On Being Wrong
May 11, 2012 12:47 AM
Obviously, I was wrong.
Total, complete, undeniably epic fail.
Let the "stick it to Rick" epilogue to this stadium debate begin (wait, I see that it's already underway). I'm ready. I've got it coming.
But I feel about as bad as a weatherman who forecast rain and got sun. As I've said many times before, predicting stadium politics is a lot like meteorology: you will be wrong on a regular basis.
So here I am, wrong, and still with a fair amount of consolation. That's because I'm among the celebrators that A) the Vikes are locked up for the foreseeable future, and B) the whole ugly mess is behind us (almost). My property taxes will probably go down (they'd better), and at least I won't be paying for this stadium -- at least not directly -- probably.
I think it was clear in my previous post that I would have voted against this plan only because I thought a much better one was available. And I predicted its demise over and over because, at pretty much every step of the way, I thought this scheme had so many liabilities that it would have large blocks of legislators lining up to eagerly vote against it. To me, it was a waste of precious time.
Nope. I was wrong.
But what we've just witnessed was the impossible made possible. All the stars aligned just right -- and not by accident. No, this was done through the skills and determination of a very small band of legislators, who somehow managed to overcome incredible odds and even brought more than enough of their cohorts along. You have to appreciate and applaud the abilities of anyone who could thread this particularly tiny needle, and I come away mightily impressed by Sen. Julie Rosen, who appears to have provided the fuel on which this happened.
Not expecting someone like her to grit her teeth and do what had to be done was perhaps my chief mistake.
But I also underestimated the role of fear in this decision. Though clear eyes could see that the odds of the Vikings leaving any time soon were infinitesimal, neither legislators nor their noisy constituents always see with clear eyes. They can be easily spooked. And deliberative bodies tend to amplify fears. (I don't think this represents speaking out of turn. Many, many speeches, especially in the House, revealed that plain old fear of losing the Vikings was the primary motivation among those who supported the plan.) I discounted these things, thinking that there were cooler heads holding the reins.
Boing. I got it wrong.
I also erroneously thought that this process would be informed by its two immediate predecessors. I consider that the funding and siting of both TCF Bank Stadium and Target Field represent triumphs of the legislative process and of urban planning. They are models for how a very messy process can come out with exceptionally positive results. That cannot be said for this plan in either siting or funding. (It will take a decade or more to find out whether I'm wrong in believing that the Metrodome site is a truly lousy place to put a new stadium. The verdict on the funding may come sooner. I'm sure that, if I'm wrong again, you'll tell me.)
I forgot that, when it comes right down to it, each stadium debate is its own unique animal. The players are all different, the economic conditions are all different, the levels and quality of desperation are all different. And just like so many other things in life, past performance is not indicative of future results.
Some of you thought that I was hopeful that this plan would fail. And to a degree, I was. I think a major opportunity has been missed by not leveraging the large investments already made on the other side of downtown. I say this as a citizen of Minneapolis, and not as a sports fan or politics-watcher or failed stadium prognosticator. We could have, and should have, done better.
But this is not the first such opportunity missed, nor will it be the last. And it certainly isn't fatal to the future of downtown Minneapolis. Here's hoping that the same can ultimately be said about the near-billion dollars (when financing costs are considered) that the city has now committed to -- well, soon is likely to commit to -- spending.
In fact, I'm very curious to see what the Vikings can do with a billion dollars. Can they build the best stadium in the NFL? Will they? Can they build a great team to play in it? Will they?
I sincerely hope so on all counts.
And though you may think this hypocritical, I mean it sincerely: Skol Vikings!
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This page was last modified on May 11, 2012.
"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."
– Bernie Williams
Explore the Site
Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3045 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Stairs and escalator down to the platform
Saturday afternoon, KMSP-HD 720P
Hardware in the window! (But why are there three trophies? 1924?)
Looking across the top of the batter's eye
I will take a picture of just about anything.
Here's where the plaza will empty out around that skyway emergency exit tower at the corner of Second Avenue and Seventh Street.
Banners on the parking ramp are a great touch. They help manage scale and turn a lemon into lemonade. On my way there today I passed the WCCO building and remembered how the Twins schedule used to be painted in giant form on the side of that building (which is no longer visible). Wouldn't that be a great thing to resurrect on the side of that ramp? A giant Twins schedule. I always thought that was cool.
TCF Bank Stadium. Not for baseball, but still pretty cool to watch being built.
One of the sweetest sights of the day -- the Dome, and only through passing bus windows.
Pawlenty makes it official!
Now looking north, the tracks emerge from beneath Seventh Street as freight tracks only. The Northstar line ends at the northwest corner of the ballpark. One day, however, you can bet that other passenger trains will approach from the southwest metro on these tracks -- if our legislators are smart and persistent, that is.
This view, from the Minnekahda building (or possibly a predecessor), looks toward the right field corner. The City Market, at left, occupied the land where the B ramp and Target Plaza now stand (over I-394). And the Overlook now juts out just a little beyond where that driveway enters the railyard.
The entry from the platform to the ballpark.
The model still shows the Batters Eye Club, which is no longer part of the design.
The knothole (sans view of anything interesting)
Viewed from a different angle, it seems fair to wonder is some of those seats will have slightly obscured views. Yet, if they're cheap, that's not a problem.
This shows the area where the Northstar platform connects with the ballpark (that translucent oval). Above that is the area which will house the Twins operations offices.
This is what I was working on while my photo was taken (click to see a VERY BIG version).
This is the LRT bridge under construction as viewed from the east looking west. The ballpark facade would be at the left in this photo.
This would be a beautiful streetscape if there were ANY people.
Harmon is visible (barely) at the very center of the crowd.
This will be a great neighborhood. Note that the covering is being built for the emergency access. Also, note the streamers above, which appear to be monitoring air flow.
Another piece of the neighborhood puzzle: the Northstar platform.
Footings for the Seventh Street walkway from the A ramp.
Looking up toward Seventh Street.
Row indicators are spray-painted with stencils over rust and peeling paint.
4th inning in the thinning crowd of the Grandstand.
I don't know if the back side is also a test for materials, but it could be a hint of how the exposed steel supports will be finished. Or it could just be to hold up the stone.
An escalator was going in the day I was there.
The view from the upper concourse.
BPM - Ballpark Magic
BRT - Bus Rapid Transit
DSP - Dave St. Peter
FSE - Full Season Equivalent
FYS - Fake Yankee Stadium (see also: NYS)
HERC - Hennepin Energy Resource Company (aka the Garbage Burner)
HPB - Home Plate Box
HRP - Home Run Porch
LC - Legends Club
LRT - Light Rail Transit
MBA - Minnesota Ballpark Authority (will own Target Field)
MOA - Mall of America
MSFC - Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission (owns the Metrodome)
NYS - New Yankee Stadium
SRO - Standing Room Only
STH - Season Ticket Holder
TCFBS - TCF Bank Stadium
TF - Target Field
Selected Bibliography - Analysis
First Edition (1992)
Second Edition (2006)
Selected Bibliography - Surveys
Second Edition (1987)
Not a "Third Edition" exactly,
but it replaced the above title
(2000, large coffee table)
Original edition (2000, round)
Revised edition (2006, round)
(2001, medium coffee table)
(2002, small coffee table)
(2003, medium coffee table)
(2004, very large coffee table)
(2006, very large coffee table)
Combines the previous two titles
(2007, medium coffee table)
Selected Bibliography - Nostalgia
Book and six ballpark miniatures