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 3004 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Here's a closer look at the bullpen area. It's hard to tell for sure, but I think there is still an opening to the concourse right above.
Night (about the 7th inning)
Opening Day 2008 (By Currier & Ives)
This is what will count as a knothole (actually, it's a gated entrance)
The outfield stands taking shape.
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.
Items promoting the Twins 2014 All-Star Game bid. I got to bring one of these buckets home, and Noah got his first-ever taste of Cracker Jacks.
Fenway has posts. Target Field does not. But...
This is a great spot for casually watching the game.
Mound from the other side
This will be a great sight on game nights.
The back row of seats in straight-away center. Note that, beyond those seats, you can see the planters (for flowers) on the front of the Left Field Bleachers.(Batters Eye)
Red is old Yankee Stadium. This diagram comes from FieldOfSchemes.com
Team pennant. (Click to enlarge.)
The field will feel very close.
Click to enlarge. (Photo by Tyler Wycoff)
This view clearly shows the curve in the left field stands and the relationship of the first row with the playing field (no overhang to speak of in left).
Click to enlarge.
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.
Photo by Jeff Ewer
An early concept for the pedestrial bridge. (Source: Ballpark Authority, RP)
Loading dock -- already in use!
It's a great view of the action, though standing here is somewhat discouraged.
Viewed from the sidewalk on Seventh Street. No skyway infringement needed.
Looking up toward Sixth Street.
Some of Minneapolis' finest checking out the construction through a spot where a knothole will be one day.
The action drew everybody to the top step. (Click to enlarge greatly.)
These are the footings for the staircase which will connect the plaza to the skyway.
Twins president Dave St. Peter presents his list of fan suggestions to the Ballpark Authority