for it. And don't look to the Ramsey County Commissioners for help, they've got bigger fish to fry with rail transit, water issues, and daily life problems... they won't be stepping in.

Posted by: CJ at April 25, 2007 2:17 PM

Mary: "The average waistline of men that attend more than 4 baseball games per year is 42 inches"

Me: Woo hoo, only 6 more inches to go!

Shane: "If the Vikings draft JaMarcus Russell, I will buy you the most expensive steak at Outback Steakhouse."

Me: Knowing how well Shane does in bets, I suggest Mr. Cheer or Die make reservations Saturday night for a nice Outback Steak Dinner.

Posted by: Freealonzo at April 25, 2007 2:48 PM

Shane: I stand by my Russell to the Vikes scenario and will gladly allow you to purchase me said steak. Here is a little verification for you that Culpepper is soon to be released once the Green to the 'Fins deal is inked:

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/football/pro/dolphins/sfl-spdolnotes15apr15,0,6950737.story

Also just in, our own Afro wearing Randy "I play when I want to play" Moss was recently spied in Green Bay this week and a draft day trade to the Packers will happen. I bet that neighbor of yours becomes a Moss fan overnight. At any rate, that fact also cements that the Raiders will take Calvin Johnson. And Zygi will have no choice but to spend that spare $25 mil under the salary cap to bring in Daunte Jr. (Russell) if for no other reason to avoid the projected 6-game blackout.

Will you throw in a free brew along with that steak should the Vikes pick up Russell and the Pack get Moss on draft day? Maybe I can think of another projection and get dessert of the deal as well ;)

Posted by: Brian Maas at April 25, 2007 2:50 PM

BM: But I thought Al Davis was going to sign Culpepper to team him up again with Moss. Seems Culpepper to Raiders/Moss to Packers scenarios are diametrically opposed to each other.

Posted by: Freealonzo at April 25, 2007 3:00 PM

hold out for Mancini's my friend. Or at least The Muddy Pig!

Posted by: CJ at April 25, 2007 3:00 PM

Brian! Good to hear from you again.

There may not be a blackout this year(but it will be close if the Vikes start out real slow) but another year like the Vikes had last year and it may be a forgone conclusion in 2008.

I cannot see why AZ would need to trade up from #5 for Thomas. Nobody above them is going to take him. But who knows what wacky things will happen on draft day.

I think the Wolves are still the hands down worst organization in the TC.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at April 25, 2007 3:02 PM

I didn't say there weren't barriers to the Fairgrounds site, but it has a chance, that is all I was told. And, if the plan is to enact a County tax like we did in Hennepin for the Twins, the only group mentioned above that needs convincing is the Ramsey County Board. None of the other groups matters very much. Look at the Twins ballpark: The City Council is against it, the Metro Council would have been a tough sell, the entire Delegation to the City of Minneapolis voted against it...and the list goes on. They only needed four guys on the County Commission outside of State approval to get it done.

1) I agree with CJ. Perkins first. Then, I like to go back to Garza.

2) Just started reading Moneyball. And, I am also reading the Bible (which has already been mentioned as a given by Shane), and a Sports Marketing Textbook by Matt Schenk.

3) Quinn (won't be there), Peterson (also might not be there), Adams (won't be there), so I think we should trade down and get more picks.

4) There is zero chance of anything in Mpls for at least five years, probably ten. Zero. So, it's either east side of the river, or back to a suburb. And, since the Vikes treated Anoka so well, I don't see another suburb stepping up soon. So, St. Paul is the place to go. I think the south side of downtown looking up at the skyline would be great, but the Mayor apparently has that site set aside for a new Saints ballpark and a Thunder stadium with a combined cost of about $40M. Better get comfy at the Dome.

Posted by: Derek at April 25, 2007 3:03 PM

Free: Ask Shane about my famous April Fool's day jokes over at my old blog!!!

CJ: I actually prefer a blackened marlin steak with a key lime martini, but I'll take what I can get and not complain.

Shane: People bugging me about photos, probably due to pre-draft interest....if you want to post this Flickr photostream link for those that want to subscribe:

http://api.flickr.com/services/feeds/photos_public.gne?id=13361782@N00&format=rss_200

Or this direct link:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/vikingunderground/

They can view all my Vikes photos to their hearts content.

