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Stadium EndGame 2012

April 26, 2012 3:50 PM

In the end, the Vikings will have their stadium, and it will be right here in Minneapolis. Professional football (and its attendant revenues) will be preserved and enhanced. All will be well.

Vikings fans will need to repeat this little mantra over and over to themselves in the coming days (weeks, months), because it's not going to look like that. Darker days are likely ahead, and they may want to gnash their teeth. They may want to lash out. They may want to use profanity and threats.

But if you're tempted, don't do it. It won't help. Now is the time to grab a beer and find that TPT-MN channel on your radiant gameday TV (hint: it's not in your favorites list). Then get comfortable and prepare to watch everything unfold. It could be kind of wild.

It's not unlike other "reality" TV shows. The cast of characters is set, and the rough outline of what's supposed to happen has been given to all the participants, but the exact outcome is anybody's guess. Will there be arguments? Shouting? Tears? Fist fights? Will there be ruthless scheming and conniving? Back-stabbing? Breaking of promises? Will glasses of wine be tossed in people's faces? Cat fights? Dog fights? Drunkenness? Unfaithfulness? Promiscuity?

Rule nothing out.

But let's look at this show and see if we can't make a few reasonable predictions, or at least just some educated guesses.

Visual depiction of current stadium legislation

"And, in the end..."

The way I see it, there are four possible outcomes to this drama:

1. The Legislature does not pass a bill.

2. The Legislature passes a bill, the Governor signs it, but Minneapolis does not approve it.

3. Everybody approves it, but there's a hitch (lawsuit, referendum, unexpected financial peril).

4. Everybody approves and a stadium gets built.

Let's take these one at a time.

"Oh, that magic feeling, nowhere to go..."

If you look at the current legislation in modular terms, it contains basically the following parts:

A. Significant expansion of gambling

B. Re-purposing of a very large municipal tax

C. Multiple levels of financial back-ups

D. A clear expectation of what the Vikings will contribute

E. The Metrodome site

F. A model for facility ownership

In addition, it may or may not contain any or all of the following:

G. A referendum requirement in Minneapolis

H. Renovation and refinancing for Target Center

I. Debt relief for the Xcel Energy Center

J. A "slush fund" for St. Paul to use as it sees fit (including, possibly, to build a new ballpark for the Saints)

K. Racino

Whew. That's a whole lot of controversy packed into one legislative document. On size alone, it's chances of passage are limited. But they are certainly greater than zero, and that's all that really counts.

When I look at these, I see constituencies lined up against A, B, C, E, G, H, I, J, and K. And these are not the kind of opponents who gather on the capitol steps and make noise (though there are some of those around). These are the kind of constituencies who cast votes inside. That's a very bad thing.

Only D, the Vikings' contribution, and F (ownership) look reasonably uncontroversial (though the latter should really be reconsidered given the existence of a functional ownership group in the Ballpark Authority). On the one hand, it means that the Vikings have truly come to the table on this (though at least some don't exactly see it that way). On the other hand, the bill could fail if any one of these opposing constituencies gets any traction.

The bill's chances would improve if the financial model could be made a little more certain and a little less controversial. There was an amendment offered yesterday to have the whole thing funded by a five-cent state-wide liquor tax. This is a very good idea which has zero chance of passage because a certain element chooses not to use all of the tools in the toolbox. ("You may build a stadium, but you're not allowed to use any hammers." -- Tea Party)

The financial model is probably set for this go-around. But each part has some big problems.

"I should have known better..."

The big sticking point will no doubt be the gambling. Big-time gambling. Really. Big. Time. This is very contentious, to say the least, and it's clear that the charitable gambling lobby has found a clever way to sneak in under the radar. Have you noticed that no one is talking about the gambling provisions right now? (Well, I did hear some rumblings this morning.)

In fact, the bill contains so many expansions of gambling and restructuring of tax obligations for the sponsoring entities that, were it brought in all on its own, this gambling expansion wouldn't stand even the tiniest chance of passage. But under the shadow of stadium politics? Well, that's a very cool place to be.

The question becomes whether anyone in the Legislature or public will decide to make a stink about this. If they do, the bill is doomed.

The Minneapolis "contribution" has been discussed many times, and it's the kind of thing that governments do all the time. You've got a tax, it's for a certain thing that has fallen to the back burner, and you need the money now for something else. I can easily see the Legislature saying, "We'll stay out of this. If Minneapolis wants to do this, it's their funeral."

But cooler heads would quickly realize that the Minneapolis tax would be shifted in a fairly unwise fashion. The Convention Center would be left financially vulnerable, becoming sort of an afterthought in Minneapolis hospitality. OK, I'm exaggerating a little, but not much. The truth is that, if these funds were shifted now, Convention Center funding would immediately become a front-burner issue and would probably have to be addressed immediately in the next session. That money will have to come from somewhere. The "Minneapolis plan", in addition to being slippery, really isn't a solution to anything.

It's been hard to track the back-up funding options, but I know that Hennepin County is no longer in that mix in at least one version of the bill (and apparently still remains in another). While taking that out would help things, the projections of gambling revenue are actually so shaky that you basically have to consider the back-up funding sources as if they were primary sources. These are not the kinds of things which should be rushed through, and I think their presence, though really essential, weighs down this whole bill.

But beyond that, if you need that many back-ups, there's a serious problem with your funding model, and everyone can smell it.

So, when I look at the overall financial model by itself, not considering any of the add-ons, I think it has no more than a 20% chance of passage.

"There's nothing for me here, so I will disappear..."

One of the add-ons actually increases the likelihood of passage, and that's the referendum.

The charter amendment, you may recall, was passed specifically to prevent what this bill is trying to do. Will a Legislature be in favor of so directly overriding the stated will of the people? I can't imagine it. (And before you get on your high horse, the exception given to Hennepin County in 2006 is a very different animal. I've written about this many times before, so I'm not going into it again here.)

So I think the referendum requirement will have to stay in the bill for it to get passed. But that's actually a good thing, from a legislator's point of view, because it gives some very useful political cover.

Knowing full well that a referendum could never pass, if that requirement stays in the bill, its chances of passage go way up, maybe even to 90%. The Legislature will look like it has tried to do something, and the theoretical political fallout could be mitigated. (Some will remember this scenario playing out in almost exactly the same fashion with the Twins stadium circa 1999.)

Not my actual kids!

But that's the only add-on which helps the bill's chances. All of the others weigh the bill down like a ballast tank full of zebra mussels. Racino (K) outright kills it. Helping Target Center (H) or Xcel (I) push its chances down to 5% or so. The Saints ballpark, which enjoys a certain amount of support, might not kill the bill, but if it were to remain while Target Center got cut, the Minneapolis legislators would not take very kindly. It could get pretty messy pretty quickly.

In this way, writing legislation appears very similar to mediating between my two sons on the subject of cookies. "He got more!" "No I didn't!" "Mine's cracked!" "But you got two cracked pieces and I only got one whole one!" These conversations usually end with me saying that, if they are going to argue about it, nobody gets any cookies. And that's what is likely to happen in this scenario as well. I think all of these things will get dumped.

When you consider all of the possible permutations, especially the referendum, I think the chances of a bill coming out of this session run around 50%. You may think that isn't saying much, but this is where it actually gets interesting.

And just so we don't have too many loose ends, you'll notice that while everybody outside of the legislators obsesses about where the stadium will be built, inside the process it bears hardly a footnote. If the financing model works, then a given site can overcome a lot of negatives.

"There beneath the blue suburban skies I sit, and meanwhile back..."

Were this plan to get through all of the hoops in St. Paul, it would need to be approved by either the Minneapolis City Council, or the general public (by way of referendum).

A so-called "test vote" earlier this week indicated that there is sufficient support on the council to pass it if it ever gets there. But test votes aren't worth much when you really have no idea what type of plan you'll be voting on.

If a referendum requirement remains in the bill, what the Council does is irrelevant. It basically has zero chance of surviving a referendum. That's the conventional wisdom, and I agree.

But if the referendum is voided by the bill, then pressure will be much higher on those swing votes on the council -- and it's already pretty high. The public will come out in force and, while they may not be able to stop it, I think that some of those votes are shaky enough -- especially if the Target Center refinance is not included -- that there is a better-than-reasonable chance that at least one of them will cave.

If the bill arrives at the Minneapolis City Council with no referendum and no Target Center refinance, then it's chances of passage are down around 5%. If it includes Target Center, it definitely goes up, maybe all the way to 60%. That's the point at which we have to consider the...let's call them "catches".

"I told you before, you can't do that..."

So let's just say, just for the sake of fantasy, that a bill could get passed by the Legislature, signed by the Governor, and approved by the Minneapolis City Council. Start the digging, right?

Not so fast, me bucko.

If there's a referendum, well, you can park the bulldozers and look for another gig.


If there's no referendum, and if there's even one lawyer in this town, you can bet that somebody will sue over the lack of a referendum.


If there are bonds to be issued, there will be costs, and they'll be based on just how comfortable everyone is with the revenue streams provided to secure them.


And there are all those pesky back-up funding sources, each of which could trigger some sort of delay or road block.


I will admit that it is not unusual for stadium projects to face Herculean obstacles along the way. And plenty of stadiums have been built, so it's fair to say that almost any obstacle can be overcome.

The chance of a stadium getting built does not exactly drop to zero, but it would be time to start counting places to the right of the decimal point.

Just remember what I said at the very beginning. We'll be doing this all again very soon, and you'll probably be much happier next time.

"When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide..."

Should you be mad at somebody?

My approach is to say that you should be glad that we didn't waste a whole cycle on Arden Hills. Getting that out of the way quickly saved a whole year.

Next, it appears that the Metrodome site was going to have to have its day, and might have worked if the financing model had been a bit more plausible. The important lesson for stadium watchers is that the money matters way more than the plot of land.

So I'm not sure who you'd be mad at there. Everybody was acting in good faith, if a little naively. Give the Legislature credit for tackling this when it appeared that no one really wanted to. Those who vote against this are not Vikings-haters, and often not even stadium-haters. Even stadium supporters in the Legislature recognize that this is a bad solution. That's very telling.

But this is really just how stadium politics work. The Twins tried some tactics which set them back years, and thankfully the Vikings appear to have avoided any such mistakes this time around. That leaves the issue still ripe and ready for people to hammer out a solution which will really work, and which can pass political muster.

That won't happen in this session. But, with apologies to my Beatlish heroes, here's a little song for you to croon through your tears...

When I find myself in times of trouble
Guv'ner Dayton comforts me,
"There will be a stadium
in '13."

Just listen for the sound of rumbling
Out in Hennepin County.
"There will be a stadium
in '13."

In '13, in '13, in '13, in '13.
Yeah, there will be a stadium in '13...


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I haven't read the article yet but i bet that card stadium in the picture is more profitable than the Metrodome!!



Posted on April 26, 2012 at 4:03 PM by Jared Highlight this comment 1

Great post Rick. I always enjoy coming here for insight into how the process is going. I've been telling people for over a year to not get too wrapped up in what's happening now. They need to sort out the funding before any sort of progress will be made. I agree that a year from now, after the Vikings take a step back and talk to Hennepin County again, there will be an agreement and actual progress made.

Posted on April 26, 2012 at 4:15 PM by Mort Highlight this comment 2

The soon to be LA Diablo's take with the 3rd pick in the draft LT Kali USC.

Posted on April 26, 2012 at 4:40 PM by twinkfan Highlight this comment 3

Diablos eh? Doesn't sound L.A. enough. How about the L.A. Paul Bunyans, or L.A. Gateway Arches, or the L.A. Bay Bridges. Oh wait, those teams had to have existed in their respective home areas for LA to steal the names...


Posted on April 26, 2012 at 5:06 PM by Jared Highlight this comment 4

Additional comment: No one currently living in LA actually grew up there right? They all just move there to fail and move away, similar to NFL sports teams... nor are they who they say they are...Lakes in LA? yeah, right.

Editors Note: how do you know I have gone off the deep end? When even I admit I am going off the deep end right now...stupid work.

Posted on April 26, 2012 at 5:10 PM by Jared Highlight this comment 5

My precioussss... stadium cash. We wants it, must have the precious, must haves it!!!

Posted on April 26, 2012 at 5:35 PM by Piggy Wilf Highlight this comment 6

That was an honest, if depressing, take on the stadium situation. I realize how messed up the bill is right now, but as a Vikings fan and season ticket holder, I'll admit to hoping that it all works out somehow this year.

If things crater in St. Paul in the coming days and the Vikings actually decide to deal with Hennepin County, would that get the state's portion of the funding done anymore easily? It seems like the same divided interests and political games would still be waiting to rear their ugly heads.

I also don't have much faith in the Vikings to avoid lashing out with hard words and threats that will harm their cause rather than help it. It's hard to tell whether the team actually thinks it's getting somewhere in its quest this week or if it sees some of the things Rick pointed out.

As a last point, although the Twins still managed to get Target Field with the Minneapolis referendum rule in place, their insanely botched 1997 stadium push is directly to blame for that $10,000,000 cap existing in the first place.

Posted on April 26, 2012 at 5:51 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 7

once again rick takes unnecessary cheap shots and throws unwarranted satire at the general intelligence of vikings fans. guess what rick, i enjoy the vikings, and gopher football, and i also watch the tpt-mn channel quite a bit. and the bbc. and tpt.

that is right, i forgot. baseball fans (at least those who frequent on a daily basis), it seems, have superior intelligence to all other sports fans. well at least in this echo chamber of a chat room. and us common folk who like football are mostly just a big group of clueless rubes. never mind.

paint with a rather broad brush much? just saying, my man.

Posted on April 26, 2012 at 9:22 PM by Betaband Highlight this comment 8

and i love how some on here attempt to paint zygi wilf as somehow being "different" from the pohlad family when it comes to asking for public help in getting what is in many ways, a public asset, built.

give me a break. they are no different. if you are going to hold one to that standard, then hold the pohlads to the same one.

Posted on April 26, 2012 at 9:26 PM by Betaband Highlight this comment 9

Why such venom toward Rick? That was a very detailed and thought-out summary of the current proposed legislation, IMHO. Nothing more. Nothing less. Rick is just pointing out hurdles that will need to be overcome if this will pass. The Vikings aren't going anywhere right now; Goodell even said tonight that there has been no threat from the NFL that if nothing happens this year then the Vikes are gone. So why not let cooler heads prevail and come up with the BEST plan and not just the QUICKEST plan to get this done? You can't honestly say this plan is the best of possible options being floated around.

Posted on April 26, 2012 at 10:13 PM by TheTruthHurts Highlight this comment 10

Beta no laugh. Get off Beta lawn.

Posted on April 26, 2012 at 10:16 PM by Jared Highlight this comment 11

Ah yes. "Let it Be".

Who wrote that one: McCartney or Keith Richards. I always forget.

