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Twins in '12 and RT's Whiff

January 24, 2012 1:43 PM

With the Winter Caravan underway, there's hope that baseball will arrive again on schedule this year. That's a relief. Seems like it's been a while since we've talked about baseball around here. So, here goes.

Who do you expect the 2012 Twins to be?

Michael Cuddyer. Jason Kubel. Joe Nathan. (I need a new favorite Twin.)

Jamey Carroll. Ryan Doumit. Josh Willingham. Joel Zumaya. (OK, but I'm not seeing a new favorite there.)

Concussions? "Progress." (A rather disquieting word to hear in that context.)

Bi-lateral legs? Apparently no longer weak. (Except for the new fiancee, of course.)

Offense? Basically flat. Defense? Basically flat. Pitching? Totally flat.

To wonder how the team might do this year, it's reasonable to wonder how they might have done last year without all the injuries, and use that to project a bit.

They ended 2011 about 150 points in winning percentage below expectations (conventional wisdom having them at about 87 wins, or .539, before last season started), notoriously coming away with only 63 wins.

But they weren't really a .389 team for the whole season. They were a .321 team for the first two months, a .611 team for the middle two, and a .241 team for the last two. (Yes, those middle two months were that good. I'm as surprised as you).

The rough start, though it was probably an anomaly, certainly doomed their season, but there was still hope at the All-Star break. The team actually peaked at .474, a scant five games under .500, on July 20, but they won only five of their next 17 games, culminating with a sweep at the hands of the White Sox in early August. It became obvious during those 17 games that this team would not be creating any miracles, and with that knowledge, the bottom dropped out.

July 22 - The Twins at their 2011 plateau

So, who were they really? Basically, they clawed their way to .460 on July 8, were at .461 at the All-Star break, and still in that region when that dropoff began (last above .450 on August 6). It appears in their record to be a solid plateau. So I think it's fair to say that's the team they really were without the big guns -- and still with some hope fueling them.

So starting with that, and seeing that the overall talent level is pretty even, what might be different this year?

First, I'm inclined to give them back 25 percentage points because injuries, though inevitable, are highly unlikely to be as bad as last year. That gets them to .486, which will have to represent the low end of their 2012 potential.

Next, we have to consider that Morneau is an unknown (so no guaranteed wins added back), Span is an unknown (so no guaranteed wins added back), and Mauer, though he will be back, sounds like he'll be out from behind the plate a fair amount to protect his knees.

I don't have to tell you this, but having Mauer behind the plate adds a level of confidence all around which translates directly into more wins. The pitchers pitch better, the fielders field better -- even the rooters in the stands root better. So the best-case scenario for the team concerning Mauer is that he catches 120 games and hits at a career pace. That could easily add back 50 points in winning percentage. But he's unlikely to get anywhere near that best case, mostly because the management will probably be overly cautious, so I'm cutting his addition back to 35 points.

That brings us to .521 (about 84-78) as the upper limit without a fully-recovered Morneau and Span. If there is a sudden synergy of recuperation (not out of the question), the upper limit might stretch a bit, but we can't really count on that.

Split the difference between that high and that low and you get an actual projection of .504 (roughly 82-80).

I know that it's a completely un-sabermetric approach, but that's all I've got. It simply leads me to think that humble expectations are the best strategy out at the Railyard this summer. (You'll still see me out there cheering, of course.)

Tear down Lee's for a football stadium? Sacrilege!

Football Fumes

The crystal ball is much clearer for the Vikings. And by that, I do not mean to say that they will suck next year, though it does seem pretty obvious. Nor do I mean that they'll be playing in the Metrodome, also a certainty.

I mean that the more things change in the stadium saga, the more they stay the same. (By the way, if you visit this site only when new articles are posted, you're missing 90% of the fun. The 1300+ comments on my previous post have covered quite a wide range of topics, many with great passion. And the main post somehow managed to stay relevant the whole time, despite about a dozen attempts on my part to come up with something more timely.)

Nothing has been solved, of course, and in some real respects the process has regressed. This is normal, but cries out for some scrutiny. Personally, I think the writing is on the wall for how the whole thing will end, but some people still think that the Vikings have more than one option.

Take, for example, the mayor of Minneapolis.

The Delusional Raymond Thomas?

Now, I like Mayor Rybak. He's been a pretty good mayor, a distinct improvement over his predecessor, and a steady hand on the wheel while navigating some rough financial seas. He has good energy, good (if sometimes a little goofy) ideas, and tends to avoid the dogma-filled shallowness which befalls many politicians these days. I especially like that when someone in the media asks him a question, he actually answers it. (More on that below.)

It's true that my property taxes have gone up about 60% since he took office, but I don't blame him for that. In fact, I think he's a primary reason they haven't gone up further. After the decade we've been through (with scathing LGA cuts from a singularly hostile administration in St. Paul), I'm convinced that things would be much worse for the city with a less skilled mayor. If anything, his skills may be somewhat wasted in a position with so little real authority. I think he might actually make a good Governor someday.

But everybody has blind spots, and every word he utters about the Vikings seems to expose more of his. He is, I think, the last person in town who does not recognize that the Metrodome site ("Downtown East" or "Industry Square" if you prefer) has been a failure since day one and would be no less a failure with a new stadium built in the same place.

Been there. Done that.

From the Downtown Council's 2025 Plan, a Metrodome "Revelopment" and a strong indication of where they think a new Vikings stadium should go.

The Vikings hate the Dome and its location, as well they should. And the neighborhood surrounding it (with the notable exceptions of the Star Tribune and Hubert's) wishes it weren't there. The infrastructure connections are incomplete and archaic, and it wouldn't actually save that much money or be that much faster to build on. When even the Downtown Council officially acknowledges this in vision documents, it's really time to let it go:

"...establish a major new residential district on and around the Metrodome site... The Metrodome site itself could become a small lake, surrounded by a leafy urban village of new homes, shops and ball fields that in essence, could link the campus to Downtown... Build a new Vikings stadium Downtown near Target Field and the primary transportation hub."

Lemon Tree, Very Pretty

Rybak also has come up with a financing option that sort of kind of sounds reasonable, but is just about as unlikely as the one up in Ramsey. There's no shortage of reasons, either.

For one thing, it's back-loaded (money only much later), meaning either the State's or the Vikings' contribution would have to be highly front-loaded (lots of money right now). That's just not going to happen.

It also requires vacating the charter amendment preventing the city from spending more than $10 million on a sports facility without a referendum. Not impossible, speaking legislatively, but it would face some very serious opposition from the same people who got that requirement passed in the first place.

It's one thing to simply bypass a creaky old default referendum requirement (i.e. Hennepin County for Target Field), but it's something quite different to bypass a referendum requirement which was actually created to prevent just what it would be bypassed for. Directly thwarting the will of the people isn't going to make anyone in St. Paul very popular. It would, in fact, make a whole lot of people with good lawyers hopping mad. Again, it's almost impossible to imagine this actually happening.

In addition, placing the stadium financing burden solely on the people of Minneapolis really isn't a good idea anyway. The base is too small, and too poor. Comparing this idea to the Target Field solution, the same problem comes up as did with Ramsey: The Hennepin County base is considerably larger and more affluent than the city of Minneapolis. (But, speaking of finding the right base, I'll go back to the best funding idea I've heard yet, which came from the other Twin Cities mayor, Chris Coleman: a teensie-weensy, teeny, tiny liquor tax throughout the state. Unfortunately, that's as unlikely as it is brilliant.)