Lastly, just uploaded my first Arctic Monkey's CD onto the trusty iPod.....not sure what to think. Maybe the fact I'm turning 46 tomorrow has something to do with it. Now where did I set that Barry Manilow CD?

Posted by: Brian Maas at April 25, 2007 3:06 PM

Nurple, don't get too liberal on the blackout bet at Outback. The renewal rate has been so poor, that the Vikings themselves are already acknowledging that they will most likely have very few sellouts.

Posted by: Derek at April 25, 2007 3:12 PM

Derek, the entire Mpls delegation didn't vote against the ballpark bill.

Kelliher-Anderson voted for it, Thissen voted for it, Senator Higgens voted for it. There might be one other Senator.

Posted by: Freealonzo at April 25, 2007 3:15 PM

Shoot! COD, are you pulling my chain again? JaMarcus Russell ... there is absolutely no way the Vikings pick him. So, yes, I will also get you a beer with your steak dinner. No problemo. Moss to the Packers isn't that hard to believe, though, so no dessert!

Posted by: Shane at April 25, 2007 3:27 PM

PurpleNurple is delusional if he cannot remember that it was only 2004 when the Timberwolves were in the NBA Western Conference Finals and KG was named the NBA's Most Valuable Player. Granted, the past few years feels like a decade of ineptitude, but the reality is otherwise.

What was the last year the Vikings made the playoffs? Also 2004.

As for which franchise is the worst-run, I'll grudgingly admit that Taylor/McHale/Wittman disgust me more right now than Wilf/Spielman/Childress, but not by much.

Posted by: Snyder at April 25, 2007 3:29 PM

i realize it's largely conjecture, but I'm wracking my brain to figure out who on the Ramsey board would support ANY vikings plan...

You might get McDonough, and a longshot for Bennett, but Carter, Reinhardt, Ortega and Rettman are the only 4 No's you need, and they are solid.

Posted by: CJ at April 25, 2007 3:33 PM

Cheer or Die: Good to hear from you. You've been missed (republican rantings aside!)

I'd take either Peterson or Landry at 7. I think the JaMarcus possibility is nonsense, although I have seen several "experts" say it is a possibility. Peterson and Taylor would be a great running combo, while Landry would be the man in the secondary for years to come. Either way, I'm happy.

Curt in Grand Forks

Posted by: Curt Hanson at April 25, 2007 3:50 PM

Peterson or Landry at pick 7 ... I concur. I would be happy with either one.

And I agree with Curt, nice to hear from you again COD! You should chime in more often just to get me worked up!

Posted by: Shane at April 25, 2007 3:56 PM

No, but I seem to remember most of Mpls being against it. Yes indeed, there were a few in favor. My main point was that only the Ramsey County Commission would have to approve a county-wide sales tax for it to be presented to the State. In other words, it isn't as much of a long shot for the Vikes as downtown Mpls is. Just presenting other ideas. St. Paul is nice and could be a suitable site.

Posted by: Derek at April 25, 2007 4:34 PM

Mary writes: The average waistline of men that attend more than 4 baseball games per year is 42 inches. Suck it up boys.

Wow and that is the average. So some of these guys here are in the 50 range; dragging a big roll over their belt. LOL, and they pay big money to watch people run around on a play field.

If it wasn't so sad it would be funny.

Posted by: jeff at April 25, 2007 6:11 PM

Just went to the phillies game in Philly and that stadium is awesome. I think I walked every square inch of that place tonight. Can't wait for 2010!

1. Garza
2. Pour Your Heart into It - Howard Schultz
3. Peterson
4. Should not be in Anoka - Downtown is 159 times better....I would bet that they will be playing in a new stadium by 2013. Zygi is too impatient to wait. I think he will find investors and get it done. I will bet one Summit EPA that it gets done!

Posted by: MOJO at April 25, 2007 9:34 PM

I need a deal like this. What a bargain! no wait, I guess I got one, I'm just on the wrong end.

http://www.kare11.com/sports/sports_article.aspx?storyid=252258

Posted by: STM at April 26, 2007 8:06 AM

Here is one thing I don't get from the link STM posted:

The appointed ballpark authority is accommodated in the lease. The authority would receive a rent-free suite, complete with parking passes and 16 complimentary tickets for all home games.

Why should they get a suite and free tickets? And 16 of them to boot.

