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August 30, 2007

The Last Hurrah

I had a great time tonight at the Ballpark Groundbreaking Celebration. Sorry I didn't bring a camera, but I thought I would just go as a regular fan tonight and keep things on the down low. Now I wish I had brought one. The crowd was huge, the anti-stadium wing-nuts were out and entertaining as usual, there were a lot of past and present Twins there, and they had 6 rounds of ceremonial groundbreaking/shovel digging. There was lots of stuff to take pictures of (especially for reasons revealed later in this post). Bummer. I'm sure Rick will have a bunch though.

Anyway, once I got there I immediately ran into Freealonzo. I thought that was amazing since there were so many people there. I didn't think I would run into anyone I knew. And then I ran into Jeff Thompson. Great to meet you Jeff! It was fun talking with you during the ceremony.

I was pretty impressed with the ceremony on the whole. It was entertaining and it kept moving at a pretty good pace. When Pohlad gave that little girl the $5 bill, I said to Freealonzo, "I think we just witnessed a miracle." Freealonzo quipped back, "He probably justified it because he made a tidy little profit on the Twins t-shirt she is wearing." Ha! Funny stuff. Hrbek's speech was hilarious too, and I thought Carew and Killebrew had some great things to say about the history of MLB baseball in the area. It was all very compelling.

After the ceremony I got to meet Mark Snyder, another regular reader of this blog. Great to meet you Mark! I had a fun time talking with you too. Mark and I then took advantage of the $1 bratwursts and beverages, and then we started to walk back towards the city. That is when something really interesting happened.

Now, I don't write this to brag or sound like I am all that and a bag of chips. I just thought this was cool, and quite frankly unexpected.

As Mark and I were walking towards the 5th St. garage, someone sidled up next to me and said, "I feel like I should know you."

I turned around and it was Brad Finstad! You know, the author of the Twins stadium bill in the House. So, I said, "Brad Finstad! Hi, my name is Shane. I'm the author of the Greet Machine."

He said, and I swear he actually said this, "Shane! I am so happy we can finally meet! Do you have any idea how important the Greet Machine was to the passage of this bill?"

Laughing, I said, "Really? Actually, I have heard rumors to that fact, but it is certainly more meaningful coming from you. Thanks! Ummm ... how exactly did the Greet Machine help?"

He replied, "Well, a fair number of legislators used the Greet Machine as their main source of stadium news. On a regular basis legislators would come to me telling me about something that you wrote. Also, I printed off your Voter's Guide and used it to keep notes on where legislators stood on the issue."

At this point, a stadium lobbyist with Finstad said, "You wrote the Voter's Guide? Wow, that was really accurate. You did a nice job on that."

As you might imagine, I was pretty blown away by this praise. Then Brad called out, "Hey Steve! Get over here, you gotta meet this guy. This is Shane, the author of the Greet Machine."

So, Steve Sviggum sticks out his hand and says, "Nice to meet you, Shane." I could tell he still didn't have a clue who I was so Brad piped up, "He wrote the Voter's Guide."

Recognition spread across his face. "Oh the Voter's Guide? Nice job on that!"

Amazing ... Brad and I talked some more about those fateful days in May 2006 and how Steve Kelly stalled the process somewhat. I could tell the conversation was coming to a close, so I stuck out my hand and said, "Brad, you are the one that deserves all the praise. Without your leadership this bill would have never been written, let alone passed, so from the bottom of my heart I thank you for all of this."

I think he appreciated that, we shook hands, and we parted ways. Anyway, how cool is that?

I know some of you probably consider this as proof of my crimes against humanity. I have given up a long time ago trying to change your mind.

Needless to say, I am proud of the contribution I made to the effort to get a new ballpark built in Minnesota. I am fully convinced that a new ballpark will make Minnesota a better place to live, and I can't wait to watch outdoor baseball in 2010. I fully realize that this blog was a very, very small piece of the puzzle, but it was still something. When I sit in Wheaties Field for the first time, I will be very happy that I played a part, no matter how small it was.

Tonight was a good way to finally give all this a little closure. I had some good times on this blog over the past three years, you know? And I'm thrilled that it had an impact. Those were my glory days of fighting the good fight. As you can probably tell, I still write every now and again about some stupid topic, but I don't have the same panicked focus that I had when the Twins stadium issue was up in the air. It is nice that all that is over, but ... ha! ... those were some fun times. Sure I got some closure tonight, but it was also a reminder of how far we have come and the fight it took to get here.