Next, Rybak's plan robs Peter to pay Paul. The Convention Center is not going to simply go away when its bonds are retired. Repurposing this money now leaves a yawning chasm later which would have to be filled. It's hard to imagine either the City Council or the Legislature going for that.

And finally, while robbing Peter and paying Paul, the plan attempts to pay Mary as well. Tying funds for a shiny new stadium to renovation of a creaky old one (Target Center) creates a real mess, and ties the fate of something which is much-desired to something which is much-derided. Maybe people should want that (the Mayor says it will lower my aforementioned property taxes, but I'm skeptical), but the reality is that no one does.

Politically, it's also just plain dumb. I know that the numbers look smart on paper (if you believe them and can get past all the other hurdles I've just outlined), but it's a little like finding a pair of dirty old Timberwolves sweatsocks stuffed into the sleeve of a brand new Vikings sweatshirt. I mean, ewwww.

The fruit of this poor lemon is impossible to eat.

Ahh, Reasons

But I learned something last week that helped me understand Rybak's seemingly delusional bid -- which I hereby resolve to consider more political and perhaps wishful than delusional. Here's a clip of the mayor speaking to Tom Pelissero on 1500 ESPN last Tuesday (full show available here by selecting January 17):

Let me pull out the salient quotes:

Hennepin County was in negotiations with the Vikings for many, many months -- quietly, but doing it.

This is, believe it or not, something of a bombshell revelation. At the time, the media reported that the Vikings had spoken to Hennepin County as a potential partner, but the implication was that it was preliminary and casual. There is a very big difference between casual conversations and "many, many months" of quiet negotiations.

He goes on to say that everybody wanted the county to be the local partner, confirming what has long been suspected: When the Governor said, "Go find a site and a local partner," he really meant, "Go talk to Mike Opat."

The day (Hennepin) county pulled out -- and they pulled out very abruptly -- but the day they pulled out, we then came in with our Plan B.

The talks between Hennepin and the Vikings not only didn't end with a deal, but didn't end cordially. If I had to guess, based on what happened next, and this is pure speculation, the turn of events could most easily be explained by the Vikings dropping the AH plan onto Mike Opat's desk and saying, "Match this or we're going to the suburbs."

Whether it was that or something less dramatic we may never know. But the points to take away are that A) the Vikings knew Hennepin County was the most likely partner, and B) they didn't like either what they heard or the position this inevitability put them in.

But this was not something that was sprung on the Vikings. The Vikings had been in discussions with the Sports Facilities Commission for many months.

So, these quiet negotiations were not just with Hennepin.

Smartly, the Vikings were trying to create a bidding war of some sort. They were talking to everybody, quietly, testing waters, looking for the biggest sucke-- I mean best partner, and then trying to leverage it against the other players. This is illuminating, if not exactly shocking.

No surprise then that AH became the plan to beat. The Ramsey folks essentially gave the Vikings everything they could ever have hoped for. If you're the Wilfs at that point, you realize that if you somehow got the Ramsey plan passed it would be your absolute dream come true. And either way, it still could make for some pretty good leverage.

Only, it didn't. It was too delusional for words. (Well, almost. I've personally written about 7,500 words on the subject in the past three months.)

What's really interesting, then, is what Rybak did as Arden Hills rose and fell.

When the Vikings then said, this was in the spring, that they wanted to go to Arden Hills, we said, "We will stand back and give Arden Hills the ability, and Ramsey County the ability to move forward."

And I credit the people from Ramsey County for leading. And so, grudgingly, we stood back as there was a proposal to use tax dollars to move a business out of our city because we wanted to solve this friggin' thing that's gone on so long. And we did that.

When it became clear this fall that Ramsey County did not have the votes to get through the Legislature, and when we were asked by the Governor to come forward, we stepped forward.

I probably don't need to connect the dots, but here they are: Somebody whispered into Rybak's ear and said, "Be patient. Arden Hills will flame out. You'll get your turn." Whoever did that whispering probably also knew that the city of Minneapolis didn't stand a chance either, but that letting them take a turn would benefit the process in the long run (if only to get the Metrodome site vetted and rejected).

So sure enough, Rybak's moment came and he seized it. It looks a little like he gave a weak swing at a 90 MPH fast ball, but he gets credit for stepping into the box in the first place. He has much to gain by being a player, if even just for a short time, and almost nothing to lose.

In short, we've been watching a series of at bats, arranged as carefully as if Gardy were filling out a line up card. Put more plainly, it's political theater.

And everybody else, well almost everybody else, stepped off the stage so Rybak could have his moment.

A Streaker (Naked Greed)

Here's the problem: The Metrodome plan is only a tiny shade more plausible than Arden Hills. As such, it did not present the kind of leverage the Vikings need to get a better deal from Hennepin.

Enter Linden Avenue -- or what I will from now on refer to as the Basilica Site (BS for short).

You may remember that, for the longest time, no one knew just who brought this idea forward or why. But word around town is that the powers behind the Block E casino project were also behind the mysterious appearance of this potential stadium site. If true, it would sure make a lot of sense. But you need one more piece to make it fit together.

We've now seen it reported several times that Hennepin wants the Farmers Market site. This means that there is already a link between Hennepin financing and the FM land. You don't get the financing unless you take the site, and you don't get the site unless you take the financing. (This also explains why Rybak might have been unable to attach his financing plan to the FM site.)

But the Block E guys want their casino approved, and one way to make that considerably more likely is to become part of the financing for a Vikings stadium. But they're shut out with the FM site because of the existing link with Hennepin. They needed another site.

But that other site also became immediately attractive to the Vikings (who may or may not have any connection to the Block E guys) because it actually appeared to provide the necessary leverage with Hennepin. It does so by being more plausible than either the Metrodome or Arden Hills, while still farther from the existing infrastructure, and easier to build exclusive parking around. (I love those blissfully parking ramp-free renderings; hi-larious.)

Given the instant and completely predictable opposition from the Basilica community, it's unclear whether the Vikings actually thought they might be able to build a stadium there, or whether they just joined the rouse as a negotiating tactic. For their part, the Block E casino guys were probably just rolling the dice, realizing that you can still win even with the odds against you.

Either way, it doesn't matter. Mary Jo is formidable (and should be satisfied earlier rather than later), but having a guy in a clerical collar hold a press conference on the steps of a beautiful and beloved 100-year-old building to denounce your business strategy and vow to fight you with all of God's will (and lawyers) is a really, really bad thing. Forget the BS. It's total BS.

In short, swing and a miss! Strike three. So, we're back to the top of the order.

Loose Ends

You may be wondering whether Shakopee is really a player here or not.

In truth, I think they have a great site, and a nice potential synergy of entertainment options. Unlike AH, the Shakopee location is actually in the middle of somewhere.

Unfortunately, it appears that they are tying their bid to the racino idea, which makes it totally DOA. If they could team up with an existing casino, or find some other funding method, I think they could become serious contenders here. But as it is, not so much.

And while I was writing this post, Mark Dayton sent a letter to the Vikings saying that the Metrodome site is the only option for the 2012 session.