Posted by: pragmatic_cynic at April 26, 2007 8:40 AM

Pragmatic_cynic - The explanation is simple, it's a personal kickback to the guys who helped get the legislation passed. Love the greasy palms when they get exposed.

Posted by: Telemachus at April 26, 2007 8:51 AM

the ballpark authority gigs are jobs with no pay. it's a way of compensating people for the time they put in working on the authority.

Posted by: CJ at April 26, 2007 10:13 AM

But the people on the Ballpark authority aren't the ones who were involved in that. I would buy your arguement if the suite went to Hennepin County and the commissioners.

Posted by: pragmatic_cynic at April 26, 2007 10:13 AM

I don’t know. You guys just want to shrug this off as “they way things are? in the sports world. I guess that’s fine. I know this has to be a good deal for the Twins in order for it to work, but does it HAVE to be this good;

Twins and the Minnesota Ballpark Authority are expected on Thursday to sign off on the lease that binds the franchise to a three-decade stay and grants the team almost every dollar generated within its walls.

And we (HC) are committed to them and this deal for 30 years. “Be careful what you wish for? comes to mind.

The Twins get to keep all revenue from ticket sales, advertising, naming rights, tours and concessions during baseball games. They must share 10 percent of net revenues from nonbaseball events with the authority.

Wow! We get 10% for non-baseball events which mean the Twins get 90%. Shouldn’t that be the other way around?

The 119-page document gives the Twins power to levy seat license fees, but Bell said Wednesday that the team hasn't determined "how, when or if" to do so. Seat licenses are one-time payments charged to people seeking to purchase season tickets at a new facility

Get ready for your PSL up charge. That $130M is getting smaller and smaller.

The team will be charged $900,000 in annual rent, with a portion of that subject to inflation. The money will flow into a maintenance fund.

So let me get this straight; HC is charging them rent, but the rent goes into the maintenance fund that the Twins are required to do. Is that rent or is it maintenance? Essentially the building is rent free?, right? I mean, I know it’s a whole $11k per game, but that seems like a pretty good deal.

"You have got the team taking full responsibility, 100 percent for maintaining and doing the upkeep to this facility," he said.

To whose standards? And “big deal? it all comes out of the rent payment.

the appointed ballpark authority is accommodated in the lease. The authority would receive a rent-free suite, complete with parking passes and 16 complimentary tickets for all home games.

This has already been pointed out but – PORK!

Under the agreement, the Twins can leverage future revenue toward a loan that will help them bundle the upfront contribution. It's done through a process called a leasehold mortgage.

So when this is all done and said, Pohlad’s contributed nothing. He’ll borrow whatever can’t be raised through all of the above and use the “leasehold mortgage? on a building we (HC) built as collateral. NICE!

Enjoy your stadium – I gotta go puke.

Posted by: STM at April 26, 2007 10:31 AM

add to that - none of the ballpark authority members or staff were involved in the stadium effort in terms of lobbying either (unless my memory fails, there is one familiar name on the list... but i move in political circles so that's not surprising)

Posted by: CJ at April 26, 2007 10:33 AM

I got two free tickets for section 136 for last night's game, which is an upgrade from my usual upper deck GA.

My buddy and I were talking about Ponson's future after seeing him struggle again last night and I learned that Garza has apparently not gotten off to a very hot start with the Triple-A club, though his ERA is still a very respectable 2.77 after three starts. So we were thinking if Ponson goes away soon, it might make the most sense to move Perkins into the rotation and add another reliever.

As for the lease signing, all I can say is whoo-hoo! Can't wait for the dirt to start turning...

Posted by: Snyder at April 26, 2007 11:02 AM

STM,

This is all pretty standard for new ballpark leases in MLB. If you didn't know by now that it was going to be THIS lopsided, you haven't been paying attention as all this was discussed last year, with the exception of the free suite for the BA. I do have a feeling though, that the BA was overmatched for the task of negotiating this lease. There are so many other components that could have been added to make this more palatable for the public. They just don't appear to have the knowledge. Of course, we are only seeing what the media is reporting.

If you want even worse, go look at what the Colts recently received or what the Brewers received. In general, the smaller the market, the better the deal for the team. Most other leases for markets our size: Denver, Seattle, Tampa, Cleveland, and Phoenix are similar. But, sometimes there are deals in smaller markets, like in St. Louis for the Cardinals, where the team put up far more money to get this type of treatment.