Posted on April 26, 2012 at 10:47 PM by N.D. (aka N.D. "Rube") Highlight this comment 12

Sometimes it feels like I'm writing textual Rorschach tests.

Meanwhile, the Strib may have dealt a crushing blow:

Vikings stadium deal: Public on the hook for operating overruns

Posted on April 26, 2012 at 11:25 PM by Rick 13

How much did you have to pony up to Sony and/or Apple Corps, for this outline of the Vikings' long and winding road?

Goo goo g'joob.

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 12:15 AM by Expectorate Highlight this comment 14

I also wonder where anybody gets the "Baseball fans are smarter than football fans" notion from what has been written and posted here. Unless that idea was planted while viewing another site, like "Rube Chat."

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 02:16 AM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 15

I haven't seen Rick paint Vikings fans "with a rather broad brush" or suggest baseball fans are smarter. If one were to get that impression from anything posted on this site, it would be from the things SOME Vikings fans have posted themselves. I think we all know the handful we're talking about.

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 07:23 AM by terry Highlight this comment 16

i learned more in this piece than anything written or reported in the local media. good job

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 08:38 AM by Dave A Highlight this comment 17

I would have used lyrics from "Flying", but that's just my opinion.

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 09:08 AM by DreDogg Highlight this comment 18

i learned more in this piece than anything written or reported in the local media. good job

Any honest unconnected observer should likely feel the same. But yea, this whole thing was a "broad brush" hit piece or something.

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 09:09 AM by GoAUpher Highlight this comment 19

I think the tptMN reference was a diss of tptMN and how boring it is, not any particular group of people for not watching it. I don't think anyone watches it, even Rick outside of stadium debates.

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 09:18 AM by spycake Highlight this comment 20

Delmon Young arrested in New York assault. (click name) Just getting out some anger after getting swept by the Mariners. Imagine what his rage would be if he was still playing here...

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 09:39 AM by Stevie B Highlight this comment 21

Funny how most here supported the Twins stadium as did I, but I really thought the Vikings should have been first. First off they never tried to fold and sell out and secondly because the Vikings are the most beloved team in the state. I will say there could have been better plans, but the state drug its feet and got involved too much in where it should go and what it should be. I know most in the state are pro stadium, for no reason less than to keep the Vikings as recent polls have shown. Hopefully our Legislature can stop trying to add poison pills to the bill and figure a way to get it to pass, otherwise I am almost sure this Novemeber democrat or republican, people will be voted out on stricktly this issue.

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 10:11 AM by casey Highlight this comment 22

Ah, a good ol' hate crime for Delmon too. Classy.

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 10:58 AM by DreDogg Highlight this comment 23

"Dude! You gotta see this clip I got of Cathy Wurzer making fun of Eskola's scarves!"

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 12:05 PM by schweady Highlight this comment 24

Most will find this a yawner, but the AP has published a handy little primer on the financial instruments proposed for the stadium:

Vikings stadium financing plan uses new bonds, complicated payoff

It includes a mention of the Hennepin County sales tax, which apparently is still included in a version of the bill somewhere. Keep Hennepin on your list of potential lawsuit filers should the bill pass.

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 2:48 PM by Rick 25

I wonder what the public reaction would be if Hennepin County raised the ballpark tax from .15% to lets say .25% to help fund a Vikings stadium. It's a very miniscule tax to begin with and people don't realize what EXACTLY they are contributing. You spend $100 and its a whole $0.15...if you raise that to .25%, it would be $0.25 on every $100 or $0.05 on every $20.00...still very miniscule. Not to mention, I am sure that tax is exempt from food and other necessities.

But people just hear "tax increase" and they get so worked up over it without realizing what they would ACTUALLY be contributing. And if it bothers you to pay the tax in Hennepin County, than drive to Dakota, Ramsey or Wright County and spend MORE money on gas.

I think the public needs to be better educated with these "taxes" and how it would directly impact them. No one mentions that the Hennepin County libraries have also benefited from this ballpark tax by offering extended hours.

I truly hope Hennepin County can get involved with the Vikings and promote the "ballpark tax"

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 3:22 PM by Mike (aka Mike) Highlight this comment 26

So much stuff gets added and taken out everytime the Vikings stadium bill moves through a committee that it's hard to say, at times, what is hard wired in and what is garbage someone stuck in there to gum up the works.

Do Rosen, Lanning, Dayton, and the Vikings really think they can really railroad Hennepin County into being a backup funding source or did that just get stuck in there along the way as a monkey wrench or as a placeholder for something else?

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 3:40 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 27

"A million here, a million there, pretty soon, you're talking real money."

--- Everett Dirkson

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 4:45 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 28

I wonder what the public reaction would be if Hennepin County raised the ballpark tax from .15% to lets say .25% to help fund a Vikings stadium.

We may find out, as this is apparently a key part of HC's plan for the Stadium District site should the Dome site fail to pass this session.

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 4:56 PM by GoAUpher Highlight this comment 29

Anyone want to go to tonight's Twins game? Section 325, Row 1, message me (click name). I can send you tickets or meet you at game.

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 5:32 PM by tk Highlight this comment 30

Tickets are free BTW

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 6:03 PM by tk Highlight this comment 31

Wow...Now tickets are being given away for Friday night games.

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 6:12 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 32

I am watching the stream of the Vikings stadium hearing. Senator John Marty drives me absolutely insane. I don't know how much more viewing I can take. Blood pressure is rising.....

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 6:14 PM by Jeff T. Highlight this comment 33

Kevin, I am already at $200 of tickets I can't giveaway, tickets still available...

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 6:23 PM by tk Highlight this comment 34

Rick do you really get off on making people think you know what is going on with the Viking stadium. The biggest problem is everybody is trying to get in on the income pie. Once you eliminate all of the people asking for their share they can get down to business, get the bill through committee and to both floors for votes.

Oh wait Lord Opat also has to get his hand in the cookie jar. Screw Opat, screw Hennipen County, if they had such a sure win win proposal what good does it do for them to withhold it until they see fit as to reveal the details. Do they need their egos to be stroked by having the state, the city, and the team to come crawling to them for saving them. Thats BS and you need to figure that out and quit going on with the almighty "its alright folks Mr. Opat will save the day, he is just waiting for them to ask nicely" attitude. He will not be the savior in the end that you think he is going to be!

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 6:56 PM by Bigdog Steve Highlight this comment 35

Bigdog Steve, is Opat involved right now? Do they have a deal?

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 7:04 PM by tk Highlight this comment 36

Actually, watching the stream of this tax committee is a little like watching a Monty Python skit.

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 7:06 PM by Jeff T. Highlight this comment 37

New York Times "Architectural Review" of the new Marlins Ballpark. (linky!)

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 7:08 PM by F_T_K Highlight this comment 38

Hey - let them build all the stadiums they want. JUST NO PUBLIC MONEY should be used to pay for stadium and they have to repay the state for all the expense - legislative salaries, wasted time, slush funds, bribes, etc.

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 7:33 PM by jimjohnjonesmn Highlight this comment 39

"Everybody Clap Your Hands" rears its ugly head, but Span delivers RBI single to tie it 4-4.

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 8:21 PM by tk Highlight this comment 40

Twins finally realize Target Field race is shorter to run towards 3rd base dugout...

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 8:24 PM by tk Highlight this comment 41

And just when I thought we'd heard all the outlandish rhetoric from the "die hard" fans, a new entry in the Face Painted Beauty Pageant emerges. Hey guys, there are stereotypes you want to perpetuate and there are some you want to eliminate. Does anyone think Big Dog's approach is the sort that would be effective with elected officials?

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 9:56 PM by terry Highlight this comment 42

Perhaps, if Big Dog learned what a question mark is and when to use it.

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 10:02 PM by TheTruthHurts Highlight this comment 43

This is getting scary. I made no secret I had zero expectations of this team this season. But, the nasty record, despite decent starts from Span and Mauer doesn't bode well. You know Span won't keep that up, and Joe is on the countdown to the DL. It is downright sad to see how this team squandered the Target Field equity it was given. If I were Pohlad, I'd be pissed. This was bad management all around.

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 10:22 PM by twinswschamps2113 Highlight this comment 44

Not only is it sad that management had squandered the Target Field equity, but it is amazing just how quickly it was done. Isn't the entire season ticket wait list (on deck circle) gone? Renewals seemed to drop off a cliff his year and I suspect that the only reason that it wasn't worse was that folks are banking on the 2014 All Star Game being awarded to Minnesota.

One of the most beautiful parks in the majors is now in Minneapolis, but that doesn't count for much if the team is the worst in MLB with little realistic chance that the team will even have a mathematical chance in July, let alone a realistic one.

I still don't know how things got so bad so fast. Only so much credit you can attribute to Bill Smith.

Posted on April 28, 2012 at 02:52 AM by Jfh Highlight this comment 45

Question for Rick on the 'Crystal Ball Challenge': If Liriano gets traded, would his ERA tiebreaker just for his time with the Twins, or would it be for the entire season?

Not a nice day for outdoor baseball today, but it's a Fox "game of the week" (somewhere a scheduler is kicking themselves!) so watch it at home. Tomorrow looks like it could be very nice, though!

Posted on April 28, 2012 at 07:21 AM by F_T_K Highlight this comment 46

There is a guy on the Bay who, between just sold and still listed, has around fifty of the lures from last night night. Think the Twins might have a security problem? Or, maybe he just brought a busload of homeless people to the game ala the bobblehead days.

Posted on April 28, 2012 at 09:41 AM by Ben Highlight this comment 47

JFH good to see you posting here again. I think the reality is that this is not really a "baseball town" when the majority of the TF attending crowd is the 2-3 times/year people. It's killing resale of season tickets. Not because people are trying to make money, but because STH can't go to 81 games/yr. The 2-3 people were more eager in the first couple of years, but now that they've seen the park they're not interested in watching baseball anymore.

Posted on April 28, 2012 at 11:01 AM by jctwins Highlight this comment 48

From my perspective weather has just as much an impact (if not more) than how well the team does.

I live outside the metro and it was near impossible to get groups together in advance. The reason being they did not want to chance it being a cold rainy(snowy) miserable day. For some of my group it's a 3 hour drive one-way so your talking a full day commitment to attend a game. This makes attending a game on the whim (oh it's a nice day today let's go to a Twins game) near impossible. Thus, it's hard to plan in advance and you can't go on a whim. This leaves trying to plan in advance on days with better chances of good weather like mid summer or early fall days.

These people enjoy going to a game, but they still want value for their dollar. And being cold and miserable equates to a very bad value for an entire day commitment.

Posted on April 28, 2012 at 11:18 AM by Dave Highlight this comment 49

Ben all of the ushers that work a game get that days give away. I wonder if that is the case with all of the twins employees, from the elevator guy to the cleaning crew? If that is the case, I'm sure it wouldn't be hard for someone to start a group that would be willing to turn over each games item for cash. I'm sure many of these employees don't make much. I really can't blame them if they are just trying to make a little on the side. Do you think they have a policy against it?

Posted on April 28, 2012 at 11:54 AM by minn55441 Highlight this comment 50

minn55 ---

I doubt there is a policy against it and did consider, briefly, your theory. Fifty is an awful lot. It is not uncommon to see perhaps a dozen popular items listed by one seller - but I don't think I've ever seen this many. Just a bit odd IMO.

Posted on April 28, 2012 at 1:01 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 51

But one should consider how many people are working a game and what percentage of said number would be needed to reach 50. If say the employees are broken down into various groups (i.e. ushers, vendors, custodial, grounds, security), and a small group of employees representing each group were to talk some of their fellow staffers into a little money-making venture, it might be easier to imagine fifty people throwing in on the plan. Then one person posts the items on eBay and the proceeds of the sales are evenly divided among the participants. With so many give-away nights on the schedule, it might be a lucrative little endeavor.

Posted on April 28, 2012 at 1:40 PM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 52

Certainly a feasible hypothesis - it just seems we would have seen it action before now.

Revere back to AAA. Was tomorrow "Ben Revere Bat Day" or just "Bat Day"?

Posted on April 28, 2012 at 1:50 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 53

Fifty lures is a lot considering they were to go to the first 5,000 fans. Last year we went to one of the calendar give away games. There were to be 20,000 for each game. When we arrived at game time we were told all of the calendars were gone. Later in the game we saw an usher go to his stash, aka backpack with water, notebook, and about 10 calendars. Pretty lame about the calendars and I think more so about the lures.

Posted on April 28, 2012 at 4:13 PM by NotMendoza Highlight this comment 54

Another curiousity - at the risk of riling up all the anti "trinket" types here - is that the lure has no theme. Up 'til now it was always a so & so Rapala, a player (Radke, JJ, etc.) or something more than just the generic "Twins" (Inaugural Season, etc.). So --- they had no takers or promotional ideas?

Posted on April 28, 2012 at 4:14 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 55

Had the Twins been patient, they'd be playing ball right now. Oh well. I don't blame them for waiting until June 30. Shiver in April or bask in the summer sun? Easy choice. I have tickets that night already and now have tickets to a day/night doubleheader. Somewhere Calvin Griffith's ghost is smiling.

Posted on April 28, 2012 at 4:27 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 56

Easy choice for the fan --- but has to be monumental PITA for the team. They must have to pay all those employees something for showing up and the cost of rescheduling, logistics, etc. have got to be significant. I wonder if there is some sort of business interruption insurance involved?

Posted on April 28, 2012 at 4:38 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 57

By the way, Rick, your overview of the Vikings stadium situation is excellent. I only disagree with one point. I believe that you place too much faith in the 2013 Legislature to pass a stadium bill. I have become so cynical towards Minnesota politics that I don't believe they are, or will be, capable of agreeing on anything. They are literally incompetent. The only thing that will stop the Vikings from moving is having no place to go. As soon as place becomes available, they will be gone. I hope I am wrong.

Posted on April 28, 2012 at 8:00 PM by Jeff T. Highlight this comment 58

For those of us hoping for a Viking Stadium, the house failed to meet today because the GOP caucus had to meet with (and get their instructions from) Grover Norquist. That does not bode well for a Viking Stadium.

Posted on April 28, 2012 at 8:43 PM by terry Highlight this comment 59

Terry - what you stated in your post proves my point. There are many members of the Legislature, starting with Kurt Zellars, that will do anything to avoid a vote on the Viking bill and put their name behind a "yes or no.". There are a lot of political games being played right now, and Minnesota suffers because of it. If private sector employees had the same track record as the Legislature over the past few years, they would be fired on the spot.

Posted on April 28, 2012 at 10:30 PM by Jeff T. Highlight this comment 60

If the majority of Twins fans are 2-3 times a year, then TF and the Twins are doomed. I live 1300 miles away and still go to 9-15 games a year. I don't buy "I don't come because the wrather may be bad" arguments - I was at the first TF rainout. Bummer, but that doesn't diminish my desire to see outdoor baseball.