This doesn't actually change anything. A bad option is really no option. The Vikings won't go for it, and neither will the Legislature or the city of Minneapolis. Consensus is steadily building around the only really viable location.

In that regard and others, the landscape bears some distinct similarities to that in 2006, when TF was approved after the Hennepin County option sort of appeared out of nowhere and took the world by storm. (It was even an election year. Go figure.)

Should all the stars align, there is certainly a slight chance that Hennepin might reenter the fray this year, but it certainly wouldn't happen at the beginning of the session. And they won't enter at all unless there is a better-than-decent chance of getting their existing sales tax amended to include the Vikes.

Frankly, given all this TP nonsense, that doesn't seem very likely. More likely is that the Vikes will have to wait till next year, when the political landscape will most certainly have changed.

There could be a whole lot of "waiting till next year" going on around these parts in 2012...

Don't worry. Everything will be alright.

Comments


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NEW POST!!!!!!

Posted on January 24, 2012 at 1:45 PM by tk Highlight this comment 1

Good explanation of what's going on with the Vikings and their stadium quest. As I read that article, it made me all the more worried about the Vikings using Lester Bagley as their point man given his ineffectiveness and abrasive personality. To borrow a saying used elsewhere, "Bagley is always ready for war when the situation calls for a peace time general".

As for the Twins, I figure they'll finish 75-87 or so as long as injuries don't gut the team again. The big problem is the front office sees the remants of the recent division winning teams and thinks it can just move around a few pieces and get back in the pennant chase. After all, apart from Cuddy, the Twins at the start of the millenium had little in common with the Twins that entered Target Field in terms of personnel yet won all the same. Unfortunately the 2011 Twins can't be repaired with a simple fix up job. They need to gut the thing and start over. The longer they ignore reality, the longer and harder it will be to get the Twins back to their recent glory.

Posted on January 24, 2012 at 1:59 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 2

I don't think the Twins will be the inept club from the first and last 2 months and they're certainly not the world beaters of June and July. Somewhere between 78-85 wins is where I see this team landing.

In years past that'd be plenty to stay in contention with the rest of the fodder in the AL Central but with the news that Price Fielder is joining Miggy and Delmon in the middle of the Tigers lineup it's tough to imagine meaningful games past the 1st weekend of september.

Posted on January 24, 2012 at 2:31 PM by jp Highlight this comment 3

Fielder to Tigers 9 Yrs/214 Mil. Atleast we will see some homeruns this year!

Posted on January 24, 2012 at 2:54 PM by JoJo Highlight this comment 4

The Detroit Tigers will be salivating over the thought of facing the Twins' "pitch to contact" pitchers...

Posted on January 24, 2012 at 3:04 PM by Mike (aka Mike) Highlight this comment 5

Holy crap Rick! You've been saving up, huh?

Glad to see a new post mid-winter. It's sort of like our own version of Punxsutawney Phil, a signal that spring is coming...hey, Rick's got a new post up! Baseball's on its way!

Posted on January 24, 2012 at 3:57 PM by theloniousjoe Highlight this comment 6

What can I say? I saw my shadow...

Posted on January 24, 2012 at 4:26 PM by Rick 7

Good write-up, Rick. I'll throw these tidbits out there:
I spoke briefly with a colleague who's a business owner in the downtown council group. His take on RT - the mayor would personally support any Minneapolis site, but is stuck between a county that has walked away from the issue, a fractured city council that does not like the BS or FM site, and a team that is constantly dissatisfied and looking to maximize bucks when it should be trying to bring together a deal. RT pushed the Dome because it's there, he thinks more city council members would support it, and, ultimately, he wants the Vikings to stay and stay in Mpls. My friend also thinks the business owners would prefer the FM site for development reasons but that there isn't anything approaching concrete consensus or hard opinion on that.

My lingering question: Where does the STATE money come from? Racino? No go. A tax increase? Ha! E-pulltabs?? Is that really the only potentially viable option? And is it even viable?

Twins: HUGE unknowns. To have any chance of being competitive, they need relatively healthy years from Mauer, Morneau, Span and Baker; another great year from Perkins and competence from Capps; and a return to excellence from Liriano. A lotta ifs. If Vegas put the over/under at 81, I think I'd bet the under.

Posted on January 24, 2012 at 4:35 PM by BR Highlight this comment 8

Question BR - why is the racino a 'no go'? I don't think any stadium deal is going to be done without some form of gambling tied to it. Hence the reason why I want to firebomb Block E and rebuild it into a 116-story hotel/casino!

I'm not the only one that thinks that's a great idea. Clicky for a Fox 9 report.

Posted on January 24, 2012 at 9:27 PM by luke Highlight this comment 9

My sources (namely, myself) say it will be the FM site that wins out. They just have to make it look like they have exhausted all other options first.

Mary's Place and the Salvation Army will be relocated to the other side of downtown, just like business owners have wanted for years. Then the HERC will be moved and all will be "right" on the north side.

Nice post Rick!

Posted on January 24, 2012 at 10:33 PM by DreDogg Highlight this comment 10

Does anyone have a map outlining the area that covers the Metrodome land and the Star Tribune land that once was apart of a possible new Vikings stadium plan some years ago?

Posted on January 25, 2012 at 09:13 AM by Jeff Highlight this comment 11

Why on earth would ziggy ever approve of having this stadium being built where the metrodme...that's such a bad site..what a sell out...

Posted on January 25, 2012 at 10:49 AM by hanrolo Highlight this comment 12

I'm sure he doesn't want it on the dome site, but what choice does he have? We do things so ass backwards in this state it isn't even funny!

Instead of doing things right, we will cram another 30 year stadium in the dome site.

Senator Marty said he doesn't want to vote on it this year. Well when will you want to? You didn't last year, you don't this year, and next year will be a budget year, so you won't want to vote then either.

The only way to make the stadium go away is to finally take it on, and vote one way or another.

Either vote to get a stadium done, and keep the Vikings here, or vote no, and let them leave. Either way get something done. You were elected to solve complicated problems in our state, then do it.

Posted on January 25, 2012 at 10:53 AM by Vikeologist Highlight this comment 13

As long as they do not cut vital programs and education to get it done!

Posted on January 25, 2012 at 11:37 AM by tk Highlight this comment 14

Easy, easy. Nobody is going to make the mistake of rebuilding on the Dome site.

You have to realize that nothing that gets said can be taken at face value. Words are chosen to get the desired reactions from people, nothing else.

It may seem like a glacial pace, but real progress is being made in all of this thrashing.

Posted on January 25, 2012 at 11:46 AM by Rick 15

Well said Vikeologist! They are simply trying to avoid the issue and it's getting old. The Twins' and Gophers' stadium bills were passed in an election year in 2006, did the MN Political Empire come crashing down in the 2006 elections? I don't think so...

Whether you are for or against the stadium, at least vote on it so we can move forward one way or another instead of pushing the issue to the side each and every year.

The cost is only going higher and higher with each passing year.

Posted on January 25, 2012 at 12:33 PM by Mike (aka Mike) Highlight this comment 16

Let's not forget that the Dem controlled the legislature in 2006 and we had a republican governor at the time as well. Different political climate at the time.