Anyway, I had a good time. Talk to you again later!

Posted by snackeru at August 30, 2007 10:12 PM

Comments

Shane, that's awesome. And thank you for all that you've done.

Posted by: Neil at August 31, 2007 7:18 AM

Shane, you have a panicked focus when petting your cat...

Seriously, glad to hear that you got the recognition and thanks you deserved. You made a difference in a major part of the Twin Cities. Congrats!

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at August 31, 2007 7:56 AM

I would guess that there were 4,000 to 5,000 people there. STM, you would be proud to know that Shane wasn't hanging all over Mike Opat. (Although he clapped extra long and loud when Opat was introduced).

When Carl gave that girl the $5.00 I also think he asked for a reciept so that he can deduct it from his taxes.

It's funny to think that a bunch of legislators were reading this site during Spring 2006, besides the good stuff Shane was putting out, a lot of inane comments (I'm especially guilty) also went out under the banner Greet Machine.

Shane, Finstad and Sviggum are nice, but I expect a full report (with pictures) when Representative Laura Brod "sidles up" next to you. Know that's worth of a post!!

Posted by: freealonzo at August 31, 2007 8:08 AM

Dang, one other thing.... Marnie Gelner is much hotter in person than on the screen, much hotter.

Posted by: freealonzo at August 31, 2007 8:12 AM

"Dang, one other thing.... Marnie Gelner is much hotter in person than on the screen, much hotter."

Hmmm, this is perhaps the most interesting tidbit to come out of the groundbreaking.

I always thought they needed to 'sex' her up a little bit on screen. She comes across so much like a librarian, or a kindergarten teacher, that I could never decide if she was attractive or not...

...good to know. I'll view her just a litte differently from now on!

Posted by: tato at August 31, 2007 8:33 AM

Hey Shane, congrats. Achievement is crucial to building a sense of self worth and developing a high self esteem. I'm confident you're moving in the right direction to stay off drugs. Remember - baby steps!

Since you're so accomplished in orchestrating the fleecing of HC; how about putting your efforts towards something a little more meaningful? I wonder if any of these people could use their stadium tax proceeds right about now?

Bankruptcy filings in Minnesota are up 60% this year, but some can't even afford to file.

http://www.startribune.com/535/story/1393318.html

Posted by: eatthis at August 31, 2007 8:42 AM

That is great news Shane. Nice work! The paper said over 5,000 in attendance last night. I watched the FSN coverage as I was unable to attend, but what I appreciated most was the fact that the theme of the evening was thanking the fans first and foremost. Carl and Jim and the team execs each took a turn thanking the fans first. Heck, even Selig recognized us for what we have endured the past decade on the future of our team.

Anyway, nice job Shane. I would be interested to know if you have any statistics on the number of visitors to your site during the most crucial times last year. I was out here almost constantly for a good two weeks; kinda like STM is now.

Posted by: Derek at August 31, 2007 8:50 AM

Glad you had such a wonderful evening, Shane. You deserved it.

Posted by: Jeff A at August 31, 2007 9:07 AM

I bet $60 a year wouldn't pull all those people out of bankruptcy.

Posted by: Aaron at August 31, 2007 9:11 AM

for goodness sake, STM, give it a rest and go away.

Posted by: you'reawhiner at August 31, 2007 10:10 AM

Congrats Shane, and don't underestimate (not that it would be as easy now) your contribution towards helping improve Minnesota.

At the very least, you helped improve that paper I wrote a few years ago for my Sports Facilities course (and my budget numbers ended up being off from the final result by about 2% after an extra year of inflation is considered so I think we did a pretty good job!).

Posted by: Will Young at August 31, 2007 10:50 AM

Had a run-in with a of couple nut job anti-stadium, oh, what the heck, I'll call them "people". Thoroughly enjoyed telling this angry, ugly woman to get a life after she was booing people like Harmon Kilebrew and Rod Carew. You would've have thought this was just about the worst day of her sad, lonely life. Maybe she needed to let go of all that hostility to avert a heart attack or something. And I echo the comments thanking Shane for this blog and his efforts.

Posted by: mullen at August 31, 2007 10:52 AM

Great stuff Shane, as always.

Does anyone happen to have any pictures from last night's ceremony?