But I didn't sign up to pay 40% more or whatever the difference between Dome and TF prices are to see a AA team play in a major league park. Most teams begin to lose the new park effect in a little over 4 years. The Twins did it in about a year and a half and blew through a significant waiting list because fans didn't see that management actually had a plan for the team - they apparently thought that just opening the park would be enough.

I agree with Dave's value for dollars argument, but at the ticket prices the Twins are charging, that means fielding a strong team, not just 25 players in uniform. (I do thnk the TF value is there - concession prices, game day experience, etc., but that only gets you a few games a year - the rest has to come from the product on the field).

I'm also not a fan of trying to sell a majority of season tickets on the secondary market. A handful, sure. But if an STH establishes a group of fans and splits tickets for the season (don't most do that?), they don't carry the risk of eating 60 games or whatever. I have no sympathy for those STHs that went and bought 8 seats for resale, hoping to get 2x-3x for every game.

I think the Twins shot themselves in the foot raising prices last year - they need to reduce prices to win back those disenfranchised by the extent to which scalpers and speculators took over in 2010 (ironically, helped by the fact the team played well).. of course, if the team continues to have the worst record in baseball, price reductions aren't going to help.

(As for any Vikings stadium discussion - I don't care. The NFL has gone where MLB is headed - too expensive for the average fan and the taxpayers. A large group of people is going to be unhappy no matter what the outcome of the stadium discussion).

Posted on April 29, 2012 at 02:01 AM by Jfh Highlight this comment 61

There has got to be a method to the madness here. The team is not MLB quality player-wise and no attempt, however feeble, is being made to improve it. Anywhere else in baseball Gardenhire, Anderson, Vavra, et al would be sweeping up and emptying trash rather than managing professional ball players. The owners seem oblivious to the fact that the city is burning to the strains of fiddle music. Yet the fans are, in large part, still gobbling up $9 meatballs and washing them down with $8 beers while wearing ridiculously priced shirts with somebody else's name on the back (and having no clue what the score of the game is). And the Pohlads are shits and giggles all the way to the bank. Baseball is an afterthought here - it's the stadium and the "stadium experience" that is being sold. What is going on? Where else on Earth would ownership get away with this scenario? Perhaps the method is to milk this cow out for all it's worth and then sell it before it drops?

Posted on April 29, 2012 at 06:29 AM by Ben Highlight this comment 62

have to ask, what should the Twins be doing? One of our complaints last year was that Mauer wasn’t in the line-up every day. This year they’ve started the season with him catching, or playing first, or DHing to keep his bat in the line-up. They’ve signed a small number of free agents to replace guys who were here before and have tried to wring value out of players who would be otherwise overlooked. They don’t have much of anything to offer in trade for established stars in their primes, and after years of contention and lower draft positions, have watched the farms become depleted. I suppose they could trade away talent for futures, but who? There’s a limited market for Morneau or Mauer only because of their health issues and their price tags. The Yanks, Sox, and perhaps the Cubs and Dodgers know they’re the only teams in that limited market and won’t offer much in trade. Why should they? Where else would the Twins unload Mauer; Pittsburgh? If they threw all-in on free agency, that has proven not to be the answer either. The Yankees, as good as they usually are, build their teams through their farm system. How are they doing it without consistently high draft positions?

Where else can the Twins find the pitching they need? We’d all like to see them put a dominant 1-2 out on the mound a couple times a week, but where are they and how would the Twins manage to pry them lose? Where can they get affordable, reliable bullpen arms when every other team is looking for the same thing?

I’m not trying to seem disrespectful of your complaints here; I just wonder what the answer for this team is.

Posted on April 29, 2012 at 10:05 AM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 63

There is a little thing in baseball known as the off-season. The weaknesses of this team were/are wewll known to pretty much anybody with a pulse. The Twins had ample opportunity to at least incrementally improve over the winter. And --- diving in the dumpster does not count. Do you really think the team did all it reasonably could?

Posted on April 29, 2012 at 10:11 AM by Ben Highlight this comment 64

JFH. When I was talking about re-sale, it was to those very groups you're describing. The STH finds about 10 people that are 3-5 types to split with. Suddenly, though, those people are becoming 1-2 types that don't want to commit because they know they can buy below face on Stubhub day of game with no need to plan ahead.

Posted on April 29, 2012 at 10:38 AM by jctwins Highlight this comment 65

Well, Ben, what would you have done? Who would you have traded and to whom? For whom? Where would you pick up two dominant starters and how much would you have paid? Would you be willing to blow up your budget and businesss plan to field a strong contender? How has that worked out for the $200M payroll of the Cubs the last few years? How would you manage the on-field talent differently?

Let's put some specifics on the table here.

Posted on April 29, 2012 at 11:05 AM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 66

Well, it would appear that Los Angeles will get TWO teams next season.

Zygs called me this morning and informed me that he has contacted the Allied Moving Company, and trailers will begin embarking upon the Metrodome sometime this week. Zygs told me that the Vikings will be out of the Metrodome by Thursday afternoon and will start heading towards LA on Thursday evening. The LA Times has not reported it yet, but the LA 'Queens will play two seasons at LA Coliseum.

Sorry, Minnesota.

It also appears that Los Angeles will once again have two MLB teams. The Angels want out of Anaheim and the "antiquated" Angels Stadium. Fancy that, they just renovated the damn place 15 years ago. Clicky.

Posted on April 29, 2012 at 11:16 AM by luke (aka 4-158) Highlight this comment 67

"What would you have done?"

I once heard a caller to one of the sports "Rant Radio" shows suggest that what the Vikings needed to do was trade Todd Bouman, a journeyman backup QB at best, for a first round draft pick. The caller was combining second guessing with fantasizing. I think that's what we're engaging in if we think there were DO-ABLE options out there this past off-season that would have turned the 2012 Twins into contenders. Enjoy Target Field while we wait for some of those sluggers we have at class A to progress through the system.

Posted on April 29, 2012 at 11:29 AM by terry Highlight this comment 68

The only reason I kept season tickets this year is because I found a couple new partners. We have already lost for next year, and I can't give away tickets.

Posted on April 29, 2012 at 11:55 AM by tk Highlight this comment 69

The Twins front office blew a major opportunity for ticket sales and the new ballpark with their lackluster roster.

The Twins actually revised their rainout policy meaning you can now redeem your ticket from the postponed game to any future non-premium game or you can keep you postponed ticket and go to the rescheduled game. That means ticket sales are clearly lacking this year because the Twins would have NEVER thought of doing this the last two years. I was at the postponed game last year on April 22 (Friday night) and they rescheduled it for a Monday afternoon in July. Well I couldn't make that game so I had to sell. Now with ticket sales lacking, they actually let you redeem your tickets for any future non-premium game.

I think the Twins marketing/ticket sales department is going to need to re-introduce a new flex-40/flex-20 type of plan as well as a weekend package of some sort if they want to get new season ticket holders or keep existing STH's.

And as others have stated, I don't feel sorry one bit for those STH's who stocked up on tickets hoping to get better seats and higher re-sale value. I am sure a lot of those people are having second thoughts this year after taking big hits on many games. And its not looking any better for 2013 and beyond at this point.

Posted on April 29, 2012 at 12:59 PM by Mike Highlight this comment 70

I've been down with a bad cold, so forgive me for playing catch-up...

Crystal Ball -- Liriano will still be Liriano even if he's not with the Twins. Won't be as fun, I suppose, but could be MORE fun if he's losing for another team.

Fishing Lures -- Who's to say somebody didn't just go around and pick them from the seating bowl after the game? If I'd gotten one, it would have likely been left behind somewhere. Seems like picking up 50 would only take about 15 minutes after most of the crowd was gone. (Or maybe he's part of the clean-up crew...)

Weather -- Seems like they could have played that game last night, maybe a 4:00PM start time. As for those not willing to come to town because it might rain, there are lots of other things to do in Minneapolis, you know.

Up or Down Votes -- This whole "nobody wants to vote" criticism is just so...empty. As I've tried to say many times before, legislators don't get paid to vote on things. They get paid to wrangle and haggle and horse-trade and talk and sometimes even do nothing (especially if the somethings on the table are all unattractive). Voting is a tiny piece of the puzzle, albeit a very visible one. As far as the Vikings stadium goes, legislators have done a whole lot more work on it this year than anyone wanted to when they got there. Even if nothing comes of it now (the likely outcome), you gotta give them props for the huge amounts of (unfortunately misguided) work they've done. And I'd say that they've laid a firm foundation for what will become the ultimate solution next year.

(Confidential to aka 4-158: Everybody else is giving the whole LA thing a rest. Why not you? The Vikes ain't going anywhere any time soon and everybody knows it. I bet they wish they could play the "contraction" card.)

Offseason Moves -- Aaron Gleeman posted a list back in February (sorry, can't find the link) of better and cheaper relievers that the Twins could have easily signed if they hadn't sat on their hands. Our bullpen could have been a lot better for a lot less money. But starting pitching? That's firmly in Bill Smith's lap. There was nothing that could have been done during the most recent offseason, but they should have begun addressing the problem three or four years ago.

Posted on April 29, 2012 at 1:27 PM by Rick 71

As for the braintrust, I think Gardy's widely considered to be one of the best. And his lieutenants all are surely competent, even highly-revered.

But there comes a time when things need to be shaken up just because things need to be shaken up. And, personally, I think we're approaching that point.

The hitters need a different voice whispering in their ears, and maybe the pitchers do to. And the training staff, whoever they are, seems to be in some sort of weird denial mode which is causing all sorts of problems. They need a shake-up.

Here's a very cool article which has nothing to do with baseball, but it contains a large section about collaborative teams, specifically those which produce Broadway musicals.

You may not realize it, but the composer, lyricist, director and choreographer are to a Broadway musical what the GM, manager, pitching and hitting coaches are to a professional baseball team. The analogy is not perfect, but very useful.

It turns out that, after a point, familiarity among members of a collaborative team actually works against success:

"The best Broadway shows were produced by networks with an intermediate level of social intimacy. ... 'The best Broadway teams, by far, were those with a mix of relationships,' Uzzi says. 'These teams had some old friends, but they also had newbies. This mixture meant that the artists could interact efficiently—they had a familiar structure to fall back on—but they also managed to incorporate some new ideas. They were comfortable with each other, but they weren’t too comfortable.'"

The biggest problem with the Twins braintrust may be that they've simply been together too long.

Posted on April 29, 2012 at 2:02 PM by Rick 72

(Confidential to Rick...WHO has given up on the LA option? Did you MISS Goodell's visit?) It WILL happen if they don't pass the stadium. I want the Vikings to stay, but good sir, we ARE running out of time. Rant over.

Posted on April 29, 2012 at 4:12 PM by luke (aka 3-159) Highlight this comment 73

Oh where oh where is my stadium cash
Oh where oh where can it be?
Please reach in the wallets of all the taxpayers
and give their money to me!

Posted on April 29, 2012 at 5:06 PM by Piggy Wilf Highlight this comment 74

How is video lottery games a tax from the hard working Minnesota's wallets? Are you being forced to play?

Posted on April 29, 2012 at 6:55 PM by bmjundt Highlight this comment 75

bmjundt, if the lottery money doesn't meet expectations and there overages, money doesn't just appear.

Posted on April 29, 2012 at 9:33 PM by tk Highlight this comment 76


I didn't miss the visit. But you, apparently, missed all of the analysis (and Goodell's own words!) indicating that there is ZERO chance of a Vikings move any time in the foreseeable future, and that the NFL would MUCH PREFER expansion to relocation (for some very obvious reasons). Pay attention. (I could give you 50 links, but how about just one from a couple of months ago.)


It's a tax if it involves paying the government.

For example, no one forces you to buy a hammer. But if you do, you have to make a corresponding payment to the government (called "sales tax").

Likewise, no one forces you to gamble. But if you do, you have to make a corresponding payment to the government.

Not rocket science.

Posted on April 29, 2012 at 9:39 PM by Rick 77

jctwins - gotcha. That's unfortunate.

Mike - I agree. Because the Twins have squandered the new stadium effect benefits, they need to improve ST benefits now/next season. Bringing back flex plans is one good idea, but that won't do anything to retain those on full season plans.

If there is sufficient inventory (and it appears there is), the Twins not only need to bring back the exchange program, but improve it. Rather than have a couple games a year where unused tickets could be exchanged, do something like the Rockies do and allow unused tickets for future games be exchanged for future games and allow unused tickets for past games be exchanged for traditionally less popular series during the summer or almost any September game. (Premium games excluded). That is a real, tangible benefit to being a season ticket holder in Colorado - not things like the silly "Sweet Spot" stuff. (we have that stuff too - I had my picture taken with Michael Cuddyer a couple weeks ago.)

Posted on April 29, 2012 at 10:37 PM by Jfh Highlight this comment 78

Ben - the approach seems to work well in Pittsburg, Kansas City, Oakland and Houston.

Like Minnesota, they don't have enough diehard fans to even have reasonable home attendance, so they have to win to get butts in seats. But they aren't built to compete, so if they do start winning, they don't have the talent or experience to turn a streak into a consistent team.

As for what could they have done - almost anything but what they did last off-season.

Posted on April 29, 2012 at 10:47 PM by Jfh Highlight this comment 79

The NFL has definitively said there will be no team in Los Angeles for the 2012 season. Of the two potential Los Angeles stadiums, neither is concrete. Farmers Field, in downtown, won't have final approval until around November of 2012 at the earliest. There have been reports that the NFL is not a fan of its business model which has AEG building the stadium privately and then taking a fixed share of revenue out of the facility with the rest going to the NFL tenant (the gist being AEG’s share would be too much). However, this format is already successfully in place at Staples Center with AEG, the Lakers, Clippers, and Kings. The Los Angeles Stadium project, in suburban City of Industry, has approval. The catch is the team must finance the stadium 100% privately and sell (at market value) 1/3 of the team to the land's owner Ed Roski. It remains to be seen if any team is willing to accept those terms. There’s an outside chance the parking lot of Dodger Stadium may eventually host a stadium, but that’s just talk at this point. The NFL won't let a team go to LA until a definite stadium is in place and that’s not a lock as of yet.

I happen to think an NFL team in Los Angeles is inevitable. While the league appreciates the benefit that area provides as leverage for struggling teams in their current markets, it was neither the NFL's intent to abandon LA or to subsequently let it sit open for so long (the Raiders weren’t supposed to move out and the 2002 expansion that created the Houston Texans was intended to create a new LA team). The market is too valuable to the league’s media, sponsorship, and marketing contracts to indefinitely sit open and this current run of stadium talk there provides the best chance the league will have for a decade plus to fill that market. Regardless, the NFL won’t rush in without the right conditions for success. For the record, the Vikings are not the first choice of the NFL which values this market and thinks the situation here will eventually be resolved while also thinking the Chargers are far less likely to get a new stadium in San Diego. The length of time the Vikings and the NFL will wait is by no means indefinite. The Vikes could still eventually go if nothing ultimately happens, but failure to approve a stadium in his session won’t signal an immediate relocation.