Posted on January 25, 2012 at 12:39 PM by moda Highlight this comment 17

If the Vikings are actually serious about moving (I don't think they are) then they'd have to get their butts in gear. They have until 2/15 to declare that they're moving. That's 3 weeks. You actually think they'll have a plan in place for LA or anywhere else in 3 weeks? Me neither.

Posted on January 25, 2012 at 12:40 PM by GoAUpher Highlight this comment 18

Mike~
You can't compare to 2006. The ideological factions in the current Legislature are WAY different. It's just not the same players on the field.

Posted on January 25, 2012 at 12:41 PM by GoAUpher Highlight this comment 19

I wouldn't worry much about John Marty wanting to vote or not vote. He ultimately is a very peripheral player who doesn't want to vote because he doesn't think it's anything the state or other public bodies ought to be involved with due to a variety of philisophical beliefs. When it comes time to vote, he'll vote no as always.

The big deal right now is to first come up with something that can actually be voted upon and then make sure it has the votes to pass. If it doesn't have the votes to pass, then don't have a vote because a "no" victory will mess things up worse than not voting at all.

Posted on January 25, 2012 at 12:43 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 20

Just exactly who is avoiding the issue? It's all anybody is talking about at the Capitol and the media right now.

I know it's frustrating when it seems like everybody is just talking, but that is what legislators get paid to do, like it or not. Legislators don't get paid to vote, they get paid to come up with ideas, evaluate ideas, negotiate, wrangle, argue, grandstand, etc. Voting is just the culmination of everything else.

And, when somebody says that they don't want to vote on something, you have to listen beyond the words. They hardly ever actually mean what the words might lead you to think they mean.

I feel like I'm teaching a civics class here. If you want something that only a political body can provide, you've got to learn how it works. You've got to learn the code.

Posted on January 25, 2012 at 12:51 PM by Rick 21

If the Vikings are actually serious about moving (I don't think they are) then they'd have to get their butts in gear. They have until 2/15 to declare that they're moving. That's 3 weeks. You actually think they'll have a plan in place for LA or anywhere else in 3 weeks? Me neither.

The NFL has already stated there will be no NFL team in LA in 2012 because the stadium situation out there, while more advanced than here, isn't settled enough for anyone to be certain that a stadium will be built. The league doesn't want any team going there, having the stadium fail, and then getting stuck indefinitely at the Coliseum or the Rose Bowl. There aren't any other viable potential NFL markets. So the Vikes will be back in 2012.

Now 2013 is another matter because Farmers Field in downtown LA may have a clear enough path for construction that the NFL would to give a team the green light to go there and play temporarily at the Rose Bowl.

Posted on January 25, 2012 at 12:53 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 22

Amen, Jorge.

Posted on January 25, 2012 at 12:53 PM by Rick 23

The Vikings aren't going anywhere, Zygi wants to chisel the taxpayers out of a new stadium so he can reap an incredibly obscene reward but, when push comes to shove, he will settle for just plain obscene.

Posted on January 25, 2012 at 12:57 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 24

The one thing I remember about the Twins debate is that it seemed the most extreme elements of both the left (schools will be closed if a ballpark is built)and the right (any tax is evil in and of itself)joined forces in opposition. It remained for the more moderate elements of both parties to forge an agreement.

Posted on January 25, 2012 at 2:44 PM by terry Highlight this comment 25

Ben- How far down the obscene ladder is "plain obscene" from "incredibly obscene"? Perhaps a Vikings/Wilf themed infographic to keep us informed?

Posted on January 25, 2012 at 4:35 PM by Jared Highlight this comment 26

I should add, not a dig, I just want to make sure that it is enough steps down that I can accept the stadium debate resolution.

Posted on January 25, 2012 at 4:37 PM by Jared Highlight this comment 27

Jared ---

I think the spread is about the same as between "awesome" and "somewhat awesome".

Posted on January 25, 2012 at 5:13 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 28

Too bad he wouldn't settle for just the "incredible reward"...

Posted on January 25, 2012 at 5:15 PM by F_T_K Highlight this comment 29

He will. A great deal of money is the bird in the bag.

Posted on January 25, 2012 at 6:46 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 30

And the vote won't take place until the bill's authors know it will pass. Until then, it's all talking, arguing, discussing, studying, blah blah blah. The bill will be on life support a few more times before it is revived and passed. Lanning and RT are already going rounds about the Target Center being a part of it. So if Mpls says f-it we're not going to pay anything, that opens the door for Opat to bring money on the condition that it's built on the FM site. Rick's crystal ball said it best.

Posted on January 25, 2012 at 8:47 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 31

Back to the Twins for a second....I like Rick's analysis, but at the end of the day I think we will hit better (less injuries, Nishy not getting nearly as many at bats, Span having a better year. Not convinced Valencia is the ultimate answer at 3rd however). I think we will field better (less Nishy, Revere instead of Delmon, M&M boys are both great defensively and regardless of their bats will be upgrades).

I'm not seeing anything that tells me we will pitch better. Blackburn will have two games with 22 great ground ball outs, but then get hammered for a month. Liriano is 34-37 since his surgery four years ago. Pavano is a year older. Baker is the only one I might have some hope for, and he has to come back from injury. Marquis is journeyman material.

In any season, the bullpen wins about 1/3 of the games. So, if we were going for 90 wins, our starters need 60. Even if I give Baker 15 wins (a total stretch), I don't know where the other 45 come from. I do think between Dunsing and Perkins we have a reasonable 7th and 8th inning. Who knows about Capps. He'll probably be fine, but he's not in the Nathan/Aggie/Reardon category that is for sure.

This won't be the disaster of last year, but I can't get to 82 wins. This feels like a sub .500 team to me, and given our empty farm system right now at least in Rochester, I think we might have to get used to that for a couple of years.

Posted on January 25, 2012 at 10:28 PM by Lincster Highlight this comment 32

Back in 1979 when plans were underway to construct the Metrodome, what other sites were being considered at that time before deciding on the current downtown east location?

Posted on January 26, 2012 at 10:22 AM by Mike (aka Mike) Highlight this comment 33

LOL ben... Nicely played....

Posted on January 26, 2012 at 11:11 AM by moda Highlight this comment 34

I don't remember other sites being seriously considered in the late '70's. There were the "Save the Met" folks and the mayor of Bloomington who wanted the stadium to stay where it was, but I don't remember much in the way of proposals by them for upgrading the Met and paying for those upgrades. I'll defer to the "Save the Met" alums on that. The Vikings' needs in '79 were greater than the Twins for the same reason that the Twins' needs were greater than the Vikings in 2009; the stadium they were in was built for the other sport. I personally favored a separate football stadium near the Met, akin to the KC complex. There was no political will in the legislature to do that however. Instead they built on the cheap and we all know how that turned out.

Posted on January 26, 2012 at 11:46 AM by terry Highlight this comment 35

I feel like I'm teaching a civics class here. If you want something that only a political body can provide, you've got to learn how it works. You've got to learn the code.

In a way, you are. Too many folks want politics to be a certain way or expect it to be a certain way. What that means to them depends on the lense they use to view the world (idealistic, cynical, Dem, Repub, etc). What most people struggle with is that in the the end passing a bill this contentious is a giant puzzle. What political pieces do you need to fit together in order to provide a road to passage. That's easy enough to understand until it contradicts how people want the process to work or how they think it should work. Or perhaps more frequently, until their fandom comes into conflict with strongly held political beliefs (e.g. when the outcome of their "no new taxes" or "no public funding for stadiums" comes into conflict with "I'm a Vikings fan who doesn't want to lose my team").

