In short, some members of congress want to punish Citi Group for accepting bail-out money by forcing them to remove their name from the new Mets ballpark.
Citi Field as viewed from Shea.
I think that's a little bit crazy, but then I think the whole bail-out nonsense is pretty crazy too.
But the article made me wonder if Target Field's name would ever come into such jeopardy. Then, at almost the same instant that article appeared, Target announced their intention to eliminate 1000 jobs. That can't make them feel good over at 34 Kirby Puckett Place (or the top of the Multifoods Tower either).
These naming deals, though they represent an advertising expense, are some seriously expensive advertising. Wouldn't a big company like Target have to at least consider -- among many other things -- cutting back on their superfluous advertising (assuming that naming rights deals fit into that category)?
It's probably not an issue right now, but if the economy tanks further, and Wal-Mart continues to suck up more and more of those household goods buyers, it might look different pretty quickly.
Fuming About Fumes
No doubt you have heard that Hennepin County wants to spend some money to fix up the garage doors at the HERC plant. It's an effort to rid the promenade of even the tiniest bit of stink.
You can't argue with stink-removal. But the look of that place is way more offensive than the odor. What has gone under-reported is that a substantial part of the package being sought is for landscaping. Yes, they will be reconfiguring the entrance doors to get the trucks inside the building a bit farther away from the walkway, but they will also be building an earthen berm with trees and bushes to essentially hide that place away from stadium-goers. (I'm not sure what to think about "garbage perfume".)
Hockey at Wrigley
If you want a sneak preview of what outdoor hockey in a baseball stadium looks like, there was one just a couple of weeks ago in Chicago.
Here's a clip, and there are two more accessible from the related videos menu.
The HERC is an ugly stepchild in so many ways. In the best case, it would just go away. Since we can't have that, the changes currently on the table are the next best thing.
But the discussion gives everyone the chance to whine and cry once again about the "heavy burden" to taxpayers that the ballpark supposedly represents. While, in Washington these days, such burdens go by the name of "stimulus." More on that in a minute.
Meanwhile, another project has made its way onto the radar. It looks like the money is finalized for some of the streetscape and skyway work. That's good news.
Dare I Mention...?
Yesterday I made a quick mention of the Vikes and it's all anyone wanted to talk about. This is a baseball site, so I thought long and hard before bringing the subject up again today, but it does seem worth discussing. Seems like we baseball fans, who got what we want, should probably help out the poor football fans, who it looks like may not.
Truth is, I don't really have a dog in the Vikings stadium fight. I'd hate to see them leave, but right now it seems inevitable to me. I'm a baseball fan, but my off-season Sundays would lose some of their shape without a football team here to follow. (Perhaps some of you have stronger feelings...)
Today, however, I realized that what the Vikings really need, but do not have, is a Shane. Even in a bad economic climate, there's a good case to be made that it's much cheaper to build a new stadium now than it will be to acquire a new franchise AND build a new stadium later. You can even file it under the aforementioned category of "stimulus".
As has been pointed out in many places recently, whenever the government spends money, it spends money. That means that they give it to someone else who will, in turn, give it to someone else. (One exception: If you give it to big banks, they will just stick it in the vault. They are far too disciplined to go around either spending or -- gasp -- loaning it to people.)
So, if you figure that the state would pay, say, half of the billion dollars toward a Vikings stadium, they would be giving that to design and construction firms who would pay it to their employees who would spend it at Target who would give it to their suppliers who would pay their employees, and so on and so on. How much of that half a billion would be paid back as taxes somewhere along the way? A fair amount.
No amount of spending can really create permanent jobs. There is no such thing. Any spending creates a short-term boost (though some boosts certainly last longer than others). If we're serious about jump-starting the economy, building a stadium is as good a public works project as anything else -- quite literally. It can represent up to four years worth of boosting. That's gotta be worth something to an economy.
Here's a quick look into the layout of the Metropolitan Club.
(Warning: Begin rant.) I've said before that I don't like to stray too far into politics on this site, but it has to be said that the Pawlenty administration seems to be going out of its way to do the shortest-sighted things possible (accounting tricks, cutting aid to cities and closing arts-related agencies are all at the top of that Stupid list). Meanwhile, despite their large numbers, the DFLers seem flummoxed and frozen by the governor's dopey intransigence. They are at least as much to blame for the level of inaction we're witnessing.