Posted on April 29, 2012 at 10:53 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 80

I agree that LA will inevitably have a team, but the Vikings will be playing their third season over by Target Field when it happens.

It amazes me that fans take the team and league bullsh!t so literally. But it amazes me even more when the commish says it ain't so, and the fans don't even bother to listen.

Very weird.

Posted on April 29, 2012 at 11:04 PM by Rick 81

I don't buy Goodell's expansion over relocation comment, nor should anyone else. That's him both answering and not answering the question in the name of good politics.

If he said LA would get a team via relocation, it would unnecessarily turn up the heat on him and the NFL while also complicating things tremendously for the half dozen or so teams that would be considered viable for potentially moving. Since neither Los Angeles stadium is close enough to being a reality and none of the possible teams were or are at Defcon 5 in their stadium quests, inviting trouble by openly suggesting relocation is bad business.

In addition, the league has a perfectly symetrical divisional and scheduling format that going to 34 teams would throw off kilter. It would also fill a viable market without simultaneously emptying one for use as leverage. Finally, unless the NFL placed two teams in LA simultaneously, a bad idea on several levels, there isn't another open market capable of hosting a right now.

Relocation is the best answer, but it isn't happening until 2013 at the very earliest, so Goodell is just throwing some red herrings out to keep everyone cool.

Posted on April 29, 2012 at 11:11 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 82

"hosting a team right now"

Posted on April 29, 2012 at 11:13 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 83

And I didn't even italicize the right word. Good night!

Posted on April 29, 2012 at 11:14 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 84

It's a tax if it involves paying the government.

For example, no one forces you to buy a hammer. But if you do, you have to make a corresponding payment to the government (called "sales tax").

Likewise, no one forces you to gamble. But if you do, you have to make a corresponding payment to the government.

Not rocket science.

What an insanely ridiculous comparison you are making. You cannot compare sales tax versus gambling. First of all even if you don't buy the hammer you are going to buy something else. I'm pretty sure that you could make a choice to not gamble at all in your life. Or at least not the type that would contribute to a stadium. But I highly doubt you are going to go through life without purchasing things. Perhaps if you are Amish.

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 09:00 AM by Somewhatawesome (aka moda) Highlight this comment 85

I was responding to the commenter that said "Please reach in the wallets of all the taxpayers
and give their money to me!"

You don't have to gamble and there is no tax that is going to touch every taxpayer. Ridiculous. Rick you sure think you are right on everything. "It's not rocket science." Who do you think you are? You think you understand politics and sports economics better than anyone else in this state? As others have stated you don't seem very pro-stadium. This issue is all about building a stadium so we don't lose the Vikings. Having a revenue source for that construction that includes a new video lottery game is an excellent source of revenue. Only those legistlators that oppose the stadium think that the revenue generated from the new games won't be enough. The state experts are convinced it is sufficient.

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 09:58 AM by bmjundt Highlight this comment 86

Rick - lay out your ideas for funding the new stadium. Target Field doesn't exist without the tax in Hennipen county. Most people ignore the fact that when I pay for parking, eat and drink before, during and after the game that I am paying a sales tax that goes to that same pot. People always want "user fees". Target Field has that funding source.

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 10:39 AM by bmjundt Highlight this comment 87

Rick - lay out your ideas for funding the new stadium. Target Field doesn't exist without the tax in Hennipen county. Most people ignore the fact that when I pay for parking, eat and drink before, during and after the game that I am paying a sales tax that goes to that same pot. People always want "user fees". Target Field has that funding source.

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 10:40 AM by bmjundt Highlight this comment 88

What does Rick have to say or do to demonstrate he's sufficiently "Pro-Stadium?"

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 11:17 AM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 89

"What does Rick have to say or do to demonstrate he is sufficiently pro-stadium?"

Be belligerent, go on profanity-laced tirades, speak as though this is the end of western civilization as we have heretofore known it, threaten legislators, insult people who would otherwise be your allies - you know, say the kind of things we've seen written on this site for the last six months.

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 11:37 AM by terry Highlight this comment 90


My mother has never purchased a hammer in her whole life. (She does, however, gamble on occasion.) Give me your definition of a tax and I'll consider it.

The key component is that, while it may be conditional on some sort of action on your part, the payment is still compulsory. In other words: IF you do THIS, then you MUST pay THAT.

That's why there aren't taxes on things like clothing and food. Those are truly things that people have no choice about. (There are some legislators who would like to change that.)

Any language which gets used to make a tax sound like something different ("revenue enhancement" "user fees") is just trying to sell you a bill of goods.

If taxes were optional, no one would pay them.

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 11:49 AM by Rick 91


You are correct, of course, that not every tax touches every citizen. I've never paid a boat tax in my life, and probably never will. And I'm unlikely to be found playing electronic pull tabs, thus I'm unlikely to ever pay the corresponding tax, though it isn't completely out of the question.

This is where the subject of taxes gets into the question of how they affect various constituencies in society. That's really not pertinent to this debate.

I've said many times, and it is still true, that I have no personal objection to expansions of gambling, even ones which facilitate the construction of a new Vikings stadium -- with a couple of caveats.

First, I'm very suspicious of the projections. I'm with the legislator who described the projections as "fairy dust numbers". They seem awfully convenient to this process, and when you ask the question about how they were calculated, you get only vague answers about "more young people" and "lower costs" of some sort.

Second, gambling revenue is highly dependent on the economy. It is a decidedly variable form of income, and just plain can't be counted on to remain constant from one year to the next. As such, it makes a bad funding source for projects where the costs will remain steady from year to year. (Actually, its variability makes it bad for anything which is non-discretionary. And though starting a stadium project is discretionary, once begun, the payments become non-optional.)

If I were a bond house, I'd charge through the nose for any bonds being secured with gambling revenue, especially because the current bill uses a special kind of bond which is not backed by the "full faith and credit" of the state, making it a significantly higher risk.

To summarize, I do not have any social objection to gambling revenues, but they don't look like a very stable component of this plan.

"This issue is all about building a stadium so we don't lose the Vikings."

You sound worried. Don't be.

I would never claim to understand all economics or state politics or even all stadium politics. But I have been following stadium politics very closely (and writing about it) for about 15 years.

This year's session was an unfortunate delay because the plan, as originally designed, basically never stood any chance of getting through and resulting in a stadium. (It might still get through, but I still don't see it resulting in a stadium.)

My preference would be for the Wilfs to have continued negotiating with Hennepin County, who control a revenue source (the tax used to build Target Field) which is perfect for everyone concerned. Just like the Twins, they will have to accept some compromises, but just like the Twins, they'll get a beautiful new stadium in their preferred market.

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 12:05 PM by Rick 92

Rick are we talking about a hammer tax? You compared gambling to buying a hammer. Which is ludicrous. Your mother might not have bought a hammer. But has she bought anything in her life other than a hammer? She chooses to gamble occasionally. She doesn't have to do that. I'm pretty sure she can't go through life without buying something with a sales tax on it.

The best part is it isn't even on ALL gambling. It is on a very specific sort of gambling which doesn't even exist in this state yet so indeed one could very easily choose to not participate. Comparing it to a sales tax is just ridiculous.

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 12:08 PM by moda Highlight this comment 93


Obviously, Goodell has a wide variety of constituencies hanging on his every word. I don't doubt that he says one thing in public and something very different in private. Whatever he said to Minnesota legislators last week certainly caught their attention.

But forces being what they are, most analysis that I read suggests that the owners are the primary source of pressure for using LA as leverage (for now) and expansion market (eventually), and mostly because of the associated fees they would be paid.

Rattling sabres is very risky business with the Minnesota Legislature. He caught some attention, to be sure, but he likely also hardened some of the resistance. That's the type of move he can probably do only once without pissing off a majority of the decision-makers.

Ultimately, one wishes that the Vikings had learned a little something (anything) from the Twins and Gophers experience. If they had, construction might be imminent.

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 12:23 PM by Rick 94

It is a choice to buy a hammer. But if you choose to buy one, you must pay the tax.

It is a choice to gamble. But if you choose to gamble, you must pay the tax.

If using a hammer for the analogy bothers you, just substitute anything else: car, telephone service, cable TV, greeting cards, a Chocolate Xtreme DQ Blizzard, gasoline.

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 12:27 PM by Rick 95

Thanks to you all, I have Trini Lopez playing in my head.

...or Peter, Paul & Mary...whatever version of If I Had A AHmmer you prefer.

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 12:56 PM by DreDogg Highlight this comment 96

No Rick it is NOT even comparable because you can choose to not buy the hammer but you basically cannot choose not to engage in buying anything covered by sales tax. And any way you try to spin it is incorrect.

You are doing a very good job in trying to portray this as an apples to apples comparison but it isn't. Not in any way shape or form. To say that a very distinct form of gambling that doesn't even exist has any correspondence to buying "things" in general is comparing apples to cinder blocks.

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 1:28 PM by moda Highlight this comment 97

Pete Seeger.

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 1:29 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 98

I could very well decide not to ever gamble. I cannot decide to never ever pay sales tax again in this state. It just isn't possible.

One is possible, the other isn't possible. There is NO comparing the two.

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 1:29 PM by moda Highlight this comment 99

All we're trying to do here, moda, is define a tax.

A tax is money you pay to the government. Unless you make a voluntary payment, any money you pay to the government is a tax, plain and simple. They are called all sorts of things, and there are certainly different types and classes of taxes, but they all fall under the umbrella of a "tax".

Who pays which taxes, and what tax revenues are used for, is a completely different issue, generally considered to be irrelevant to stadium debates.

For example, one might reasonably ask if it makes sense for electronic pull tab gamblers to pay for a professional football stadium. It doesn't seem very logical to me, but if we were to call out all of the absurdities in the tax code, we'd be here all day. So, I say, whatever.

Strictly speaking, John Marty has a point when he says that people who use the stadium should pay for it. That seems pretty logical, if completely unrealistic.

Ah, John Marty, his heart is in the right place. (I feel I must write this sentence at least once during every stadium debate.)

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 2:11 PM by Rick 100

Well Rick I'm not sure who the We is here. You compared gambling to buying a hammer. That's a bit like me standing on the beach in Miami and talking to you on the phone in Alaska and talking about the nice weather we are having. Sure it's all about the weather. But it really isn't the same now is it?

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 2:21 PM by moda Highlight this comment 101

Ah --- for only a simpler time, when all one needed to do was give the Laird a couple of dead rabbits and supply the local regiment with a son or two.

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 2:26 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 102

Regardless of whether the Dome site makes it through or if the Vikings go back to Hennepin County, how is the state's portion of the bill going to get worked out? The legislature seems to have little interest in a workable plan for the state's share of load. It seems like we could be in the same spot in 365 days even if the Vikings came to St. Paul with an airtight funding package from the county. How does it get resolved?

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 2:31 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 103

My head hurts.

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 2:47 PM by tk Highlight this comment 104

Must have been a heck of a big hammer. I got over it rather quickly but then again I am tall will obnoxiously long legs.

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 2:52 PM by Jared Highlight this comment 105

tall with obnoxiously long legs...

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 2:53 PM by Jared Highlight this comment 106

Who Cares? Let em play in that hell hole or just leave! See ya latter! We can all just root for the pack.

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 2:58 PM by twinkfan Highlight this comment 107


If you're trying to convince me that it's OK to fund the Vikings stadium with gambling revenue, you're wasting your time. I'm already convinced! That's a perfectly fine way to fund it as far as I'm concerned! If you can get everyone to sign off on it, go for it!

But a couple of things. First, it doesn't matter what you call it, it's still a "tax". It happens to be a tax on a very small subset of society (which some would call "vulnerable"), but it's still a tax. And it very definitely has costs associated with it which are not part of the discussion, but that sort of casual oversight is very routine in government.

Second, I've strayed a little bit from the core of my point, which is this: While I don't object, there are plenty of constituencies within state government who object very much to expansions of gambling. And these are very powerful constituencies which will have to be placated before anything like that could pass. That makes it a pretty lousy choice to bring into a stadium discussion as a funding source. It basically guarantees a discussion which has nothing to do with stadiums, and yet is enough to kill the project.

How dumb is that?

If you want a good funding choice, one that's less likely to rile everybody up, well the Hennepin sales tax would do very nicely.

Whether that could have slipped past the extreme anti-tax wing of government in this session is another matter. But if this plan to tax increased gambling happens to slip past that particular constituency, it will likely be because the very real tax being imposed is being called something else and characterized as somehow voluntary -- which it most definitely is not. It will not be possible to use electronic pull tabs and not pay the tax. It will certainly be possible (for most of us) not to play electronic pull tabs. The act is voluntary, the tax is not.

Renaming taxes to make them sound like something else, or hiding them in relatively untraveled corners, or imposing them on vulnerable subsets of the citizenry with relatively small voices, is how we all get hoodwinked by the people making these decisions. Either that, or that's how they delude themselves into doing something which runs directly against publicly-stated "principles". (Maybe it's a little of both.)

I try to look at these things with clear eyes, and it's hard to do. Sometimes I probably fail.

But if pointing out the political stupidity of the plan as it is currently formulated makes me "anti-stadium", well then so be it.

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 3:11 PM by Rick 108


If the Vikes put up $500M (and assume cost overruns), and the county puts up $350M, you've got enough to build an incredible facility.

I don't buy any of the estimates of cost out there because they all come from the team (and it's collaborators) and seem to go up regularly with no explanation.

If the state must make a contribution, let it fund infrastructure improvements and maybe assemble the site. They could do these two things with spare change.

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 3:14 PM by Rick 109

Rick i agree with you that at some level it is indeed a tax, but it isn't the same thing as a sales tax and discussing it as though it were isn't being very truthful. Now the question is does taxing the people that CHOOSE to take part in this new gaming make sense? Does it make sense to tax everyone, without choice, by means of a sales tax? And what is more palatable by the public and the legislators (apparently the GOP doesn't look at this gambling as a new tax)

Have to take a second to laugh though because I don't think the current plan is going to float unless the politicians are so frothed at the mouth in trying to get what they want that they use this as the bargain chip. In which case it may end up that the GOP needs to give on this in order to get what they want.

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 3:28 PM by moda Highlight this comment 110

Rick, you've never paid a boat tax AND never been to a Vikings game? Clearly, you're not a real Minnesotan!

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 4:05 PM by BR Highlight this comment 111

I encourage Rick, and anyone else who has never been to a Vikings game at the Dome, to take one in, especially a regular season game. Apart from being a fun time, even when the team is lackluster, you really can't understand just how inconvenient and uncomfortable the place is for Vikings fans until you've experienced it personally. I realize convenience and comfort standards were far lower in the late 1970s than now, but you'll really wonder even more how and why the Dome's design was approved after you've watched Vikings game there. It's almost intolerable in the concourses for everyone and especially bad for women due to the restroom situation. If they ever had to evacuate that place in a hurry due to an emergency, there would be major trouble.