Posted on January 26, 2012 at 11:50 AM by GoAUpher Highlight this comment 36

Mike,

The Industry Square (Metrodome) site beat out a site in the warehouse district where the A ramp now stands (adjacent to TF). It would have been a concrete donut (with a fixed, non-inflatable dome) surrounded by a massive parking ramp:


For reference, the blocks seen at the top of this diagram currently contain, from left to right, Target Field, Target Plaza, and Target Center

(The image above was scanned from Amy Klobuchar's great book, Uncovering the Dome.)

Posted on January 26, 2012 at 11:56 AM by Rick 37

The best thing people can do to understand the process at work here is to imagine themselves as a legislator -- and not a dictator, mind you -- but one of 201 people who are assembled, each advocating for his or her own preferred solution.

Then ask the tough questions: "What would I say and who would I say it to? Who else would have to agree? How would I talk to people who disagree? How much would I be willing to compromise? Is what I think I want really best for the people I represent? How do I prioritize my own pet project against all of the other pressing issues?"

Frankly, I don't know why anyone would want to be a legislator. It sounds like a whole bunch of work that, no matter how well you do it, half the people will hate you for when it's all done. (And the hours and the pay stink, too.)

Posted on January 26, 2012 at 12:06 PM by Rick 38

Mike,

I remember Coon Rapids touting a site and somewhere they made a drawing of an 80,000 seat domed stadium in the middle of nowhere with a huge parking lot, much like the Pontiac Silverdome at the time. I remember one idea of building a wall around the existing Met and putting a roof over it - sort of like how the Astrodome was constructed.

So many of us think the Metrodome is an eyesore on the Mpls skyline, can you imagine if that warehouse district dome became reality? YUCK! The 1970's were good for some things, architecture was not one of them.

Posted on January 26, 2012 at 12:14 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 39

Over at MinnPost, Doug Grow interviews a few folks who have interesting things to say, including this:

Many believe that Opat, who put together the Target Field funding mechanism, and the Hennepin County Board still are the key to any stadium deal.

One state senator, Linda Higgins, DFL-Minneapolis, suggested that the board might be able to "adjust" upward the sales tax used to fund the baseball park to help pay for a football stadium.

That "adjustment" might not need legislative approval, Higgins said.

(Emphasis mine.)

When you start to read things like that, you know that people have their thinking caps on, and wheels are surely turning...

Posted on January 26, 2012 at 1:07 PM by Rick 40

do you think thre is any chance in hell the stadium will be eliminating the retractable or roof to save money and get it done..wasnt that the reason target field is open? does it even save any money at all or is there a chance that would ever happen.....rick?

Posted on January 26, 2012 at 5:43 PM by hansrolo Highlight this comment 41

The new Vikings stadium will have a fixed roof.

There's no political will to build anything retractable (which would be used for only 4 or 5 games a year), and it would be equally foolish to build an open-air facility. I don't think there's anyone out there still advocating for either retractable or open-air.

Target Field has no roof because baseball is meant to be played outdoors. Well, that and the fact that the site is too small to fit one onto, and nobody wanted to wait around to scrape up the extra $150M it would have taken.

Posted on January 26, 2012 at 5:52 PM by Rick 42

I think the only way the roof will be retractable is if Zigi agrees to pay for it as an "upgrade"

So, fixed it is.

Posted on January 26, 2012 at 5:57 PM by Dodgeboy Highlight this comment 43

"That "adjustment" might not need legislative approval, Higgins said. (Emphasis mine.)"

I was wondering about this. Does the TF bill mandate the .15% amount or did Hennepin Co pick that number for their own needs? Could they simply change the rate?

Posted on January 26, 2012 at 6:06 PM by Dodgeboy Highlight this comment 44

The minnesota ballpark authority just redid their website and if you want to poke around a bit you might find the answer to the .15 question and a few others but it takes time to go through all those documents on the site.

Posted on January 26, 2012 at 6:53 PM by Leroy Highlight this comment 45

A retractable roof is pointless. It should be called a moon roof anyway. Putting a glass roof on a stadium would do the same thing. Until technology can provide a roof that can disappear to actually look like an outdoor stadium, stadiums need to forget about them.

Posted on January 26, 2012 at 7:41 PM by FD Highlight this comment 46

All of these Viking stadium stories in the news are bringing back bad memories of the Twins debates nearly a decade ago. We're approaching 6 years since the Legislature voted to approve a new ballpark for the Minnesota Twins. To this day, I remain shocked and dumbfounded that this event (Legislative approval) actually occurred within the borders of the state of Minnesota. When I walk through the gates of Target Field, I still do a double-take that the place actually exists.

Is it this painful everywhere, or just here?

Posted on January 26, 2012 at 8:09 PM by Jeff T. Highlight this comment 47

It's painful everywhere Jeff but the pain doesn't last for 10 years like it does up there. Leaders in most other areas are able to hammer out things much faster than MN. MN has so many layers of bullshit to get through just to re-pave a road. Many other states allow local municipalities and counties the ability to levy taxes and spend as they wish on large projects without a public referendum. In MN it seems the state legislature has all the power and all the say.

Posted on January 26, 2012 at 8:32 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 48

I don't think MN is unique at all - whether it's TF, or pending football stadium, I think both processes fit right in with the average 'conception-to-completion' time. I seem to recall an epic battle to get the new Mile High Stadium built in Denver, and they're just now honing in on definitive plans to build a new stadium for the 49ers after about 15 years of haggling.

Posted on January 26, 2012 at 8:48 PM by Expectorate Highlight this comment 49

In regards to Rick's comment 37 - Oh My God...I haven't seen Cerny's Third Avenue stadium proposal for a LONG time. And yes, the freeway would have driven right into a ramp surrounding the stadium.

More about Robert Cerny from Ballparks.com "Robert Cerny's Futuristic Vision
The idea for a domed stadium was actually conceived in the late 1960s when a Minneapolis architect named Robert Cerny introduced a concept of a domed football stadium in downtown Minneapolis. Over the next decade Cerny's idea became a political football. There was talk of a domed Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, a dome at the State Fairgrounds, a dome over Memorial Stadium and several other places in between. In the early 1970s, talk about a new stadium began to get serious. It had to. In 1975 the Minnesota Vikings' and Minnesota Twins' Metropolitan Stadium use agreements were set to expire."

Posted on January 26, 2012 at 9:31 PM by luke Highlight this comment 50

It looks like the Twins will be retiring TK's #10 this year!

Posted on January 26, 2012 at 10:26 PM by Mike Highlight this comment 51

I, for one, am advocating for an open-air stadium. Of course, my opinion doesn't really count.

Open-air, shaped like a long ship, with a Scandanavian History Museum attached. A man can dream, right?

In the immortal words of one Robert Plant: "Valhalla, I am coming!"

Posted on January 27, 2012 at 10:27 AM by DreDogg Highlight this comment 52

Jeebus Rick. That warehouse district dome looks like they took the general design of the Astrodome and managed to make it worse. Makes me think we all got lucky with the Dome we did end up with (never thought that was possible).