Posted by: Erik at August 31, 2007 11:21 AM

i wish i could have made it out for this... it's been a long time in coming. glad to see shane get the recognition he deserves... makes some of those sleepless nights last spring seem all the more worth it.

have to say shane, your voters guide was more accurate than most of the ones i saw drifting around the capitol or in various political circles at the time, that's for sure.

Posted by: CJ at August 31, 2007 11:52 AM

First off: Congratulations to Twins fans. To get a nice venue that looks like a baseball park where you can enjoy the sun and the joy of baseball under the great blue sky and on top of real grass is something to be celebrated. Baseball indoors isn't the way the sport was meant to be enjoyed.

If any fans deserve to have something nice occur it’s you guys. Under the Griffith family and Carl Pohlad, you’ve suffered under some of the worst ownership that baseball is renowned for possessing. You’ve been subjected to threats of relocation, contraction, tiny payrolls, annual carping by ownership about not being able to compete year in and year out.

Like I said: enjoy--baseball fans in the Twin Cities deserve a celebration; I truly and honestly and sincerely mean that.

At the same time, I would like to mention something about the stadium opponents. I have no dog in this fight so you can take this for what it’s worth. Carl Pohlad is one of the richest men in America. A lot of you folks, like me, live pay check to pay check and going to a game is something that we have to devote a decent amount of disposable income to; and this will increase in the new digs. Yet the hard-working baseball loving folks in Minnesota have made one of your country’s wealthiest men, still wealthier, both in tax dollars spent and increased cost to attend games.

As you know, Carl Pohlad is tight with Bud Selig and as such, will be “fiscally conservative? and “financially prudent? with the extra revenues the stadium will provide. Hopefully some of these funds will be used to hold onto your crown jewels: Johan Santana (please keep him away from the Yankees), Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau (and hopefully Francisco Liriano will return to his flame-throwing, totally awesome self). However Selig will encourage Pohlad not to do anything that might cause salary escalation and now Pohlad is indebted to Selig for helping him secure the stadium deal.

A noxious combination indeed.

Carl Pohlad is what he is; he is not looking for money to spend on his team, he is looking for money to keep for himself. He is not suddenly going to become generous when he has spent seven-plus decades (leaving aside his formative years) grubbing for every last dollar using whatever means--however slimy and underhanded--are available to him. Don't forget, when MLB gave him revenue sharing subsidies he didn't devote much of it to the team. That being the case, what are the odds he'll use the subsidy you're giving him any differently?

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: While you’re celebrating the good fortune coming to your rooting interest, both Bud Selig and Carl Pohlad are sitting back, smoking a cigarette enjoying post-orgasmic afterglow secure in the knowledge that their interests are about to become a lot wealthier due to the generosity of the Twin Cities. We’re talking about two immoral, greedy and fabulously wealthy men who have done a lot of harm to the game we love (and the team you follow) revelling about their victory in Minnesota.

They’ve again won the lottery and are doubtlessly celebrating as energetically as you are albeit for different reasons. Don’t forget, these are the same people who have been threatening to take away something you deeply cherish whether through contraction or relocation for over a decade and some times putting less than a quality product on the field to make their point. Why is it that players are supposed to do everything in their power to win but owners aren't? Pohlad has more in common with Ed Cicotte and Chick Gandil than George Steinbrenner. For years, Mr. Pohlad was guilty of baseball's greatest sin: Not trying to win. He could easily have put a better team on the field and chose not to--all to reinforce the notion that you hard working people have to enrich him some more before he'd put forth the same effort as the men on the field.

It’s not that Carl Pohlad couldn’t afford to build a stadium for the Twins (or for that matter, putting together a respectable team after the strike of 1994-1995). It’s that he didn’t want to spend his billions on it when your local politicians were willing to take from your tens-of-thousands to do it for him.

Stadium opponents weren’t against a new stadium; they just wanted the billionaire owner of the team to pay for it; that’s hardly a stance worthy of vilification. Giving Carl Pohlad money is like having sex with Ron Mexico--chances are good you'll spend the rest of your life wondering what possessed you to do such a thing. The opponents of a publicly financed stadium were simply telling you not to get into bed with such a reprehensible individual.

Doesn’t the fact that this stadium has inspired Bud Selig and Carl Pohlad to climax make you feel a little dirty? (If you're wondering what's with all the sexual imagery, don't forget, they don't call it "getting screwed" for nothing.) All the more so since they were the ones threatening your team and now are the ones who have just cashed in for doing so?