Come to think of it, clearing Target Field in a hurry would be trouble as well. Think of how slowly the upper deck empties in the main grandstand after games.

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 4:17 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 112

Jorge you haven't been to a game this year because emptying out the upper deck this year would take no time at all.

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 4:25 PM by moda Highlight this comment 113

The only thing Rick said was the same was that they were both taxes. He's made that pretty clear by now. If you want to "win" the point you'll probably end up waiting forever b/c he wasn't attempting to make the point you're hung up on. He's already agreed with you and said that not all taxes are the same. I'm confused as to what you're holding out for.

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 4:30 PM by GoAUpher Highlight this comment 114

I am going to have to disagree with you on this moda. For this reason, after a game no one is in a legitimate hurry to exit the grandstands. Last July 4th weekend when this came through I knew it was going to be an interesting night...

We went up to our seats to wait out the delay and then this bad boy rolled through.

It wasn't widespread panic in our area of the upper deck but the scramble did cause quite a bit of chaos and congestion that left many exposed to the elements for a while and barely half the people were in their seats. Luckily it was only torrential rain, 50-60mph wind gusts (IIRC somewhere in the neighborhood of 30-40 sustained for a few minutes) and some brief lightning or it could have been pretty bad.

On second read I see you said this year. To which I retract my above statement but still post anyway because I put the effort in to writing it...

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 5:47 PM by Jared Highlight this comment 115

...and I love sharing the pics because I am a weather geek too and I think they are super cool pictures.

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 5:48 PM by Jared Highlight this comment 116

A Vikings fan said something interesting on Pat Kessler's TV station tonight: "We Will Remember in November".

Yes sir, I agree.

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 6:08 PM by luke (aka 4-158) Highlight this comment 117

The reality is that no one will remember 20 seconds after the vote is taken, let alone months later. Most people will never even bother to find out how their own legislators voted.

Sad but true.

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 6:37 PM by Rick 118

The best things in life are free
but you can give them to the birds and bees
I want public stadium cash
that's what I want
stadium cash
that's what I want

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 6:38 PM by Piggy Wilf Highlight this comment 119

Oh, and on opening day, just try and figure out who among the smiling dignitaries worked hard to prevent the new stadium from being built. Most people will never realize that everybody loves credit...

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 6:40 PM by Rick 120

Good point Rick. I seem to remember an anti-tax suburban legislator who opposed all the various ballpark proposals. By the time the legislature did finally pass the Hennepin County ballpark bill, he had moved on to a different job. His longstanding opposition did not prevent him from making the bill signing a photo-op at the dome, even wearing a Twins jersey.

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 7:17 PM by terry Highlight this comment 121

Morneau back to town for MRI on repaired wrist.


Posted on May 1, 2012 at 03:46 AM by Ben Highlight this comment 122

Not sounding good for Morneau's wrist...I wonder if its the same wrist he had so many problems with a couple of years ago?

It can't be good when they fly you back to Minneapolis one game into a six-game west coast road trip to have it examined further.

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 07:37 AM by Mike Highlight this comment 123

Jared that's neat points about last year.... though I was joking about this year as it states in my post.

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 09:37 AM by moda Highlight this comment 124

The other day we all wondered about Larry Spooner, Vikings superfan and perpetual testifier. MinnPost fills in some gaps:

"Spooner co-chairs Minnesota Momentum, a pro-stadium group sanctioned by the Vikings. (Former coach Bud Grant is another co-chair.)"

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 09:46 AM by Rick 125

Just reading that tonight is the last game at Siebert Field before renovation. Here's what the new park will look like:

You can also see a little animated video tour here.

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 09:59 AM by Rick 126

It's been more than a decade (and three cameras ago) since the last time I visited Siebert. Even then, it was kind of a pit...

There's something roughly attractive in the design of the covered seating area. It's very much of its era (early 70s). But it has aged poorly. I remember feeling like there were splinters in my future if I sat down anywhere...

But it's heartening that they'll keep a ballpark on campus, given the alternatives which seem readily available.

I'm thinking of taking the boys out there tonight to see part of that game. Could be a fun time.

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 10:09 AM by Rick 127

The aforementioned John Marty is out with his analysis of the cost to taxpayers for the current proposal: $77.30 per seat, per game, for 30 years.

The summary (with Marty's actual documentation embedded) is featured on

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 10:27 AM by Rick 128

Rep Marty should do a similar report for what the cost would have been for the Guthrie Theatre if user fees were involved. I bet the cost of each ticket would be about $700.00!

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 10:34 AM by J2K Highlight this comment 129

But it's for the arts!

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 10:41 AM by Jorge Highlight this comment 130

I'm game for that!

The subsidy was a $25 million grant (so no financing charges) for the 2000-seat theater (actually three theaters of varying size, totaling 2000 seats).

If spread over the same 30 years, that's $417 per seat per year.

Breaking that down by performances is tougher because, unlike the Vikings (who have a solid 10 games per year), each play runs for a different length of time, and the theater also rents out space at various times.

But a quick look at their calendar yields an estimate of about 22 performances per week, or 1144 per year.

That would make the public subsidy around $0.36 per seat per event for 30 years.

Kind of a bargain, actually.

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 10:47 AM by Rick 131

I saw one game at Seibert Field in the early 1990s, but just couldn't get into it due to the small crowd its lack of noise and energy. Until you attend a game with only a few hundred people, you may fail to notice that games played in front of many thousands of people have a buzz of conversational noise. Even if loud cheers don't take place, that background sound is there. When I went to Seibert Field to see the Gophers play a team I can't recall, there may have been 500 fans tops and there was no background noise at all, just eerie silence. A whole part of the ballgame experience was missing. It felt oddly sterile and not very fun. Whatever one says about the game, it's also about the crowd and that element wasn't there.

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 10:50 AM by Jorge Highlight this comment 132

It's also worth noting that the building cost $125 million to build, meaning the public subsidy was 20% of the total. And remember that the Guthrie is a non-profit.

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 10:51 AM by Rick 133

To add to that Rick, Marty's numbers only count for the 10 Vikings games a year but do not include any numbers for any paid admission into the building every other day of the year that it will be used.

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 10:56 AM by moda Highlight this comment 134

Comparing the user fee price for the Guthrie and a Vikings stadium is a bit of an apples to oranges situation because the Guthrie exists in a confined universe while a football stadium would exist to not only hold the fans within, but also to serve as essentially a TV studio to provide entertainment for millions watching in Minnesota and beyond. Depending on how you define user fees along with who should pay for them and how, the TV viewer is either left off the hook or can be included. I tend to think the "stick it to the ticket buying" fans approach to stadium funding is unfair if it's the only vehicle because preserving the team for Minnesota, and most Minnesotans won't continue to support the team if it leaves (see the Dallas Stars), benefits more people than just those who go to games. For the record those benefits can be anything from economic to entertainment to emotional to being something that binds a community together. At any rate, I get the comparison from a purist standpoint, but don't think purism is the best criteria in this case.

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 11:01 AM by Jorge Highlight this comment 135

I agree that there are holes in Marty's analysis, especially the part about other events held at the facility.

And I agree that using the Guthrie is not apples to apples. Just interesting.

A little bit closer to a valid comparison is Target Field. It cost $555 million, $360 million of which was paid by the public. Divide that out over 30 years, 81 games per year, 40K seats, comes to $3.70 per seat per game subsidy (before financing expenses, which I can't find).

The killer, for the Vikings numbers, is the small number of games. Basically, no matter what, their costs per seat per game are going to be off the charts.

I don't think Marty's numbers are really that surprising, nor will his plea do much good. But it does represent a somewhat sobering reality about playing in the football stadium game.

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 11:18 AM by Rick 136

Jorge suggests an interesting way to think about the NFL and its stadia: as TV studios. In a more rational world, the NFL would ID the places where it wanted its teams to be located and use TV revenues to help build and maintain those "TV studios." This would certainly create a windfall for those communities lucky enough to be chosen, but the benefits to the league (in terms of cost controls and continuity) would be pretty obvious and substantial.

Of course, that's not an anticompetitive, non-free market approach to sports, but when has that really ever been an issue?! (Also, the NFL has been very successful in extorting public money from host cities/states, so why kill that golden goose?)

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 12:32 PM by BR Highlight this comment 137

Jared that's neat points about last year.... though I was joking about this year as it states in my post.

yeah, if only i would have picked that up the first time i read it through. Unfortunately for me, i read over some key words.

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 12:44 PM by Jared Highlight this comment 138

Those pics were incredible though.

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 12:57 PM by moda Highlight this comment 139

Would it be crazy to build a world class football stadium TV studio that could also serve as a world class sound stage for the other half of the year?

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 1:11 PM by Rick 140

Awfully tough to do in a space that large. Have to make it reconfigurable. I think the O2 center in London can change size and shape a bit but nothing like the size of a football stadium.

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 1:16 PM by moda Highlight this comment 141

The latest phase of the stadium discussion thus far has led to an incredibly stupid idea, in my opinion. Some legislators are toying with the idea of building an open air "roof ready" stadium with the idea that it would reduce the state's share of the load and bring some wavering lawmakers aboard. I seem to recall the "roof read" nonsense during the Twins debate and also recall that it was almost universally derided as a bad idea at that time.

Let's be blunt, to justify the cost, whenever/if ever this thing gets approved, you need a dome. If you don't put one in right away, it won't cost any less to install later and, in fact, would probably cost much more due to the complexity of the installation. At any rate the supposed funding plan would step away from gambling and into the general fund, so it likely has no chance anyway. It's just annoying to see even minimal energy spent on something that won't fly.

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 1:36 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 142

UGH - "roof ready"?? You're right, Jorge, STUPID IDEA. With that kind of verbiage, I think about Kansas City and their "rolling roof" idea, a roof that can cover either Arrowhead or Kauffman, depending on who's playing.

Jefferson County voters have voted it down at least three times in the last six or seven years. So, if we go "roof-ready", then we'll have to go back to the Legislature to get the roof on, and go through this whole dog-and-pony show again.

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 2:19 PM by luke (aka 4-158) Highlight this comment 143

The Vikes might very well go for roofless now rather than who-knows-what-who-knows-when.

They might have visions of the Packers and Bears dancing in their heads. But it would be a mistake for all concerned. The public wouldn't get a 365-day facility, and the team would probably be leaving some money on the table.

More to the point may be the recognition built into this idea that doing the state contribution as part of the bonding package (instead of trying to shoehorn gambling into it) is a good idea. It fits nicely into the likely endgame (Vikes @ $500M + Hennepin @ $350M + State @ $Scraps).

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 3:33 PM by Rick 144

On the other hand... If they built it roofless, but with massive club seating and suites areas, they could charge a TON for PSLs to the covered areas. I mean, who really cares if the rabble and other assorted riff-raff who are only paying $75 (or less!) for their seats get wet or frozen??

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 4:10 PM by BR Highlight this comment 145

I've always enjoyed biking over to Siebert for ballgames. Beautiful April and May ballgames where--in those pre-TF days--"you could spell the dirt and the grass." I've always liked the row of trees over the LF fence. Yes, you'd have to listen to "superfan" right behind the plate, but a nice place to be on a spring day. Alas, I have to work tonight, so I can't go. Maybe I'll hit the Gopher game at TF on Saturday afternoon instead.

PS--1990 highlight: having a winning scorecard number, which gained me two tickets to see Prince at the St. Paul Civic Center. I was treated royally by my roommates at the time, each wanting to go.

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 4:14 PM by fiesta Highlight this comment 146

The Vikings and Dayton dismissed the notion of going roofless earlier this afternoon in a manner that seemed to put that part of the issue to bed. Dayton and the DFL accused the Republicans of playing games by going for a roofless venue in secret, counter to Dayton's people's stadium mantra.

The Vikings reacted with great hostility towards accusations that they're secretly negotiating with anyone for anything and reiterated a desire to get a domed stadium, including a very icy series of Tweets between Tom Powers of the Pioneer Press and Vikes PR guy Jeff Anderson. Tom voiced the secret deal stuff. Jeff responded by effectively calling Tom a lazy journalist by not contacting him and the team on the topic. Tom didn't exactly back down from his comment, but changed the subject to one of the Vikings having PR trouble in a way that suggested he knew he was off based.

Right now bipartisanship may be going out the window with the team and the stadium caught in the middle. Who knows what's next?

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 4:14 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 147

And while I'm thinking about it, the really 50 yard line good seats could be treated like Champions Club seats (they'd have to call them something else, of course, like "NFC Champions" or "Never Quite Good Enough to be Champions" Club seats). They could include free hot cocoa and schnapps and stadium blankets for cold/bad weather games. I mean, at say $500 a pop, they could afford those perks, right?

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 4:17 PM by BR Highlight this comment 148

This 'crystal ball' contest is getting depressing. A couple times now I've gone in and updated my guesses: fewer wins, fewer Morneau home runs, higher Liriano era...

Note to Rick: The 2012 Season Crystal Ball link isn't working. And, if Liriano gets traded, will the era guess be for the entire season, or just his Twins stats?

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 4:30 PM by F_T_K Highlight this comment 149

Most studies show that gambling is recession proof, meaning gambling revenues are not impacted by bad economic downturns. Places that are impacted, like big casino/resorts in Vegas and Atlantic City, it's mostly due to revenues associated with lodging and conventions being impacted. Raw gambling, like pull tabs, tend to maintain or even increase during economic downturns while income/sales tax revenues always decrease.

I'm curious to know where this notion that gambling revenues are unreliable and risky comes from? I can only assume it comes mostly from the anti-gambling rhetoric side.

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 4:30 PM by Dave Highlight this comment 150

Sorry about that. Try the link again!

As for Liriano, it will be his ERA whether he's with the team or not at the end of the year.

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 4:54 PM by Rick 151

By the way, with the passage of a nasty (politically) tax cut bill today, I think we're about to see an implosion of the end of the session.

Dayton will surely veto this, and the Repubs will respond by refusing to bring the stadium to a vote. The bonding bill will be the real test, but it's hard to imagine the sides agreeing on much of anything.

There was a time when people in government collaborated to solve problems regardless of ideology. No more.

Remember, it matters who you send to St. Paul.

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 4:57 PM by Rick 152

The anti-government Tea Party really is a problem, even for the GOP. They don't value the functions of government and are thus rarely willing to productively use the tools available. Collaboration, if it means any form of government spending or control, is a four letter word.

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 5:14 PM by BR Highlight this comment 153

Back in the 70's late season games at the 45k seat Met when tix were a few bucks would routinely not sellout and late December playoff games had the same problem. In addition to not being able to host a lot of events the current dome does if roofless, the Vikings and their johnny-come-lately owner may find out the reality of rooflessness in MN is nothing like Green Bay WI.