Were there even a semblance of vision anywhere at the capitol they would already be surgically raising and lowering taxes (on a temporary basis and with the tacit permission of those affected), increasing spending to sectors with the most immediate economic impact (stadiums included there), supporting cities' efforts to right their own budgets by either freezing aid where it is or restoring some of that which has been lost in the past six years, and accepting that running a deficit budget (when done carefully and with vision) can actually be a successful short-term solution.
If there were any true leaders there, they would have realized by now that any business which decides where to locate based strictly on a state's tax climate is not one that you want to host. The companies you want to attract will understand that good education, and care for those on the margins, are worth a corresponding increase in the tax rate. It leads to a climate in which they can be successful for a very long time. You want businesses that are looking for that. Put bluntly, Pawlentyville looks a lot like Pottersville. It's a sad place where people sit on their money and everything fades to black-and-white. (End rant.)
Back to my earlier point. If the Vikings had a Shane, that person would be figuring out who exactly among the legislators is beating the stimulus drum the loudest. Then the Vikings would take that info and get those people together into a core of support and gradually build around it. That's pretty much what happened with the Twins deal.
It's not impossible, but it will probably take someone unexpected to do the very tedious leg work.
I guess that's my way of saying thanks, Shane.
Back In the Ground
While I was away, I heard that La Velle E. Neal mentioned this site on KFAN one morning. So, welcome to everyone who either heard that show or came through the link on his blogroll.
I sent him a calendar for his trouble. You can still get yours -- they're going out at cost right now, so don't expect the price to go any lower. And I'm certainly willing to talk interesting trades...
You may have noticed that I've been sprucing up the site a bit. Check out the image links in the right column. There's lots of info on this site (already well over 1000 images) that might be interesting and relevant long after the original posting. It's my hope that you'll find something to explore there.
The images are selected randomly with every page load. So if you don't see something interesting right away, just hit your refresh button.
I've also heard your pleas to make the comments easier to navigate. That's next on my list.
"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 3037 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Sometime in the late 1980s: B ramp is under construction. Not yet built: Target Center, I-394 and the A ramp.
This is the trapezoid (for lack of a better name) in right center. Be sure to notice section of seats just below the pavilion and above the fence (which I hadn't noticed before). For those who are interested, what looks like an old-style scoreboard is in fact a high-def video board which will look, at times, like an old-fashioned scoreboard.
This view is from the roof of a warehouse which stood where the A ramp is today. The HERC is now located where the tracks turned north (toward the top).
Here's another view up Sixth Street toward where the plaza will meet First Avenue (it will hug Target Center all the way).
I suppose that one day my son will graduate from Mrs. Fields to Hooters. At least he won't have to travel too far. *Shudder*
(Click to enlarge.)
Go get 'em, boys!
The creative design of the admin building stands in stark contrast to the horribly pedestrian appearance of the LRT platform. This design looks like it came out of a public transportation manual.
Signage for the concession stand which is available from the plaza (plaques are up on the fencing)
...but you can get a feel for what it will be like.
Seventh Street circulation
Someone please get those poor people a drink of water. (Gate 34, after the game had started)
Yes, it's pretty tempting to just walk right in...
Here's the current overview from the south side of the B ramp (from which the banner at the top of this page was culled).
Poles through the gap
Click to enlarge. (Photo by Jared Wieseler)
A mini-freeway! (Police action in progress...)
I don't think this will remain a knothole, but the view is pretty cool.
These two sections are within a few feet of one another.
This looks from the base of the stairs, behind the big pillars, toward the street.
The gate has grown a row of sponsorship
Touring the Rapid Park site (L-R: Commissioners Wade, Vekich, Sykora, Cramer, and tour guide Chuck Ballentine, source: RP)
No offense, TC, but you're pointing exactly the wrong direction if you want people to use the ramp opening to your right...
Photo by Tyler Wycoff
A peek through a tiny gate.
From the TV camera platform -- the view you'll see on TV
Despite what those signs say, every one of these places was selling either snacks or Yankee memorabilia out of its front door. Do you suppose anything like this will spring up anywhere near the new Twins ballpark?
The circulation ramp on the north now has its louver framing.
A cold afternoon in 323, but we had our trusty Twins blanket -- made by my mom when Noah was born.
I had to hold the camera as far over my head as I could to get this shot, in which the infield is finally visible. It's a spot made for your average Timberwolves player.