At least we can all take solace in this one fact: You guys will be rooting for the Twins and enjoying this great game long after the stains of Selig and Pohlad have been washed from our sport.

Best Regards

John

P.S. You can also keep Liriano, Mauer, and Morneau away from Steinbrenner (and John Henry) as well. Thanks in advance :-)

Posted by: John Brattain at August 31, 2007 12:07 PM

John couches his comments in decidely nice language, well spoken words, etc. But we've dealt with these issues many times on Greet Machine.

Most if not all ballpark supporters know that Carl and his family are rich and will get richer when the ballpark is complete. We don't hold it against him, we wish we were their son-in-laws. We wish ballparks could be funded privately but that horse is out the barn about 25 ballparks ago.

So the Pohlads get richer woop-de-do!! He's providing me a great enjoyment by having major league baseball being played 5 miles from my home.

Also one point of contention. Pohlad has put revenue sharing proceeds back into the team. The Twins have a top notch minor league system and the payroll has been raised significantly, $70 million this year. You can call Carl cheap, Lord knows I have a hundred times, but you can't say he hasn't invested in his team.

Posted by: Freealonzo at August 31, 2007 1:39 PM

Thanks Free. You echo my thoughts exactly.

Let me make one thing clear. I think Pohlad and Selig are slime balls. When they were both introduced my hands were not slapping against each other, let's just put it that way. I have written Selig many a nasty letter, especially during the contraction scheme and I was sickened by his presence last night.

To summarize your voluminous output, Carl Pohlad is rich and should have paid for this himself. Agreed. But he wasn't going to. So, here were our choices as Twins fans. Carl Pohlad offered the team up for contraction ... which would have made him richer. Twins fans lose. Carl Pohlad keeps the team in the Metrodome and continually short changes the roster keeping the bulk of the money himself ... which would have made him richer. Twins fans lose. Carl Pohald could have sold the team ... which would have made him richer. Twins fans would have probably lost on that since only outstate people would have bought the team. No matter what, Carl Pohlad is going to become richer and Twins fans are going to lose! So, I decided to get over his wealth and start thinking about myself.

I could care less about Pohlad and his money. What about me? How about we build a stadium so that Twins fans, including myself, can enjoy outdoor baseball again? Pohlad is rich and will always be rich. Every scenario for what to do about the Twins stadium situation saw him making a tidy little profit. At least with a new stadium I get something out of the deal. I get to keep on cheering for the Twins in a beautiful new ballpark that will be the envy of the Midwest.

Also, it remains to be seen how Pohlad will deal with the new money this stadium will provide. I think a good test will be whether he keeps Santana or Hunter on the roster this Fall. The jury is still out on what he'll do. Even then, he did approve rosters that won the World Series in '87 and '91 and 4 out of the last 5 Central Division championships. He may still be cheaper than we'd like, but his teams win and are fun to watch. I'm just thankful I'll be able to keep watching them for at least the next 30 years (And hopefully many, many more. I'm already getting my "Save Wheaties Field" material ready!).

Posted by: Shane at August 31, 2007 1:45 PM

I don't feel dirty at all for supporting the new Twins ballpark and I couldn't care less about how Pohlad or Selig feel about it. The great turnout last night for the groundbreaking only reinforced for me that the real winners here are the Twins fans. As far as the anti-stadium folks go, even if the ballpark wasn't happening, I'm confident they would just find something else to be miserable about, so I'm not planning to shed any tears for them any time soon.

Posted by: Snyder at August 31, 2007 2:37 PM

Back to the important topic - while you guys wrestle about where a little competition like baseball fits into the grand scheme of things, we got a real sport like football, played by athletes, to enjoy for the next 5 months!

The Twins stadium issue is dead and 5 years from now all the people hoping this "abortion" would have filled the humongous hole in their recreational lives, will be sadly unfulfilled and onto the next imposition in an effort to give their life more meaning. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Posted by: Buck Faseball at August 31, 2007 3:20 PM

you got it all wrong Snyder; you were the ones that were miserable for the past 20 years as you begged and pleaded and watched hopelessly as your dreams of a new stadium were dashed year in and year out.

We (stadium opponents) were happy and content during those 20 years. So now the shoes on the other foot, but THAT is what will be temporary, because it is you who will in no time find something to be miserable about while we relish in the "I told you so...."