Posted on January 27, 2012 at 11:06 AM by GoAUpher Highlight this comment 53

GoAUpher - THANK YOU, I was trying to figure out what stadium that place looked like.

DreDogg, when it comes to an open-air stadium, no it doesn't. But my opinion doesn't really count for much around here either apparently.

Posted on January 27, 2012 at 11:51 AM by luke Highlight this comment 54

In my opinion the legislature has had about what 8 months to work on this and only 3 total weeks of in session time. the idea that they've had years to work on this is ridiculous. There has never been anything presented to them to actually work on. Not until just recently anyway.

Posted on January 27, 2012 at 1:51 PM by moda Highlight this comment 55

Hey Rick....can you explain how.electronic pull tabs would bring in more money?
I mean won't it cost money to make all the gaming modules...and I heard them say cause it would attract more young people...I'm in college and we had a debate about this and the majority of us thoughy it was a joke..we don't play pull tabs much now why would we with this? And in this economy why would they go on record sayin that..why would they want to see more people get turned on too gambling? Am I missing something wrong here?

Posted on January 27, 2012 at 1:55 PM by hanrolo Highlight this comment 56

Although the legislature hasn't had any concrete ideas presented to it, anytime the Vikings Stadium issue has come up, its members have practically sprinted away from any meaningful engagement.

"Minnesota has more important things to deal with".

"We need to pass budget first".

"We need to pass the bonding bill first".

"We need to pass K-12 Education first".

"We need to pass the transportation bill first".

"The Vikings need to get in line behind the Twins".

"The Vikings need to get in line behind the Gophers".

"We won't even consider a stadium given the economic climate".

"A stadium has no chance this year".

"No one's interested in discussing it during an election year".

"We don't publicly subsidize Lars and Betty Dahlstrom's bait shop on County Road 17. Why should the Vikings be different?"

"The Metrodome is fine".

Pick your reason.

I know I'm oversimplifying things and the team has certainly made numerous cardinal errors in this process, but it's not as if the Vikings never came to the capitol looking to discuss a stadium until now.

Many of the above issues were and are much more important. What I, and others, get frustrated with is when those other issues are used as a means not only to not discuss the stadium at all in the present, but indefinitely delay any future discussions. The Vikings stadium issue was put off numerous times because I ultimately think the legislature, or at least certain members, would somehow hope the problem will just magically disappear so they can be spared from making any difficult decisions, pro or con. That's not going to happen and never was.

Eventually some sort of final decision will have to be made. If that decision is to build, then the delays have needlessly cost the public hundreds of millions of dollars.

Posted on January 27, 2012 at 2:25 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 57

But what have they given the state to work on until recently? Keep also in mind that we've switched poles in both the legislature and the governor. The first time they came with a proposal was the last two weeks of the session which was ridiculous. Now they are getting attention right away. Not sure what there is to complain about unless it is directed squarely at Zygi.

I guess we can complain that government moves too slow but that's not isolated to stadium issues.

Posted on January 27, 2012 at 2:59 PM by moda Highlight this comment 58

hanrolo,

The gambling debate is pretty old, but it seems like every time a stadium gets discussed it gets dredged up again.

Frankly, I'm not exactly sure just how or if electronic pulltabs would raise more money than regular pulltabs. Here's a primer on the issue from the Strib last fall which offers basically the explanation you heard: some combination of expansion of their use, easier form factor, and younger people playing.

I don't really buy it either.

I know that the Governor is on record as supporting gambling revenue for the stadium, but it's hard to imagine that ever getting through the Legislature in any form. There are too many forces in too many ideological corners which are against it. Maybe a Vikings-themed scratch-off game, but probably not much more. It's a regressive, albeit voluntary, tax with very great costs.

The reality is that they're probably going to have to create or raise a different kind of tax somewhere for the State's portion, and that makes passage in 2012 almost impossible.

The best course of action for those who want a new Vikings stadium this year would be to find the nearest "Tea Party" legislator and explain that taxes, in and of themselves, are not the enemy. Sometimes they pay for things that many people want and/or need.

(While you're at it, explain to them that the original Boston Tea Partiers were not protesting taxation per se, but rather a lack of representation in taxation decisions. Well, that, and the fact that their taxes were going directly to pay the salaries of British stooges in colonial government. The reference would be laughable were it not for the American public's overall cluelessness about their own history, and the concerted, frightening, and wildly-successful effort on the part of a few super-rich people to manipulate that.)

Posted on January 27, 2012 at 4:47 PM by Rick 59

geeze Rick I so badly want to post the last two paragraphs of your last post on my Facebook page. Quite well explained.

Posted on January 27, 2012 at 4:57 PM by moda Highlight this comment 60

An embarrassing % of "Americans" can't count to eleven or spell "dog" - history would be way too much to expect.

Posted on January 27, 2012 at 5:25 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 61

It's odd that we are so bad with history. It doesn't change. learn it and then you know it.

Posted on January 27, 2012 at 5:31 PM by moda Highlight this comment 62

Actually --- it does change, and is under pretty constant study for the purpose of identifying changes that need to be made.

Posted on January 27, 2012 at 6:03 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 63

One cannot explain anything to a teabagger. Good luck with that!

Posted on January 27, 2012 at 6:13 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 64

I tend to scratch my head when I hear folks say nix to increased gambling options because it will lead to more problem gambling. We’re awash in gambling options now; how will electronic pull tabs or purple and gold scratch tickets lead more people down the path of self-destruction? Are they waiting for dedicated gaming before they take that fatal plunge? We’ve got casinos everywhere. We’ve got scratch games. We’ve got pull tabs. We’ve got lottery games galore. We’ve still got horse racing. Isn’t there also a dog track somewhere in the state as well? We’ve got that guy at work that always runs a Super Bowl board. In spring, he runs an NCAA bracket board. If someone’s going to succumb to the lure of easy money, he’s already passing up plenty of chances.

Posted on January 27, 2012 at 6:46 PM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 65

Jorge,

I see the timing of this ramp up of the discussion as being related primarily to two factors:

1. The Lease
2. The Lease

In the first case, it's the actual expiration of the existing lease. There has been a sense all along that the team agreed to 30 years when they demanded that the new facility be built, the facility was designed and built to their specifications (at the expense of the other tenants), and they should honor that.

In the second case, it's the sweetheart deal which the Vikings have enjoyed (and the Twins did not) at the Metrodome since the very beginning. Because of the various revenue streams they have commanded, and the pittance they have had to pay in, they have never been able to credibly claim that they were not making money at the Metrodome, only that they weren't making as much as other teams with newer amenities. Big difference there.

This is also very different from the Twins, who were, in fact, losing money at one point, even with big crowds, until Carl Pohlad used his banking skills to (impressively but depressingly) create real profit from a horrible team and small crowds (the mid-to-late 1990s).

The other piece of the timing, believe it or not, has to do with the recognition over the past 20 years or so that a stadium just doesn't work in that part of downtown. In the recent words of Mike Opat, it's "bad urban planning."

This is just one way you can be sure that a new stadium on the Dome site is a complete non-starter. It's not going to happen.

If there's a fourth factor, it's recovery from the stadium fatigue which set in when the Gophers and Twins got theirs. After all those battles, nobody wanted to work on another stadium for a long time. Now enough time has passed that there are new faces and new energy.