I could go on all day on this...

Also, on the leasehold mortgage, the way this type of provision is usually written is that the onwer still has to pay off any loan he takes out. So, basically, Pohlad can use future revenues as collateral for taking out a loan to pay his $190M (reportedly) contribution. So, it isn't that he contributed nothing. He still is on the hook for roughly one-third of total project costs: $190M of $572M. But, to be sure, he will make that contribution back WITHIN FOUR YEARS...or by the end of the 2013 season.

Posted by: Derek at April 26, 2007 11:21 AM

There is a good discussion about the Ponson-replacement issue over on www.aarongleeman.com. I agree with the line of thought expressed there, that Baker should get "one last chance" to see if he has what it takes to stick in a major league rotation. If you don't do it now, then you might as well give up on him. Another bit of information passed along at AG.com was that if the Twins wait until mid-May for Garza or Slowey, they push back their arbitration eligibility another year, meaning big cost savings. So I say go with Baker, and if he bombs again consider shopping him around for a 3B/2B prospect.

Posted by: The Tube at April 26, 2007 11:33 AM

The way this season is going, the Twinkies will be 10 games back by mid May and out of it by the 4th of July. Time to start focusing on the NFL draft, mini camps and training camps....either way, the Twinkies have about another million games to go, so there's time to turn it around.

Posted by: PurpleNurple at April 26, 2007 11:45 AM

the twins this year look better than they did this time last year. for some reason they are in a habit of starting slow.... not helpful

Posted by: CJ at April 26, 2007 12:27 PM

I think the twins should give Garza a shot.

That said, the most frustrating thing about the Twins right now isn't the pitching, it's the lack of power. Beyond Morneau (no homers in 10 days), and Hunter they got zilch.

I don't think the Twins will suck this year, but they are clearly not as strong as last year (the loss of Liriano alone ensures that).

In last years playoffs and in the past several games we've definitely seen the limitations of 'Piranha ball'. Sometimes you need someone other than Morneau or Hunter to belt a two run homer (or at least a deep fly ball)late in a close game. The Twins are completely incapable of that.

Posted by: tato at April 26, 2007 2:48 PM

Hennepin OKs Twins stadium deals,
but fight continues over land sale
BY EMILY GURNON
Pioneer Press
Article Last Updated: 04/26/2007 02:45:39 PM CDT


I smell the Twins getting into position to sue the county and state when this stadium deal bombs.
I will love to see the Hennepin County Commissioners looks on their faces when they see the first lawsuit from Pohlad claiming 100 million in damages.

Posted by: kendo at April 26, 2007 2:51 PM

"I smell the Twins getting into position to sue the county and state when this stadium deal bombs."

Yeah, that makes sense. Sue the only people that can give you what you want. MLB would love sending the message to the world that they will sue local govt's that try to build them stadiums unless they do exactly what MLB wants. That would really help future stadium negotiations.

If you honestly believe that I suggest you try suing your boss for a bigger raise.

Posted by: tato at April 26, 2007 3:01 PM

I get charged 50 bucks a year regardless, they're gonna gouge me another 50 for a pair of individual game tickets, they'll gig me a couple grand for seat licenses for the RIGHT to spend a four grand more for season tickets. They'll own the restaurants, parking, air rights and 90% of non-baseball revenue....yea, this is MINNESOTA's ball park. I don't care what they sell the naming rights for, I'll always refer to it as "Screw job" park, and everyone will know what I'm talking about.

Posted by: Buck Faseball at April 26, 2007 3:18 PM

Derek is correct. Check out the X-Center lease. You buy a t-shirt at a concert, the Wild gets a cut, you buy some pop and popcorn at the H.S. hockey tournament, the Wild gets a cut. Buy a beer at a Wild game, the Wild gets a cut.

Posted by: Freealonzo at April 26, 2007 4:06 PM

I never fail to be amused by the constant rationalization that takes place here. Didn't your mothers ever defuse that by saying; "well, if all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you go too?"

Since when does the fact that other people were stupid before, make it okay for us to be as stupid today?

Previous examples of "as bad of deals" is not justification for this. You're smarter than that.

Posted by: Buck Faseball at April 26, 2007 4:14 PM

The problem with the "jump off the bridge" analogy is what's at the end.

You jump off a bridge and what's waiting for you is the impact of hitting the ground or water below.