Posted by: STM at August 31, 2007 3:28 PM

Buck/STM/eatthis ... I gotta know. Why the multiple personalities? Are you trying to make it look like there are more people against this idea? Are you trying to make it look like the site is being overrun by anti-stadium wingnuts?

Or are you just entertaining yourself?

Just wondering ...

Posted by: Shane at August 31, 2007 3:32 PM

Shane... I have to believe that you are spot-on with the multiple-personalities being used to make it look like this site is being overrun by anti-stadium wingnuts. It's apparently not above them to deceive.

I don't know if you noticed... but there were about 5,000 people there to celebrate the ballpark groundbreaking and about 5 anti-stadium people protesting. So one ballpark opponent for every 1,000 supporters. I guess it's a lot harder for STM to clone himself in the real world.

Posted by: The Rational Actor at August 31, 2007 3:54 PM

nope - just entertaining myself. It's especially funny when a I get confused for another "anti-stadium" poster because people assume everything is an alias.

If I was trying to do anything you mentioned, I'd change my IP address with every post and wouldn't keep using the silly email addresses I provide.

-and, most "anti-stadium" people have much better things to do than attend a stupid ground breaking. The numbers didn't surprise me. I mentioned less than 500 would be particularly embarrassing. The fact that there are 5000 lonely loser wannabees in this town doesn't surprise me at all...

Posted by: ohtheresaprettyone at August 31, 2007 4:05 PM

So much anger STM ... it is a shame. Would you be this angry if it was the Vikings celebrating their new stadium using the same funding mechanism? Somehow I doubt it.

Hypocrisy, thy name is "ohtheresaprettyone" ...

By the way, when do you think the Vikings will get their new stadium? I'd be interested in your thoughts on this matter.

Posted by: Shane at August 31, 2007 4:14 PM

The Vikings will have their new stadium in Carson, Calif for 2011...SKOL!!!

Posted by: kevin in az at August 31, 2007 5:41 PM

I'm not angry Shane, just bitter. I resent having to pay way more than my share for everything in this friggin state. I know, I know, its the wonderful "quality" of my life that I'm paying for but yet, somehow, other people get to enjoy for a fraction of the price.

I can and do object to the willy nilly whim and fancy spending of our goverment, and I know all about the problems of a poll tax, so don't lecture me. I just wished the government used a little more discretion about what is necessary and what is nice. This issue just broke the camels back for me and shattered any hope I had held out for our government being able to say "no" to special interests and setting a new precedent. This process, the way it was accomplished, is just repulsive and repugnant and I just expected more. At least I hoped there was more.

Posted by: buwahahahaha at August 31, 2007 7:08 PM

The Vikes stadium issue will be resolved whenver Zygi settles on a location, has a plan and a partner. He cannot expect any legislator to take him seriously until that happens. Without those items, he's got nothing to approve.

I do think that once he has those things in place, it'll get done pretty quick. There's a ground swell of support for the Vikes that will extend far beyond HC (as these issues should). It'll all be inplace before 2011, but I bet the Vikes play a couple of years in the Gophers stadium.

Posted by: STM at August 31, 2007 7:14 PM

http://wcco.com/vikings/local_story_134102546.html

Posted by: kevin in az at August 31, 2007 8:11 PM

OK guys. You can stop now. Take a deep breath and just enjoy this weekend.

Posted by: Shane at August 31, 2007 10:54 PM

I can't stop Shane...This moron is just too much fun.

BTW, congrats on your new tan and stache!

Posted by: kevin in az at August 31, 2007 10:56 PM

STM is right. Kevin, the fact that you posted that article just proves that you are way out of touch on the issue of LA and the NFL. The NFL wants LA, but LA has said that they don't need the NFL. Some team may move there someday, and it may indeed be the Vikings, but right now, there is nothing going on and you can't find article one to back it up. It is dormant.

To back up STM, as I do when I think he is right, the fact that there isn't public support for a Vikings stadium has no bearing on whether it will be approved or not. He needs only to point to the Twins, who didn't have much more support than the Vikings, to prove that a stadium will happen. You don't need much public support for anything to happen in government, you just need some one with the will to find a way. In this case, it was Mike Opat. Call him what you will, but he was primarily responsible for getting this through. He may not have done everything the right way, but he was obviously smart enough to find a solution to an issue that has taken more than a decade to solve.