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 5:49 PM by Earl (aka Piggy Wilf) Highlight this comment 154

I don't like your system here, Rick, it won't let me out of character to be serious! And btw, those games that didn't sell were for a team that routinely won the NFC central and was coached by a legend and stacked with future HOFers. Imagine trying to get people to pay 100 bucks to sit outside on January 2nd for the 16th game of a 3-13 team. Yuck.

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 5:51 PM by Earl (aka Piggy Wilf) Highlight this comment 155

No DL for Morneau; we're not used to the Twins getting good medical news - I was expecting them to say he needed Tommy John surgery!

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 7:34 PM by terry Highlight this comment 156

Roofless is going nowhere...It's a ploy to try to de-rail the project. Just like Racino and user fees. It's becoming more and more obvious that when this place is built, it will be at the FM site with Hennepin Cty involved. The legislature is currently filled with too many teabaggers who don't take governing seriously.

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 8:20 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 157

Rick -- Can you please double (perhaps triple) my Liriano ERA tie-breaker figure? Ay Caramba!

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 9:59 PM by Raging Peasants Highlight this comment 158

The new ballpark at the U of M will not have real grass. How could you have an outdoor ballpark without real grass turf is for domes.

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 10:44 PM by Leroy Highlight this comment 159

The grass at Miamis new ballpark already turning brown thats not good click the link for the story.

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 10:42 PM by Leroy Highlight this comment 160

Take a look at this video. It makes me think that, just like the tax cut bill, the Repub plan is to push through a roofless stadium plan and force Dayton to veto it.

Strategically, you can see that it would be a hail mary pass to try and take the issue back from the Dems for this election cycle. I don't think it will work, but they are seeming a little desperate.

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 01:00 AM by Rick 161

Marlins Stadium: "The grass has been turning brown because the retractable roof was closed more than anticipated in April. ...because the weather has been unusually wet for April, the grass hasn’t gotten much sun."

I don't have much of a green thumb, but something about that Marlins grass story just doesn't ring true. Are they blaming the roof or just a lot of cloudy days?

They close the roof for games, but they would surely have it open the rest of the time, right? I mean, they wouldn't be dumb enough to keep it closed while the team is on the road, or during the day before a night game.

I know they have problems with shadows at TF, so that part of right field gets less sun than any other part of the grass. Could something like that be going on? Could the open roof be casting some sort of unanticipated shadow? The stands maybe?

Over-watering? Under-watering? Problems with the soil mixture? Bad sod?

It's a very weird story.

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 01:11 AM by Rick 162

If you haven't already, be sure to enter the 2012 Season Crystal Ball Challenge. The link didn't work for a few days, so I'm extending the deadline.

You basically predict who will win divisions and wild card spots, then who will win it all.

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 01:13 AM by Rick 163

Has anyone else seen the video of what the new San Francisco 49ers stadium will look like? The business model is so out of whack in the NFL that these new stadiums are all about the money being made for the team/owners that the stadiums look like crap. And the 10 years after the building of a new NFL venue the city is told their stadium is not up to snuff and will have to be altered significantly. This stuff is probably old news but it just seems like somewhere down the road the 4 major pro sports in America are going to run into trouble with their fan bases.

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 12:00 PM by Tom D. Highlight this comment 164

I just hope the Wilf's have used all of this time wisely, and really focused on making the stadium unique. I don't want a Lambeau, I don't want Cowboy Stadium, I don't want U of Phoenix Stadium...

Build the damn thing in the shape of a long ship, throw a Scandanavian Museum next to it, and call it a day. Be ahead of the curve for once.

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 12:45 PM by DreDogg Highlight this comment 165

I wouldn't hold my breath. Even when they were pursuing the Arden Hills location, the team never released any imagery that suggested outside the box thinking. Now that they are looking at a downtown location with tighter space constraints, the sort of thing you suggest becomes even more difficult to complete (at least on as grand a scale). Personally, I'd settle for a more "normal" design that includes lots of conveniences for fans and plenty of personalization in the little details.

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 1:11 PM by GoAUpher Highlight this comment 166

It certainly is wishful thinking, and I am not opposed to a "normal" design. It may be more of a bone to pick with football stadiums in general. They seem to lack the type of uniqueness seen in many babseball stadiums.

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 1:48 PM by DreDogg Highlight this comment 167

It may be more of a bone to pick with football stadiums in general. They seem to lack the type of uniqueness seen in many babseball stadiums.

I feel like Rick and/or others have said this in the past (I know it's not something I thought of on my own) but that could be partly due to the fact that the dimensions of baseball fields are not required to be uniform once you get past the infield. When you are building a FB stadium around a field of a specific size, that limits creative designs that are driven from the field up and it could serve to normalize the shape of the building surrounding the field. Throw in the fact that the purpose of a modern NFL stadium is to maximize revenue through suites and premium seating options and you further limit the creativity of the options (at least within the stadium itself).

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 2:29 PM by GoAUpher Highlight this comment 168

Solution is simple! Ziggy puts the team up for sale for 1 Billion. Owner only needs to play thru 2012 season. New owner can go anywhere he wants. I mean its football do we really care? Better seen in HD anyways while enjoying tasty Holiday dog.

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 3:25 PM by twinkfan Highlight this comment 169

Heard on Reusse that since July 17th last year our boys are 25-67??? Thats 42 games under. Also first time in 50 years the boys never saw 500. Legond club seats going for $12.00

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 3:27 PM by twinkfan Highlight this comment 170

And I think fans have every right to question the Twins front office and coaching/training staff. When is enough enough? Someone has to be held accountable for this mess and its more than just Bill Smith.

I guess as long as the fans continue to show up at Target Field and buy that Twins merchandise, drink those $8.00 beers and eat those $9.00 pork chops, ownership will care less.

Will be interesting to see how the season ticket holders respond come August and September.

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 3:48 PM by Mike Highlight this comment 171

Sounds like the game-playing has really begun in earnest at the legislature. If I read the story correctly, the GOP sponsors of the stadium bill were kept in the dark by their own caucus the last few days.

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 3:59 PM by terry Highlight this comment 172

So if the GOP is now trying to pay for the state's portion of the stadium using general fund borrowing, do you think the intent is to force DFL'ers or Dayton to spike the bill or to set up a situation in the future where "lack of state funds due to other commitments (like the stadium) have forced us to make painful cuts to things we don't like"?

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 5:37 PM by GoAUpher Highlight this comment 173

Yes, I think we're seeing a full-scale implosion at the capitol. Right now I'd say the odds are we won't see bonding, tax, or stadium legislation emerge -- basically a rerun of last year.

I'm hoping that Minnesota voters are paying close enough attention to detect who is really at fault here. If so, fortunes will change dramatically in the fall.

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 5:45 PM by Rick 174

fortunes will change dramatically in the fall

You mean, like during football season? I can already imagine the commercials the team will run during every single broadcast...

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 9:13 PM by F_T_K Highlight this comment 175

KSTP-5's political guy noted that a Vikings stadium included in the bonding bill didn't need just a majority vote pass, but rather a 3/5 super majority, something he called extremely difficult to attain under the circumstances. So the GOP basically threw the existing stadium bill, flawed or not, and all the hard work to get it this far under the bus in order to stick it to Dayton.

I generally stay out of politics, but I want a Vikings stadium as badly as most posters here wanted a Twins stadium. My take is every level of government wastes money on a daily basis in ways we barely realize. While I understand the need for a politically acceptable solution, my patience with elected and appointed members of both parties blathering on about fiscal restraint and the sanctity of the public dollar has plummeted to well below non existent. If a stadium apparently isn't the best use of public money, at least I can use and enjoy it unlike with so many other projects that get about .0001% of the attention.

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 9:46 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 176

"I can already imagine the commercials"

It's an interesting point. At the very least, the Vikes will have to be careful about how they characterize this failure, lest they piss off the very people whose help they will need next year.

They may need to take the, "I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords" approach.

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 9:52 PM by Rick 177

Watching the Twins is like watching your hospice.

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 10:09 PM by TheTruthHurts Highlight this comment 178

There are people still watching them?

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 10:23 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 179

Cheering for Weaver on tonight's...shh. Don't jinx it! When he signed his latest contract, passing on beaucoup bucks, he became my favorite ballplayer to cheer for...

What's wrong with me? I check in to Rick's site everyday. The only other site I visit on a daily basis is the shitter.

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 10:52 PM by N.D. (aka N.D. "Rube") Highlight this comment 180

rick - speaking of the grass at target field. the grounds crew really needs to put a dirt runner's path on the first base side that extends past the edge of the infield/outfield boundary. see fenway park (they do it there) for an example of that i mean.

with the many fat ass 1st base umpires constantly standing on that patch of grass all game long and players stopping their momentum on that same patch of grass, it routinely gets worn down to the dirt game after game. and it seems to do so more at that spot in target field than i see in a lot of other MLB parks. looks kind of ghetto, imo.

would think larry devito would have just relented already and come to this same realization. he needs to make that change rather than stupidly putting down new turf every couple games that never actually takes hold of stays put.

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 11:10 PM by Betaband Highlight this comment 181

Love MLB network. It aint perfect, but it doesn't take much to trump ESPN

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 11:31 PM by N.D. (aka N.D. "Rube") Highlight this comment 182

That was cool to see, even if Weaver did it to the Twins.

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 11:37 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 183

A low moment, but something tells me that this may not even be the lowest moment of the 2012 season...

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 11:38 PM by Rick 184

There needs to be a repercussions for this. Gardy should be on a plane back to Minny, sans job.

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 11:46 PM by TheTruthHurts Highlight this comment 185

Well, that was fun to see.

Twins have not had a hit since the 3rd inning last night (Tuesday).

Read on Twitter, someone mentioned how it seemed fitting for the Twins to be no-hit in Anaheim with all those trees.

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 11:57 PM by TK Highlight this comment 186

"A low moment, but something tells me that this may not even be the lowest moment of the 2012 season..."

There's probably another perfect game coming their way...

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 12:06 AM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 187

Could Weaver be the first player to throw back-to-back no hitters to the same tam? No-hit VanderMeer did so in back-to-back starts, but was not fortunate to be able to face the Twins.

From what I am seeing, the most consecutive no-hit innings to one team is the Astros over Dodgers of 16 innings in 1981. Not sure if that is also the most one team has been no-hit for consecutive innings, but I am sure it is more.

Twins are still on pace to break records this season!

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 12:16 AM by TK Highlight this comment 188

twinkfan, Twins are 20-61 in their last 81, dating back to July 29.

And your questioned numbers from July 17 are really close (26-68)

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 12:37 AM by TK Highlight this comment 189

Hey Rick, good luck living in fantasy land with the whole "wait til' next year" crap for the Vikings stadium. They will be gone! ...but continue to be delusional, we love laughing at your lack of grasp for reality! Never have I seen such a snob who thinks he knows everything about stadiums, with mindless zombie tools kissing his ass in the comment section.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 12:51 AM by Gus Munger (aka Dr. Michael Savage / Greet Machine Imposter / Blurch / skol purple / FoSheezy / Ramsey Co. Purple) Highlight this comment 190

And the band played on -------

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 06:41 AM by Ben Highlight this comment 191

Where I live, any time it rains, X-Cel's power goes off. Since it rained last night, I was spared the latest exhibition of ineptitude by Twins hitters. Saves me time this morning though; I don't have to look at the boxscore to see how they did with runners in scoring position.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 06:43 AM by terry Highlight this comment 192

"once again rick takes unnecessary cheap shots and throws unwarranted satire at the general intelligence of vikings fans. guess what rick, i enjoy the vikings, and gopher football, and i also watch the tpt-mn channel quite a bit. and the bbc. and tpt.

that is right, i forgot. baseball fans (at least those who frequent on a daily basis), it seems, have superior intelligence to all other sports fans. well at least in this echo chamber of a chat room. and us common folk who like football are mostly just a big group of clueless rubes. never mind.

paint with a rather broad brush much? just saying, my man."

Right on Betaband! I bet come midseason, Rick will probably be the fan in the stands at Target Field, with the exception of a few crickets.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 01:01 AM by Gus Munger (aka Dr. Michael Savage / Greet Machine Imposter / Blurch / skol purple / FoSheezy / Ramsey Co. Purple) Highlight this comment 193

Last 18 innings 0 runs, 3 hits! I guess Mr Whipple aka Gardy taking the weekend off to see her daughter graduate. Maybe we should tell him to take his time coming back. No doubt we get to the 100 loss barrier this year. May be time to broom the entire coaching staff and start over. We battled our tails off just gets old after a whille. Or that pitcher over there had great stuff, tip of the cap to him. What?? Why not just say we stink! Grab another donut Mr Whipple!

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 10:16 AM by twinkfan Highlight this comment 194

At least the Twins can promote Monday night's game as a chance to witness history as Weaver goes for back-to-back no hitters, against the same team nonetheless...

I don't mind having a few losing seasons on occasion as that is part of sports, but this is just pathetic. What exactly are the Twins long-term re-building plans? Why were Cuddyer, Kubel, Nathan, Span and some of those not traded last year? Bill Smith put this organization in such a deep hole its ridiculous. Is there honestly any hope at this point that 2013 will be any better than 2011 or 2012?

Where do you even start to re-build this roster and minor league system? Terry Ryan better have the guts to trade some players in June and July because that is what its going take. If I were running the team, I would put every player on the trade block and see what offers I can get because this current roster is not going anywhere anytime soon. It can't get any worse than it is now, can it? The only way to re-build is going to be trading for prospects and drafting/developing players. So we are probably looking at 2015 at the earliest possible return to being relevant again.

And that is not even touching the topic of the coaching/training staff. The entire coaching staff and training staff should be replaced. It's time for a new direction and philosophical approach.

And if Gardy was such a great manager, than why have none of his assistant coaches ever been interviewed or finalists for other managerial jobs?

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 10:26 AM by Mike Highlight this comment 195

I've seen it reported that the Twins have the highest drop in attendance in MLB this year at 5K. Gonna be some sad puppy dogs this winter over at 1 Twins Way begging people to get season tickets. Wonder if the PR machine of St. Peter and company will send out a press release to the media in the Fall proudly claiming they are keeping ticket prices flat? How noble!!!

The Pohlads are about to get what they deserve. Fail to invest (or reinvest) in the ballclub by dropping the payroll 20M this year has consequences. This is their nightmare becoming reality. People/fans are apathetic and it is only May 3rd. Yikes. I realize that 20M isn't putting the Twins in the World Series, but it does likely keep them competitive (80 wins instead of mid-60s).

The farm system is barren until 2014. The future is not bright. I've always thought Gardy was almost bulletproof in his job. Does anyone think he eventually takes the fall for this pathetic club? One of his position coaches? The coming months will be very interesting. The Pohlads don't make rash, sudden changes but when it hits them in the wallet all bets are off. Amazing how the new ballpark honeymoon lasted 1.5 years. The reality is that they could have had a much more robust payroll in 2010 & 2011, now the Pohlads will scream a "drop in revenues" hence a lower payroll for the foreseeable future (and no sh!t sherlock, you reap what you sow)...