You provide public funding for a new Twins ballpark and what's waiting for you is the opportunity to sit outside and watch your favorite team play baseball.

Doesn't matter what arguments STM, mary, Buck or any other haters pose on this blog, none of them are going to trump the opportunity to sit outside and watch your favorite team play baseball for those of us who are Twins/baseball fans.

So keep posting comments if you want, but if you actually have any hopes of changing anyone's mind, I regret to inform you that you are sadly mistaken. If you're just looking for a place to vent, I'm betting there are other blogs out there where you'll find a more sympathetic audience.

Posted by: Snyder at April 26, 2007 4:42 PM

Derek,

I'd be shocked if Pohlad "breaks even" in 4 years. I remember doing the math on this a while back and figuring out that the breakeven time was almost eerily around 15 years, or the same time that the "selling the team to another owner" clause expires.

Maybe I'm being simplistic and believing that the Twins will plow the extra revenue into the teams payroll, but I think you are wrong.

Posted by: Drake33 at April 26, 2007 5:09 PM

couple things:

1. I'll go on record as saying that if Mr. Pohlad lives to see opening day of 2010, it will be a fairly serious miracle.

2. Jim Pohlad, who will presumably take over the team at that time, will be a much more hands on owner.

3. The lease is a STANDARD lease. Let us be clear - The Metrodome leases are the EXCEPTION, not the rule in these types of leases.

Posted by: CJ at April 26, 2007 5:38 PM

There you have it! I have now wittnessed first hand, all that is wrong with our country. As long as you get to sit outside and experience whatever dream it is you have regarding outdoor baseball, then it's okay to just impinge on everybody else. I hoped baseball fans were less arrogant, less self centered and more intelligent than the "average" person. At least one of you aren't.

Posted by: STM at April 26, 2007 6:03 PM

Question for you guys (especially Shane):

Does today's HC/Twins agreement(s) mean:

1. HC will now deposit $13.5 million towards aquiring the RP site and will move forward with condemnation? And clearing and construction on the site starting in May?

2. The Burlington-Northern railroad issue is settled?

3. This whole issue is "settled?"

I keep hearing in the news that the stadium has "cleared" another hurdle. Other than Mary's mythical hurdles, what is left? I hope it's finally done, and they can get building.

Any insight would be appreciated.

Jeff T.

Posted by: Jeff T. at April 26, 2007 6:21 PM

Somebody explain this to me.
The Twins pay $900,000 per year rent and pay 10% of non-baseball revenue and they get everything else? That means naming rights, tix, consessions (sp). Such a deal and the O-putz launched off on the landowners. Their mistake is they did not offer the free box and 16 tix to each game like the Twins. But then again, then we would have seen how poorly managed this entire process was conducted by O-Putz. His oldest son is lucky he did not manage the new Cards stadium. If he had, their center field would be located in the Mississippi River and he would have blamed the river lock owners for the screw-up and being greedy. This is the first time in the history of a public works project that the negociating for the land was started after the governing authority got their perks. No wonder the Twins have been very quiet (including sealed records)on this.

Posted by: Jimmy Jack at April 27, 2007 1:33 AM

JJ -- This is the first time in the history of a public works project that the negociating for the land was started after the governing authority got their perks

"The history of public works"? That's a big history, my friend. I'm reading up on Robert Moses right now, and I'm still only scratching the surface. Something tells me the Twins ballpark deal isn't even a blip on that timeline.

STM -- As long as you get to sit outside and experience whatever dream it is you have regarding outdoor baseball, then it's okay to just impinge on everybody else.

I'm no fan of modern stadiums or their financing structures and leases, but I can't object to it on the grounds of "impingement on others." Taking that attitude, it would be impossible to support any public works project past or present, including (but not limited to) state parks, transportation, and education-related works. In hindsight, it's easy to assume certain past works were cheaper or more necessary or more accepted or just generally better than this, but at the time of their creation, they all faced similar opposition largely tied to high costs.

Now, I personally don't like or support the modern stadium cause for a variety of reasons, but the degree of "impingement" financial and otherwise seems no greater than the multitude of previous public works.

Posted by: spycake at April 27, 2007 9:33 AM

By one measure only; the huge ongoing enrichment of an individual private enterprise, serving a very small special interest, voids this deal as a "public works" project.