Gopher opener tonight!!! I will be there along with 45,000 other rubes. But, I love them and I don't care what anyone thinks. 7-5 this year, 8-4 next, and a January bowl (I predict the Rose) within 5 years. Wow, I guess now you all might think I am really delusional.

Posted by: Derek at September 1, 2007 10:37 AM

I'm stuck working at the State Fair tonight so I'll have to wait until next Saturday to see Brewster's team. Go Gophers!

Posted by: Snyder at September 1, 2007 1:52 PM

Hey Shane - question for you. Any "inside scoop" on the LPII settlement "offer" of $33 million and change? There is a headline in today's Strib of "Hennepin commissioners, landowners may have reached deal." I think that headline might be a tad misleading. The story does not make it appear they are close to an agreement.

Have you heard anything?

Jeff T.

Posted by: Jeff T. at September 1, 2007 2:02 PM

Nope, I haven't heard anything, but I would be very, very surprised if Opat accepts a settlement of $33 million. He was upset with the appraisal of $23 million. I think this is going back to court.

I'll be at the Gopher game tonight, too! Go Gophers!

Posted by: Shane at September 1, 2007 2:48 PM

Wow, never thought I'd be agreeing with STM on something Kevin, notice how the date in that WCCO article is on MAY of 2006. Way to break into the ballpark celebration with a "This just in" article!

This just in, Pearl Harbor has just been bombed, Prsident Roosevelt is looking for revenge!

Posted by: I Want Answer at September 1, 2007 9:22 PM

The date on the story is May 4th 2006, Since both of those stories have been released the NFL has changed commissioners. Wait a minute, I just recieved a report that Princesss Diana died. More on the story as it develops..

Posted by: I Want Answer at September 1, 2007 9:29 PM

I believe 99% of all Twins fans are also Vikings fans too. I personally do not want to see the Vikes move to California.

STM - here is what I want to know. Would you take the exact same agreement the Twins made with Hennepin County if that was THE ONLY way way of keeping the team in town? No public vote. Mininum tax. You know what I am saying. Would you take this agreement or risk losing the team to another state?

I will gaurantee you this - whatever "plan" that is devised to keep tne Vikings in Minnesota will be controversial as long as pubic dollars are involved. Do you really think a public vote after the 35W bridge collapse would pass?

You could start your own blog (there's an idea!) and answer to all of the people who feel shafted because "their" money is going towards a stadium instead of "the kids" or "the bridge." Most of the people who are against public money for a Twins stadium are against pubic money for a Vikes stadium. YOU are the exception.

I don't think Zygi is going to pony up 100% of the cost of this stadium. The ironic thing is that I believe to keep the Vikes in town it will take an agreement like the Twins have with Hennepin County. A referendum is asking for defeat.

I don't want to lose the Vikes. But I'm not against the Hennepin County deal for the Twins either. What is going to happen?

Jeff T.

Posted by: Jeff T. at September 1, 2007 9:52 PM

You know by now, Jeff, that I'm more anti Opat than anti stadium. I know that the intricacies of stadium finance dictate that a lot of people are going to be pissed off when its done.

I believe that in addition to ALL that Opat did wrong and screwed up on this deal, he's the biggest hypocrite there is because every argument he used to justify his stance on this deal can be applied to the Vikes situation (x 10!)and he won't support it. He won't even acknowledge the similarities. He's a true Putz.

Here's another part of the rub that Shane can attest to; Just before the Twins deal was voted on there was a proposal floated that would've increased the sales tax .25% within the entire 7 county metro area. This would've raised enough to pay for the Gophers, Twins AND provide about a 1/2 a billion for the Vikes AND a quarter of a billion per year for transit. It had the support of Gen Olsen (HC Senator) and Steve Smith (Rep) as well as a number of others. There was HUGE opposition from the 'paid pigs' of other counties. Why? because they had already been exposed to a deal that heaped all the cost on HC residents...why would they support a tax on their own citizens and OPUTZ opposed it as well, because he was already half way home on HIS deal.

Perfect example of how special interests (the Twins) with Oputz's help, rammed through a substandard proposal for sake of expedience rather than stop and consider alternatives.

Posted by: STM at September 2, 2007 12:00 AM

Since I don't see political will or a political partner for the Vikings right now, perhaps it's time to go full circle back to the funding idea that was the best all along...slots at Canterbury Park.