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 10:46 AM by Max Highlight this comment 196

They need to do two things, imo, to keep the bottom from falling out:
1. Sign a marquee FA (even if it means overpaying)
2. Market to a different audience. They could set up deals with local restaurants/bars and try to grab a large portion of the 21-30 market. They could put up some kid-friendly activities on the plaza and get more families. Whatever, they need to market the experience and not just the product, because the product sucks right now.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 10:52 AM by BR Highlight this comment 197

And by "do two things" I meant this coming offseason, although the marketing changes could start now...

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 11:05 AM by BR Highlight this comment 198

They are not going to sign a marquee free agent until there is a philosophical change in the organization because that is just not the "Twins way of doing things" as history suggests.

First and foremost, there needs to be a philosophical change in the organization. And even by overpaying, what marquee player would want to come here?

And the Twins rank #13 in payroll for 2012 at $94 million....Dodgers are #12 and NY Mets are #14 so payroll is not the issue.

It's terrible personnel decisions over the last 3-4 years that have cost this organization the most.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 11:09 AM by Mike (aka Mike) Highlight this comment 199

Max wondered if the Dave St. Peter PR machine would be churning out any information. Well, as it happens it has. His Twitter feed, @TwinsPrez has been inundated in recent days by angry and upset fans voicing dissatisfaction with the Twins' terrible performance this season and last. Enough people have sent Tweets that Dave was compelled to respond to the public at large with this Tweet of his own.

"Truly appreciate passion & angst expressed by @Twins fans. We share your frustration and expect improved play. Better days ahead.#Keepthefaith"

As you might expect, DSP received even more unhappy and angry messages in response, although, to be fair, he did receive a noticable minority of positive feedback. Two responses stood out to me. One guy asked Dave how he could be frustrated after doing nothing to prevent this fiasco. Another stated that the time to have made improvements was in the offseason when the Twins organization acted like it didn't care.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 11:44 AM by Jorge Highlight this comment 200

If the Twins keep this sucky pace, do you think Gardy will survive the full season or be removed mid-season? The mid-season replacement will probably be Ullger anyway so I don't see that really helping improve things.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 11:46 AM by ab21 Highlight this comment 201

In other news, MPR obtained a draft copy of the general obligation bond proposal for a Vikings stadium. This is the Matt Dean plan not the Rosen/Lanning plan. I've linked it.

The interesting thing is the bond draft asks the Vikings to up their contribution from $427,000,000 to $525,000,000. The team has repeatedly insisted that it won't go above it's previously stated contribution and, I think, has already responded negatively to this idea. However, the draft does state that the team would get to keep the revenue from naming rights and ticket fees which would seem to rule out the user fees that the team is even more opposed to than upping its overall contribution. The state would put in $250,000,000 and Minneapolis would go with $150,000,000. That totals out at $925,000,000.

The draft was not meant for public consumption and may have made it out before the Vikings had been informed about the changes. So there are apparently some red faces of embarrassment in the Matt Dean camp and some red faces of anger at Winter Park.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 11:55 AM by Jorge Highlight this comment 202

I forgot the link. Here it is.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 11:56 AM by Jorge Highlight this comment 203

Thanks for the link, Jorge.

At least the numbers are starting to come into line here. I think this plan will set a fine anchor for the next round.

Strategically, there's no denying that the Repubs have found a way to get all of the Dems to vote against a stadium. That is a shrewd political accomplishment. I'm sure they think that will benefit them in the fall.

Dayton is clearly playing political strategist right now, fearing that, after all of his hard work, the issue may end up benefiting the other side. His sounding conciliatory yesterday afternoon works to his advantage because he looks like he's trying to put the interests of Minnesotans over politics. But it may be time for him to blast this plan as cynical politics again. Clearly, that's what it is, rather than an earnest attempt to actually solve the problem.

It's just very hard to imagine this deal getting through on general obligation bonds. Unlike gambling, which I don't personally object to, I think that even I object to this type of funding without a guaranteed offset (tax increase or specified cuts) somewhere else. Were something like this to get actually passed, there could be real damage to some vulnerable people out there as they reallocate to cover the expense. In the Republican dream world, the need to reallocate would certainly have to involve cuts of some sort to social services or education. (They certainly wouldn't consider tax increases.)

In that way, the Hennepin tax really looks way better, and the numbers in this deal make it look like a slightly revised plan (swapping out Hennepin for Minneapolis) will probably occur to just about everybody at the same time.

Compare the revised plan now on the table:

Vikes @ $525M, City @ $150M, State @ $250M = $925M

with what I think will be the ultimate outcome:

Vikes @ $500M, Hennepin @ $350M, State @ $50M = $900M

Believe it or not, this cynical political ploy actually does move the stadium issue forward toward a resolution which will satisfy everybody -- without actually being that solution.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 12:27 PM by Rick 204

The new proposal has been withdrawn, the bill that Rosen and Lanning have pushed will go to the house floor for a vote on Monday. I hope they have their votes carefully counted because a "no" win will be a disaster for the Vikings and their stadium hopes. I'm in the camp that says if the thing won't pass, then not voting keeps more doors open than voting for the sake of it and losing.

When announcing this news, Kurt Zellers referred to Minnesotans "getting what they wanted" in a manner that came off less than flattering and less than hopeful for the thing passing. He sets the tone for a lot of his party in the house and I can virtually guarantee he'll vote against the bill.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 12:31 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 205

Nothing shocks me. But here's a surprise:

One stadium plan dead, another to receive a vote on Monday

The "new" plan is dead. The "old" plan will get a vote. Go figure...

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 12:35 PM by Rick 206

This development has me wondering, did the Republicans just blink? In the past, they've always gone through with the cynical strategies even when they were called out as such (witness the two constitutional amendments already on the ballot this fall). Did they think this one finally crossed a line?

I can't answer those questions.

But I will say that passage of this bill does not look very likely.

On the Democratic side, arm-twisting will come from the Governor and the leadership. But that very fact will be a discouragement to Republicans, who will definitely not be getting any encouragement from their leadership:

"House Speaker Kurt Zellers said ... he personally 'cannot' support it."

There are anti-gambling forces on both sides, and it's hard to imagine any pressure from anywhere overcoming that under the circumstances.

The visible presence of Vikings fans makes it easy to forget that a lot of the general public is against public subsidies for stadiums. Basically, this means that pressure from constituents over the weekend will probably be split. Put that together with the fact that these types of votes, regardless of what everyone claims, tend to have little or no impact on winning reelection, and you get a recipe for legislators more likely to vote based on how they actually feel about this bill. And the general consensus seems to be that this isn't a very good bill and there will be another chance to do something better.

There are certainly some legislators who will vote for this because they want to solve the stadium problem, but I see them being in the vast minority.

Right now, I'd say this will probably be a bi-partisan, lopsided no vote.

Then the finger-pointing can start in earnest! (And the real deal can actually emerge.)

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 1:15 PM by Rick 207

Meanwhile, if you want a laugh, check out the video highlights from last night's game on the Twins site.

Here, I'll save you the trouble: There's only one from the offense, and it's Willingham's walk.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 1:22 PM by Rick 208

A lot of reporters and Vikings fans are caught up in the idea of "Have a vote. Make a decision, already." If this doesn't pass, when do they think the state will take a meaningful role in talks again? It won't be a special session in 2012 or the 2013 session. On one hand it may push the Vikings to the county with the state taking a reduced role, but voting for the sake of it still seems so self defeating.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 1:28 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 209

You heard it here first! The stadium will go down in defeat monday. I think the margin will be huge. Zellers will round up the GOP and say it must go to voter referendum! Which means addios Queens! Ziggy warming up the moving trucks up for the mad dash come Feb 2013!

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 1:34 PM by twinkfan Highlight this comment 210

I thought the stikeout passed ball was the highlight?

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 1:35 PM by twinkfan Highlight this comment 211

As one comment at a Strib item pointed out, the Pohlad's are unlikely to do anything as long as there is still (at the games) "30,000 people buying inedible hot dogs".

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 1:38 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 212

ooops strikeout!

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 1:40 PM by twinkfan Highlight this comment 213

You'd think that, even if the fans aren't willing to stand up and demand better pitching, they'd certainly get up in arms about the hot dogs.

Just like the team's ERA, they are truly terrible.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 1:43 PM by Rick 214

Quick question -

I have a three year old who I am dying to share my love of the game. She is somewhat active but we talk about and watch the Twins games on TV. Could she handle going to the game? How long do you realistically think she could handle? I already realize I won't see much of the game, but that might not be a bad thing the way this season has started!

My 8th grade baseball team has started 7-1, so at least one baseball team in the state is playing well!

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 2:24 PM by ole Highlight this comment 215

Think attention span. In my opinion/experience 3 years is a bit young.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 2:29 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 216

Problem is, there are so many good food options at TF, I have less incentive to get up in arms about the dogs. Get a Kramarczuk's brat, "problem" solved.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 2:30 PM by BR Highlight this comment 217

The end of Weaver's post game interview was an instant classic! He said, and I quote, "That was easy,....eessh!"

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 2:32 PM by Hops Highlight this comment 218

I took Truman (also 3) to a Sunday afternoon game a couple of weeks ago. With food, we kept him engaged for the pre-game and first three innings before he started poking at his brother.

Then, as I've done before, I took him for a walk and we circumnavigated the ballpark, stopping for a treat out at the State Fair booth. That took about two innings.

Back at our seats, it got tougher, but we loaded up on some more snacks (cotton candy makes a mess but takes a long time to eat, so it worked pretty well) and ultimately made it through the game.

I think you're wise to give up on watching the game too closely. I worked my scorecard while in our seats, but my focus was often drawn away from it and the game.

But it's really worth it because he just loved it and talked it up with his friends the next day. Making that positive impression is all we were going for anyway. (May be as simple as: Sugar Rush = Positive Impression.)

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 2:37 PM by Rick 219

They're never too young to start. Pick a nice day, sit in your seats for 2-3 innings, then get up and explore the shops and restaurants, etc. Find the face painting station. Bring candy with you so you don't have to pay $6 for the junk. Bring an iPad or smartphone or coloring book to distract her. You can make it through half the game easy, maybe more. And she'll be on her way...

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 2:40 PM by BR Highlight this comment 220

If you have kids don't forget to check out the stadium model, next to the Legends Club entrance on the first base side. My kids could spend a half-hour there if I would let them.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 2:55 PM by Expectorate Highlight this comment 221

Ole, not sure if you have to worry about the 3 year olds attention span as much as your own. I only sat two innings in my seats last game before needing to walk around.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 3:25 PM by tk Highlight this comment 222

My wife and I are taking our son to his first ballgame next week. He's a few months shy of 1 year old, but he's very alert and has a sense of place. I can see this plan applying to anyone with toddlers, preschoolers, and young grade school kids. We're planning on treating the game a bit like a trip to the State Fair. We may or may not arrive by the first pitch. Then we'll watch the game in spurts, spend some time walking around, connect with some friends who'll also be attending, get some treats, look for interesting sights and attractions, and when he's at his limit, we'll go home early if necessary rather than pushing it.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 3:33 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 223

I think once a kid hits 5years old bring em? They won't remember much earlier than that. Last thing I want is some kid going crazy sitting behind me kicking his seat and whinning all game. The dogs at TF suck. Better off going to Holiday and loading up! 2 fer $2.22. Wonder if they would heat up a little ceasar box of pizza if I brought it in?

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 3:51 PM by twinkfan Highlight this comment 224

Twinkfan, how's it that different from a 25 year old sitting behind you, kicking his seat and whining the whole game?

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 4:28 PM by BR Highlight this comment 225

In a statement that defies logic on many levels, Kurt Zellers just said the following about the Vikings stadium bill to Dan Barriero on KFAN.

"I want to see it pass. I won't vote for it, but I want to see it pass."

My jaw is on the floor. How could any elected politician, especially one in a leadership position say such a thing about a divisive issue like this and not expect to be cut to ribbons by the media and online universe?

Is he that naive or is he just playing a joke that only he and a close circle get? Did he even think of the hellstorm he just invited for his poor staff members who now have to field calls and accept tweets and emails from outraged Vikings fans due to that absurd comment?

As we speak Local reporters, Vikings fans, and political buffs are already burying him into the ground for this attempt at double speak. He clearly wants it both ways, but doesn't get to do that. If he's against the bill and plans to vote that way, it comes as no surprise to anyone, but making a statement like that only invites ridicule.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 5:05 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 226

You have to at least give him a little nod for honesty. These guys will second a motion and then vote against it. Happens daily.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 5:28 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 227

Glad to see the Twins having an off day. I don't have to worry about whether they will get a hit today.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 5:42 PM by tk Highlight this comment 228


Here's what I hear him saying:

"If this doesn't get done this year, we're going to have to do this all over again next year. So, even though I don't support it, I hope it gets resolved now."

That's a tacit admission of something we all know: This process is going to end with the Vikings getting a new stadium.

It's also a tacit admission of something else very important: This isn't a very good plan.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 5:43 PM by Rick 229

And the truth of the matter is, this plan sucks. Any plan that builds this place on the current dome site, sucks! I'd even prefer Arden Hills to the dome site but FM is best for Mpls. I totally agree with Opat's statement that building the stadium at the current dome site is "stupid urban planning." If you're going to make a $1 billion total investment in this project, let's do it right - not half assed. Look at what the last half-assed stadium did for us!! - now we're building 3 new ones because of it.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 6:28 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 230

Speaking of billion-dollar investments - apparently the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, future home of the "Brooklyn" Nets, carries a price tag of $1 billion. A basketball arena! WTF...

Interestingly, that arena is being built on almost exactly the spot where Walter O'Malley wanted a domed stadium for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the mid 50s, before being blocked by the "Power Broker" Robert Moses, which essentially forced the move to LA. O'Malley saw the advantages of building an urban stadium, and leveraging existing rail infrastructure. Moses favored the wide open spaces of Flushing Meadows in Queens, where Shea Stadium was eventually built, with its abundant space for parking, and freeways to the Long Island suburbs.

Sound familiar?

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 7:04 PM by Expectorate Highlight this comment 231

So instead O'Malley ends up at a ballpark just outside downtown LA, with a massive parking lot, surrounded by parkland which is surrounded by freeways.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 232

As for the hot dogs, I think the "Big Dog" is pretty tasty. Never tried anything else.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 10:32 PM by antifire Highlight this comment 233

Wow...I just listened to the Barrerio interview of Kurt Zellers. Okay, I understand why the DFL is against the expansion of gambling - they're married to the tribes and their campaign contributions. But why are Republicans against it? Is it just the religions nutburgers in the party that are against gambling? What are they afraid of? Someone winning a jackpot, picking up a piece of ass on Lake St and gettin it on? I don't get it. Zellers says he's opposed to the bill but hopes it passes??? Can you say, DOUBLETALK????