Now that this line is crossed; how can you honestly defend direct, increased taxation of the people to support ANY private enterprise? You can't.

Posted by: STM at April 27, 2007 9:52 AM

I think many public works projects have resulted in huge "enrichment" of small special interests. And this deal is more "public" than others -- it was approved fully by directly-elected representatives, using a purpose-specific consumption tax, with public hearings and media coverage largely disproportionate to its cost, and whether or not you partake in this, it does involve a local civic rooting interest.

Would you have preferred an appointed cabinet member or commission privately earmarking general funds for the stadium construction? Or worse yet, borrowing against a state or federal budget deficit? The yearly public cost for the stadium is a drop in the bucket compared to the public money thrown around by government behind closed doors.

That doesn't make it okay, of course, but with your stated concerns, you're barking up the wrong tree here. We would all be much better off, taxation-wise, if all public dollar allocations were as transparent as this, especially at the federal level, where pork and deficit spending has spiraled out of control.

Posted by: spycake at April 27, 2007 10:51 AM

Spycake -

As one of the more level headed contributors here, I'm surprised at all the "rationalizing" that you've accepted. None of what you referenced above makes what took place here right or okay.

But since you're hell bent on rubber stamping this as just another public works project; I challenge you to identify just one other project (nationwide), excluding other stadium deals, that you feel resembles what happend here.

Posted by: STM at April 27, 2007 11:09 AM

If you want me to point to government funding and contracts directly benefitting private business, the examples are quite numerous and as a "tax crusader" I'm sure you're familiar with them. Stadium deals are really just a hybrid of those deals and of more civic-minded entities like museums, theatres, libraries, etc. I personally refuse to be a "booster" or advocate of pro sports as long as they refuse to follow that same civic ownership model, but financially, stadium deals are not really egregious in the larger context of "corporate welfare" above.

I will repeat: concerning your stated position on taxes and government spending, wouldn't we all pay much less in taxes if all government allocations were subject to the same oversight, publicity, and scrutiny as this Twins stadium?

If anything, in regards to issues weightier than "should we build it or not," you shouldn't be railing against those at this blog who actively communicate with and vote for/against their elected representatives on matters that concern them. It seems to me the true "weak links" in this system are the multitudes of people who don't vote and take no interest in such matters, the media outlets that choose to sensationalize for the attention of those masses rather than attempt to inform them, and the politicians who work in true closed-door fashion to keep the status quo and deflect attention from their actions.

Posted by: spycake at April 27, 2007 12:59 PM

We're not that far apart. However, I'll again accuse you of "rationalizing" if you truly believe that a museum can be compared to a stadium just because they both cost money. The ownership, benefactors and revenues are entirely different.

On your second point, unfortunately its not an "either, or" situation. On this issue specifically, we're still paying despite the scrutiny. So I guess the answer is "no"

Lastly; I get tired of the "if you don't agree, vote 'em out" argument. How can you blame most for being complacent and disenfranchised? when we're constantly bombarded with special interests and then snookered by those we elect to protect us. Voting out Oputz doesn't fix the damage that's been done. Most people expect little from their government and just want to be left alone.

Posted by: STM at April 27, 2007 1:45 PM

I don't think you understand me at all, STM, or you're just trying to make me your argumentative foil.

1) I never equated stadiums with museums, in fact I clearly stated how I personally wished stadiums and pro sports were operated MORE like museums.

2) If we're still paying despite the scrutiny, then maybe -- just maybe? -- the stadium passed the public scrutiny? Until your angry mob ousts Opat, I think this possibility still has to be considered, despite your personal feelings on the matter.

3) I never presented a "vote 'em out" argument, and I'm truly sorry that you inferred that from my post.

Since any further points I make will probably be reduced to however you want to view your "opposition" I will now retire from this thread.

Posted by: spycake at April 27, 2007 2:09 PM

Shoot! No Russell for the Vikes. Awful draft IMHO but what do I know. It'll be 3-4 years before we know anyway.

Another topic for the baseball fans. It's about time to even up the leagues. My recommendation is to move the Brewers to the AL Central and add a team in Las Vegas which would then be in the AL West. Both leagues then at 15 teams.

Oh, and your gift for today. Download Vega4 song "Life is Beautiful" for free from iTunes! Best free song from Apple to date!

Posted by: Brian Maas at April 30, 2007 8:08 PM

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