Can someone explain again why this was a bad idea? Oh right, we have moral objections and don't want to expand gambling...at a horse racing track where there are already poker tables, I forgot.

Anyway, we know that campaign contributions was the only real reason this never went anywhere. Maybe the bridge collapse will change the general attitude of some legislators when it comes to thinking outside the box to solve some of these issues. Maybe a combined 'slots for bridges and stadiums' fund. I still like Jesse's statement that it was OK with him as long as there signs over each machine that said 'Help poor Carl' and 'Help Poor Red'. Perhaps each manchine could be designated as either being a 'Bridges' machine or a 'Stadium' machine. In any case, it will take a creative solution, not a simple sales tax increase for the Vikings stadium to happen.

Posted by: David H. at September 2, 2007 2:07 AM

STM, you may be right about the Kelly proposal having been better, but it had been 10 years and getting any bill passed looked like it would take a miracle. They had been considering alternatives for a decade!

If you're a dying man in the desert and someone offers you a glass of water, you don't refuse it and ask him if he has bottled water instead, you take the water!

Posted by: David H. at September 2, 2007 2:11 AM

I've heard that argument before and to a certain extent and in a lot of instances, I can accept that. However, Oputz and company like to pat themselves on the back and comment on how "leadership" means making tough decisions at certain times, blah blah blah. Wouldn't it have been demonstrated leadership AND our governments obligation to acknowledge that there may be a better deal worth considering? a fairer deal for all involved? even if that meant getting pushed into another session? This 'as long as I get what I want, no matter what' attitude is what stinks and provides further evidence that; Oputz is bought and paid for by the Twins and neither of them cared about anything else other than getting themselves served. I expect that from a private company like the Twins and especially the Pohlads but Oputz is an elected official and should put the publics interests above his own or who he's getting paid by!

Posted by: STM at September 2, 2007 8:17 AM

STM - I agree with you that, in the "big picture," the 7-county tax was a much better plan that would have helped solve a lot of issues. I certainly wish it would have become reality.

If I remember correctly, however, many of the Legislative leaders during the session said they would not vote for a bill "that large." I know the Governor was opposed. Unfortunately, I don't think it ever had a chance. On a side note, I believe the author of that bill, Steve Kelley, would have made a great Governor.

Jeff T.

Posted by: Jeff T. at September 2, 2007 8:53 AM

because something is a year old does not make it true today. the 10 million buck spent was from the NFL, not los angeles. the nfl wants a team in LA and there will be one. the only existing nfl team with a lousy stadium situation is the vikings. mn has to put up or shut up

i sited something 1 year old...stm sited nothing.

something that's 1 year old is more of a basis of an opinion than pulling something out of one's ass.

Posted by: kevin in az at September 2, 2007 9:29 AM

There are four teams that have "unacceptable" stadium sitautions: Minnesota, San Diego, New Orleans, and Buffalo. Any of them could be a candidate. The three besides Minnesota have had multiple non-sellouts in recent years, and none appears close to a solution.

LA will not put up a dime in stadium money, and the NFL needs some one willing to pay the relocation fee, build a new stadium on their own, (with some G3 assistance) and still find money to set up in LA. Basically, they would need around $1.5B, and the added revenue of LA market, with the massive revenue sharing in the NFL, wouldn't be enough to overcome that.

Posted by: Derek at September 2, 2007 1:54 PM

the only reason the vikings are still playin in mn and not la is because of their lease. if the vikings played in a back-alley in compton, they would be worth more money than they are right now in minnesota and wilf knows this

Posted by: kevin in az at September 2, 2007 2:43 PM

So............the Gophs are off to a good start.

Jeff T.

Posted by: Jeff T. at September 2, 2007 9:09 PM

Oh oh, STM's gonna have a heart attack. Less than 48 hours to go and the Vikes need to sell 3,500 tickets to avoid blackout. I'm thinking the diehards have bought tickets, who's left?

Posted by: Freealonzo at September 4, 2007 2:11 PM

Yeah, especially after the Twins reached the two million fan mark over the long weekend, too...giving them their third consecutive season with 2 million+ fans and a decent shot at hitting 2.3 million for the year, or the highest attendance since 1992.

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/teams/minnatte.shtml

Posted by: Snyder at September 4, 2007 4:36 PM

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