It'll get done this time, pretty much right on schedule.

Posted on January 27, 2012 at 9:27 PM by Rick 66

It's a good point, Ben. Most "history" is a malleable fiction.

Facts just aren't what they used to be.

Posted on January 27, 2012 at 9:32 PM by Rick 67

I am kind of enjoying watching the Timberwolves.

Posted on January 27, 2012 at 9:54 PM by Jeff T. Highlight this comment 68

Hey, we're reaching new levels of absurdity:

Meanwhile, talk emerged Friday of another possible site option that would make discussions about moving to TCF moot. Vikings vice president of stadium development Lester Bagley and Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission chairman Ted Mondale said they've been looking at acreage just southeast of the Dome, between 11th Avenue S. and Interstate 35W. Bagley said that the location would be ideal but that buildings on the site might be difficult to relocate.

Yes, let's go even farther from all the infrastructure! (At least it's obvious what the Vikings want: exclusive parking revenue.)

And then there's this:

Bagley stopped short Friday of saying the team would insist on alcohol sales at (TCF Bank) stadium, and a National Football League spokesman said the decision would be left to the team.

Hey! Come on out into the freeze-your-a$$-off cold and watch a sh!tty team while completely sober!

You couldn't make this stuff up.

Posted on January 28, 2012 at 01:30 AM by Rick 69

Rick-

You must have some finacial interest in the farmers market site, since you dislike every other idea that is brought up.

Posted on January 28, 2012 at 02:26 AM by Duffman Highlight this comment 70

Dislike? Did I say that I dislike the idea?

I did not. And I don't. And I have no financial interest in any land beyond my own little south Minneapolis plot.

But when the ideas get progressively less likely, progressively more absurd, you have to call them out. That little plot of land has just about as much chance of becoming the Vikings' new home as either the Metrodome site or my own little south Minneapolis plot.

And the reason why it might be floated is patently obvious. It says to one and all: We want parking revenues!

Posted on January 28, 2012 at 02:57 AM by Rick 71

This is why I think the Vikings should be told to just go pound salt. It is clear that the owners make all kinds of money right where they are --- and that their "issue" is that they want to make MORE money. And they think they deserve a handout to achieve that goal?

Stay tuned for all the "That's how it's done" types to chime in while, in the meantime, wondering how they are going to react when Zygi starts charging them $50 for parking or $150 for a spot to tailgate.

Posted on January 28, 2012 at 07:23 AM by Ben Highlight this comment 72

Wether anyone else sais it or not that's up to them, but I will say it very blunt...
The area the like by 11 th ave is laughable......dislike!

Posted on January 28, 2012 at 08:55 AM by hanrolo Highlight this comment 73

The public should not be a party to a stadium project which grants parking EXCLUSIVITY to the Vikings or anyone else. Having an assortment of parking/transit options is good for the fans and the public. If the Vikings control one of many parking options, I'm OK with it; if the "Beer for Breakfast" crowd wants to pay $40 or $50 for one of those spots, God bless. But I'm not OK with it if they control the ONLY parking option. Sorry Arden Hills.

Posted on January 28, 2012 at 09:13 AM by terry Highlight this comment 74

"Beer for Breakfast Crowd." I love it!

Posted on January 28, 2012 at 09:18 AM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 75

It's farily hard to like something you consider absurd.

Plus why is absurd? It moves the stadium towards the only infrastucture that matters, the freeways, and allows for more parking near the stadium. Sounds like a win-win. Plus it is still closer to the LRT than the FM site would have been. The only infrastucture it is farther away from is the bars, but it seems everyone here doesn't care about that.

The other reason it was floated was so that the Vikings would not be stuck with a $30 million loss and a $37 million tab playing at TCF Bank Stadium.

Posted on January 28, 2012 at 1:55 PM by Duffman Highlight this comment 76

Believe it or not, I definitely could like something and think it absurd at the same time. (TMZ springs to mind.)

But let's leave that language behind to get at what really matters. These sites can all be separated into two distinct groups: those which have zero chance (AH, Metrodome, BS), and those with greater-than-zero chance (FM, Shakopee).

This new site (call it 11th Ave) fell into the "zero chance" category before the Strib could publish the idea. (By the way, that's what's called a "trial balloon" and everyone will read reactions before ever mentioning it again. You may have heard the last of it already.)

By now, it should be obvious to everyone who has followed this debate even a little that decision-makers have priorities, and there are certain things which they will just never accept. In many cases, the forces are actually beyond their control.

While the 11th Ave site moves closer to the freeway, it moves farther from the freeway entrance/exit ramps in almost every direction, especially the primary ones on Washington Avenue. It moves a couple of blocks farther from the LRT station (considerably farther away from LRT than the FM site, where the trains would run adjacent -- literally -- just like at TF). It moves blocks farther away from all the existing parking, which would conveniently require a new ramp to be built that the Vikings would probably control, or at least get revenue from.

I'll say it again: This was a message site. But Zygi is going to have to get used to the idea that he's not going to get everything that he wants. He will get a whole bunch of stuff, he'll get obscenely rich, and he'll be financially competitive again, but his license to print money is going to have at least some limits.

If I have a bias, it's toward what actually can happen, and mostly because the sooner it gets done, the cheaper it will be.

Posted on January 28, 2012 at 2:39 PM by Rick 77

One more thing: The MSFC is working pretty hard on this, probably in an attempt to save themselves. Without the Metrodome, there is no reason for that body to exist.

And I think there's a distinct sense that any stadium built on the FM site might also, for convenience, be owned by the Ballpark Authority, a body which has proven considerably more adept than the MSFC. Thus, you can understand why Mondale et. al. might be trying to find an alternative to FM that would necessitate their continued existence as the governing body.

The whole MEC idea is very interesting, but a subject too big to get into in any detail in a comment.

Posted on January 28, 2012 at 3:00 PM by Rick 78

One cannot explain anything to a teabagger...?????????
Maybe the takers should start listening for once. Besides, since when has the tea party put our country on the verge of financial ruin?

Posted on January 28, 2012 at 9:11 PM by unknowntwinsfan Highlight this comment 79

Oh God! Let's not start down that road. We're already bickering over FM, BS, AH, et al. Isn't that enough conflict without dragging unwinnable political arguments into the mix? Sometimes it's just better to let a comment pass.

Posted on January 29, 2012 at 02:37 AM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 80

The ONLY decent and original idea for a stadium on the east side of downtown was on Daily Norseman a month or two ago...

Bulldoze the two Strib buildings, then use those blocks (and the parking lots around them) to build a new place across 5th from the armory. It would still be next to the dome's LRT stop, and closer to the govt center stop. And be close enough for a skyway connection.

Kinda surprised the Strib hasn't started pushingthis idea...

Posted on January 29, 2012 at 08:32 AM by Dodgeboy Highlight this comment 81

I'm liking Dodgeboy's idea, that way it's also closer to the parking ramps within downtown and then when it's built, use the metrodome site for large open parking lots for tailgating that's even closer to freeway access, preventing people from having to go around busy foot-traffic at the dome itself.

Posted on January 29, 2012 at 1:21 PM by jcm-baseball Highlight this comment 82

One of the main reasons gambling expansion has a hard time politically is due to misinformation such as Rich's comment:

It's a regressive, albeit voluntary, tax with very great costs.