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 10:41 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 234

"You have to at least give him a little nod for honesty. These guys will second a motion and then vote against it. Happens daily."

Heck, they'll author the bill and vote against it.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 11:01 PM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 235

Rick, I can see your point about Zellers taking the long haul view, but there is a time and a place for everything and today was not the day for him to make what at best was a deliberatly ambiguous, some would say duplicitous, statement. He also made it pretty clear that to him the stadium is a chip with which to bargain against Dayton doing his bills a favor and little more. That's politics and I guess it's honest in its own way, but that's not what the people wanted to hear and now he's taking the heat.

He was on with Barreiro about two weeks ago and it was a pretty cordial conversation. Today Zellers got the belligerent version of Dan Barreiro and seemed unprepared for the change in tone. He was backpeddling most of the way and, regardless of your political or stadium stance, came off as poorly as one possibly could under the circumstances.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 11:04 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 236

Great job by Barreiro to actually confront Zellers on the issue and question him. So many members of the Twin Cities media are "homers" to say the least and don't have any guts to stand up and question people.

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 08:16 AM by Mike Highlight this comment 237

In adition to having perhaps the worst haircut in the legislature, Zellars is a bonehead. He's clumsy with the media and in the Capitol. And, yes, Jorge, his statement is duplicitous. Rick, what you typed is what he should have said, but didn't. What he said is the sort of thing that makes most people want to throw the bums out. In that respect, I hope he succeeds!

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 09:06 AM by BR Highlight this comment 238

Mariano Rivera blows out his right knee shagging fly balls during batting practice. Dang, life isn't fair sometimes.

As much as he killed the Twins, I don't want to see his career end this way.

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 09:26 AM by F_T_K Highlight this comment 239

Rick I just sent you an email from my work address but wanted to confirm that I had your correct email. Is it your first name at this website address?

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 10:22 AM by Eric Highlight this comment 240

Interesting article....except it makes excuses for Rick Anderson's pitching staff sucking. Or that the Twins do not have the talent on their pitching staff to execute this properly. If you can paint the lower corners of the strike zone every time, great, but these guys can't do that.

I am no where near ready to give up on the season, as I mentioned last year, I don't look at the standings until after the 4th of July. (I was endlesssly mocked, but was right when the Twins were only 5.5 games back at that point)

Obviously something needs to happen to spark this team. I would like to see them get up to the plate and be aggressive for once. Start swinging a the first strike thrown, start pulling the ball. The Twins have some hitters with ability and talent, why not let them swing away? At the very least if they strikeout more, at least they are not hitting into double plays, as much. Also if they are going to lose, it could make the games interesting, and show they actually want to try to get on base.

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 11:00 AM by Duffman Highlight this comment 241

I actually felt like I learned something from that article (here's the link to its first page), and didn't see it as making excuses at all.

It very clearly sets out some of the disadvantages of going for strikeouts (among them, futility and higher pitch counts) and explained a very coherent priority: getting outs, without really caring how. That is, I believe, a highly sabermetric way to prioritize.

When you recognize that major league hitters make contact on 80% of their swings, it's easy to see why trying to avoid contact may be a fool's errand. There is serious wisdom in trying to make the contact as undamaging as possible.

But the article does cast a light on some systemic weaknesses in the Twins system:

1. Not only do we not have power pitchers, we also don't have control pitchers.

2. The "art" of pitching, which allows someone like Jamie Moyers to continue pitching long past any semblance of power, is being undervalued. (In other words, we don't have anybody especially wily either.)

3. The importance of breaking balls and changing speeds may also be undervalued in favor of location. Even if thrown in the right location, a bad fastball will get pounded.

4. Defensive issues, of which the Twins have plenty, have huge ramifications.

5. Catchers make a huge difference. Our primary catcher may have the skills to guide pitchers toward outs, but down the depth chart doesn't look so good.

You hate to harp on one bad move, but it gets easier and easier to see how Ramos for Capps may have doomed this franchise for a long time.

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 12:58 PM by Rick 242

Lets hope Devito wakes up some day and changes the dumbass grass design at TF. Can we go back to the traditional checkerboard? I could care less what the OF's or Span thinks. Otherwise fire Devito the current cut is pathetic.

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 1:53 PM by twinkfan Highlight this comment 243

Yeah, that'll fix the ERA and hitting and defense. It's all that damn DiVito's fault.

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 1:57 PM by Rick 244

Twinkfan, how's it that different from a 25 year old sitting behind you, kicking his seat and whining the whole game?

This was the only entertainment I had at the last game I attended. Lucky for us "drunk dude" and "not-so-sober kitty" were in front of us. It was like watching drunken Twilight in perpetual repeat for 5 innings before they left. They're happy, they're sad, they're angry, repeat. At one point she was working 2 mixed drinks and 2 large beer-inna-cups at one time. There were 3 very clear instances where she made large heaving motions, two directed at the nice couple in the row below and one directly at a beer vendor in the aisle. Pretty sure she choked it back down each time though. Thank God they left for her to go puke. Lord knows how upset other people would have been if their potential precious beers had been ruined by projectile vomit from drown-your-sorrows sally. Train-wreck.

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 2:13 PM by Jared Highlight this comment 245

Wait people get stinking and obnoxiously drunk at baseball games? *GASP!* This can't be!

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 2:21 PM by moda Highlight this comment 246

It happens. Point being that sadly, the dramedy unfolding between this couple during those 5 awkward innings were more interesting than the game.

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 2:37 PM by Jared Highlight this comment 247

Jared might be the only way you can watch this hapless outfit! Fire DeVito now! At least make the grass look purdy. Lord only knows the ballclub sure don't!!! As Mr Whipple would say! "the boys are just scuffling right now"

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 2:45 PM by twinkfan Highlight this comment 248

It's spelled DiVito. He is no relation to the diminuitive actor.

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 3:07 PM by Rick 249

Does it really matter how it's spelled? Close enough! Fire the guy or change that terrrible grass pattern. We get it Larry. It was cute 2 years ago. There is no way we can get swept in Seattle is there? I mean Mariners are on a 6 game losing streak also. Something has to give. Hope Mr Whipple is ok driving his RV in those Tornadoes down near Worthington.

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 3:48 PM by twinkfan Highlight this comment 250

Are you just trying to provide entertainment, or do you really believe that a different grass pattern will make some sort of a difference in anything?

And I believe that spelling names correctly, and avoiding silly nicknames, is a sign of civilized discourse.

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 3:58 PM by Rick 251

Man I thought I could be annoying and fixated on the irrelevant

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 4:05 PM by moda Highlight this comment 252

Does the Target Field Holiday have $1 beers Twinkfan? And if so, have you been into them this afternoon? Somebody got an early start to his weekend...

Go work off some of your anger by cutting your grass. Feel free to use whatever pattern you wish.

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 4:14 PM by Stevie B Highlight this comment 253

So, if you were a Minnesota legislator, would you be voting yes or no on the stadium plan as it stands right now?

- $427M from Vikings
- State portion funded through electronic pulltabs and tip boards
- Local partner funded by reassigning the Convention Center taxes
- Minneapolis charter referendum voided
- Metrodome site
- Creation of a new Stadium Authority to own the building
- Target Center renovated and refinanced (approx. $150M)

Remember that your constituents will be about evenly split, though the pro-stadium side will probably be louder. You're also up for reelection this fall. Also, either your caucus leadership, or the Governor, or the Mayor of Minneapolis, or your friends within the Legislature may pressure you one way or the other.

Time to cast your vote.

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 5:20 PM by Rick 254

I would vote yes. Simple reason is voting yes now saves a significant amount of time an money later. Both in the cost and completion date of the stadium and time/money spent going through the whole political thing again next year.

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 6:44 PM by Dave Highlight this comment 255

The Vikings will get a new stadium in Minnesota, and Ponies that fart glitter are real. They're headed to L.A. If Mike Opat is such a great hero like Rick thinks he is, he would've gotten off his ass LAST YEAR. It's all done. Los Angeles Vikings.. Get used to the name. Just like Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Stars. If it fails monday thanks "Saint" Mike Opat, for sitting on your lazy ass and doing NOTHING!

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 7:57 PM by Gus Munger (aka Dr. Michael Savage / Greet Machine Imposter / Blurch / skol purple / FoSheezy / Ramsey Co. Purple) Highlight this comment 256

I am going to the Gophers vs. Penn State ballgame tomorrow at TF. Is anyone else thinking of going? I always enjoy watching ballgames at Target Field. It is such a good venue for baseball.

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 9:31 PM by Tom D. Highlight this comment 257

Yes, Dave. Compromise your values to save a few $$$. Please don't run for office.

I'd vote no.

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 11:45 PM by TheTruthHurts Highlight this comment 258

I'd vote no..The Vikings need to leave St. Paul and head over to the Hennepin Cty govt center and talk to the man who can solve this issue once and for all.

Posted on May 5, 2012 at 12:21 AM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 259

Nay vote

Posted on May 5, 2012 at 12:21 AM by tk Highlight this comment 260

I'd vote yes, only because this will renovate the Target Center and I'm voting selfishly as a Wolves fan.

Posted on May 5, 2012 at 12:33 AM by jp Highlight this comment 261

Yes, Dave. Compromise your values to save a few $$$. Please don't run for office.

A few dollars? Once you add all the cost and lost revenues up, it will be significant. Add on top of that the risk that interest rates could increase. Just a 1% intrest increase will add over 60 million to a 400 million 30 year loan.

And since when did polticians have values other than party values?

Posted on May 5, 2012 at 01:51 AM by Dave Highlight this comment 262

For anyone looking for something sports-related to do tonight ... check out the Minnesota Stars pro-soccer team. They have their home opener at the National Sports Center tonight. Great time, no roof! Tickets are cheap and there is a beer garden (and lots of European soccer-style chanting). If you haven't been to a match, I think you will enjoy the spectacle. (After all, as Twins fans we are used to seeing fewer than three points/runs scored in a game anyways...)

Posted on May 5, 2012 at 08:49 AM by TheTruthHurts Highlight this comment 263

I would vote no only because they want to use the metrodome site. All else, I could care less about.

Money is money is money is money.

Posted on May 5, 2012 at 09:11 AM by DreDogg Highlight this comment 264

Mike Opat will not save the Vikings. They are California bound! Opat will just sit on his fat lazy ass and do nothing! What a joke!

Posted on May 5, 2012 at 10:46 AM by Gus Munger (aka Dr. Michael Savage / Greet Machine Imposter / Blurch / skol purple / FoSheezy / Ramsey Co. Purple) Highlight this comment 265

'No' vote here. Again, mostly because I feel that the the Metrodome site is a poor choice.

Doesn't anyone else get the sense that re-building on the same site reinforces the general public view of a selfish Ziggy Wilf and his tilt toward "I don't care if it improves the area, I just want a place that will rake in more money for ME." ??

Posted on May 5, 2012 at 11:24 AM by schweady Highlight this comment 266


Posted on May 5, 2012 at 11:55 AM by Expectorate Highlight this comment 267

Zellers tried to clarify his radio comment. It's Saturday, so nobody's really paying attention, which is a good thing for him because the clarification isn't very clarifying...

Zellers says he 'misspoke' in KFAN interview about the Vikings

Here's the closest he gets:

"I think the Vikings are an asset, I want them to stay but the bill in the current form is what I was talking about..."

Just add, "bill in the current form" to the unspoken, "The Governor who wants this just vetoed the only thing I really wanted to accomplish this year," and you've got a more-or-less full explanation for a NO vote.

Posted on May 5, 2012 at 12:37 PM by Rick 268

Funny JP,

I was going to say no, unless they take the Target Center renovations out.

Rick as for the making excuses, that was what the whole article was, one big excuse of why the pitchers are pitching poorly. It pretty much says, see everyone is doing it. Yeah, well as I said our pitchers are not talented enough to do it, and everyone else is doing it better than the Twins.

If it is not working, why continue down the same path? Also on an 0-2 count the goal should be to strike the batter out. He is in a hole, why give him a chance to get out of it by letting him put the ball in play?

Posted on May 5, 2012 at 1:24 PM by Duffman Highlight this comment 269

I would vote yes because I have no faith in the Legislature to construct a better deal, and I also cannot bear to prolong this stadium discussion for another year.

Posted on May 5, 2012 at 3:12 PM by Jeff T. Highlight this comment 270

Looking up the quote, it doesnt fit really well...but reminded me of all the interactions people have with Luke...

O'Doyle: Mortal Kombat on Sega Genesis is the best video game ever.

Billy Madison: I disagree. Mortal Kombat is a good game but I think Donkey Kong is the best game ever. 

O'Doyle: Donkey Kong sucks! 

Billy Madison: You know something? You suck!

Posted on October 13, 2012 at 12:19 PM by tk Highlight this comment 271

This page was last modified on April 27, 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 3046 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.

In case you don't know, that's Earl Battey.

This was on BPM night. Nice neon, but I'm still waiting to see the homer show.

This is where you will put out your butts -- I mean enjoy some pretty flowers.

This view looks through the opening in the fence where the crosswalk will be.

Now, THIS is just some guy who appears to be hanging out on the LRT tracks talking to himself.

Emergency access viewed in context

The Puckett Atrium

Click to see the whole, beautiful image. (Photo by Tyler Wycoff)

Which way to the skyway? Really??

8:22 PM The sun has caused glare in the webcam, but you can still see the reflection affecting the upper deck behind home plate.

A flurry of action in front of the dugout before the game (Photo by Jeff Ewer)

Detail of the train tunnels (click to view the entire drawing)

Looking across the plaza toward the main ticket area.

Sunday afternoon, WFTC-HD 720P

The Northstar circulation building is starting to take shape.

5:45 PM, section 327, row 9, sitting: shade.

The mounds have grown seating supports

Two train stations

Plaza overview from the A ramp

B ramp glimpse

This looks like a Twins Pub, but is actually the scoreboard operations.

Poles through the gap

Three weeks ago this was a patch of scruffy trees. Now it's a patio. In case you were wondering, that's where I've been...

Two plazas in Spain. (Brad and I were pretending to steal coins from the fountain. We were all just so darn funny back in high school, eh?)

Inspecting the delivery

Two concepts here remain in the final design. First is the oddly-shaped pavilion in center. Second is the section just above the right field fence. In the current design this section will hang over the field by a few feet. The original doesn't do that, but you can see that the concept goes way back in the planning.

This is the start of construction on the Northstar platform which will feed under the bridge and to a lobby with escalators and elevators just inside the ballpark's public concourse. Compared to the ballpark construction, this looks kind of puny. But the work just to get the trains to come has been positively Herculean. Future generations will look back at this with awe.

The french fry lights were on!

A closer look into the park from down the street. How great will this view be during a game??

We'll be packed into the first five rows of section 136. Hey, Wilson! I'm bringing my glove!

Our engineer.

Heaters over standing room (the backs of the retired number circles visible above)

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.


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

Complete Bibliography

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