Gaming is a flat tax, everyone no matter what income level pays the same rate. The flat rate being the house take percentage.

I'm not even sure what to say about "very great costs". That's a whole lot of BS spinning. Sure there are costs both in money and quality of life. But that can be said about almost everything. A simple example would be the automobile. It has a huge personal cost both in money and life/injury.

Posted on January 29, 2012 at 5:21 PM by Dave Highlight this comment 83

DELICIOUS! Is it possible a Twins All Star Game logo has been leaked?? Clicky.

Posted on January 29, 2012 at 6:02 PM by luke Highlight this comment 84

If we can all agree that state sponsored gambling is a form of voluntary tax, and if demographic figures indicate that lower income Minnesotans are doing most of the gambling, then this voluntary tax could be fairly considered a regressive tax.

Posted on January 29, 2012 at 8:21 PM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 85

I would certainly agree that more lower income Minnesotans gamble than high income ones. It's not surprising either due to there being many more lower income individuals in Minnesota than high income individuals.

A breakdown of total gaming revenue correlated to individual incomes is nearly impossible. Mostly due to that type of information is not tracked and partly due to the tight control Tribes keep on revenue data.

A guy earning 25k a year may be spending $200 a month gaming and a millionaire may pop into Mystic Lake and drop $200,000 in a single nite. We just don't know that level of detail.

Therefore, the most one can say is it's a flat tax. After that it's all in how you want to spin it.

Posted on January 29, 2012 at 8:46 PM by Dave Highlight this comment 86

But if we're talking exclusively about state-sponsored gambling (i.e. scratch games, lotteries, and posssibly electronic pull tabs or racino), tribal cooperation in data compilation wouldn't enter into it. My guess is that any data compiled on state-sponsored gambling demographics would be purely voluntary information; much exit like polling data, and subject to margins for error and other statistical variances. We'll probably never know for certain.

But you are right in that if a rich guy and a poor guy both walk into SuperAmerica and buy an equal number of scratch game tickets, that voluntary tax could be called a flat tax like that of a sales tax. But unlike an income flat tax.

Posted on January 29, 2012 at 10:39 PM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 87

My only quarrels with the Vikings wanting a ton of parking revenue are if the team persists with this pursuit when it is politically unattainable, as seems to be the case, and if they waste time and effort on unattainable locations (11th Ave, AH) with a resulting diversion from better alternatives. I have no problem with the Vikings having a "monopoly" on parking in principle, even if I wouldn't enjoy paying the likely higher prices.

The fact is that 17 of 32 NFL teams have stadiums surrounded by substantial amounts of parking lots from which the team receives all or a large share of the revenue. Another 2 teams mix a good deal of onsite parking with nearby offsite parking. Only 13 of 32 teams have stadiums that generate little to no parking revenue for the host team. What the Vikings seek is the norm and not greatly different from the status quo at the Met for the team's first two decades.

All that said, the appetite for such a scenario is small to non existent in Minnesota. So the Vikings would do themselves a big favor by dropping the quest and going with a politically acceptable stadium plan. However, I won't begrudge the team for its desire to control parking. It's something the majority of the NFL already has.

Posted on January 30, 2012 at 11:14 AM by Jorge Highlight this comment 88

Click my name if you dare to check out the Marlins homerun celebration thingy at their new ballpark.

Posted on January 30, 2012 at 12:12 PM by Jeff Highlight this comment 89

Here is a panoramic view of the Marlins new home taken from behind home plate.

Posted on January 30, 2012 at 12:14 PM by Jeff Highlight this comment 90

Back when I was a smoker I thought the idea of taxing smokers an additional percent to smoke in bars had some merit.

Here is how it would work: for a bar / restaurant that earned less than 50% of their gross income from food sales they could opt to be a “smoking” facility but they would be subject to and additional sales tax on all of there sales. This would let economic forces decide the issue.

For instance, two bars both have $4.00 invested in a bottle of Grain Belt before any sales taxes. Jim’s Bar on the SE corner of 1st & Main and is no smoking so his sales tax is only 7.5%, (hypothetical) so he can sell it for $4.30 a bottle. However, Mike’s Bar across the street on the SW corner of 1ST and Main is smoking facility so his tax is 9.5%, so he has to sell that same bottle for $4.38 or more.

Why couldn’t a state wide tax of this nature be one of the funding mechanisms for a new football stadium?

Think of the additional funding sources: such as naming rights “Marlboro Field”, each luxury suite could be outfitted with a “Chesterfield Sofa” etc.

Posted on January 30, 2012 at 12:23 PM by trebor651 Highlight this comment 91

word play is so cute, isn't it? (me rolling my eyes a bit).

yes, let's go ahead and continue to incorrectly call the "linden avenue" site the "basilica site" for political purposes when in fact the "linden avenue" site if nearly 4+ blocks and an interstate highway trench away from the so-called "basilica site".

yes, let's go ahead and incorrectly call the "linden avenue" site the "basilica site" for political purposes when in fact NONE of the property that the proposed LINDEN AVENUE site stadium would be built on is owned by the basilica.

whatever the red-herring tossing, fear-mongering rev. john bauer of the basilica or the dirty money, greedy, bad for our state, lobbied to the heel indian casino tribes and their DFL lackies want some of you to think (politically or otherwise) you sure will believe it won't you?

state-run and state-benefitting casinos and racinos now. linden avenue site or arden hills site now! everything else is political crap and the real BS in this post.

Posted on January 30, 2012 at 12:41 PM by Betaband Highlight this comment 92

Given what we know about secondhand smoke, I think that ship has sailed. But nice try...

Re: the Marlins ballpark... Their grass is ugly.

IDea for funding, sure to be a big hit: Create a private, nonprofit company to sell "Vikings Tea Party" tea, in bags and bottles. Bottles could have an alcoholic version. Get exclusivity rights for selling the stuff to tailgaters in any stadium parking lots. All proceeds go to stadium funding. Patrons collect 50 tea bag labels or bottle caps and they're eligible for a Vikings Stadium T-Shirt.

Who's in?

Posted on January 30, 2012 at 12:41 PM by BR Highlight this comment 93

Betaband:
No political agenda from your end, huh? If it's just the "DFL lackies" holding things up, why can The Other Guys - you know, the ones who control BOTH houses of the legislature - put together a decent stadium funding bill, as you propose. Because Dayton would veto it? Puh-lease. Perhaps it's because opposition to gambling expansion is widespread and bi-partisan (or, in fact, nonpartisan).

Sheesh.

Posted on January 30, 2012 at 12:45 PM by BR Highlight this comment 94

BR
That's the point if you don't want to go to a smoking establishment you do not have to and you get your beer cheaper, you know something that the USA is known for "free will"

Posted on January 30, 2012 at 1:06 PM by trebor651 Highlight this comment 95

Beta it's teh same creative wording the people here use to call gambling a tax. Then they have people so hung up on it people then argue about whether it's a regressive tax or not. Not sure what taxes you have to go into a gas station or a bar and buy taxes as the sole product. Stupid. It is elective and as such it is not a tax. There may be taxes associated with it but calling it a tax is doing so out of an agenda.

Ben I was joking about the history comment. Life of the party you are.

Posted on January 30, 2012 at 1:17 PM by moda Highlight this comment 96

Trebor:

We just went through all of these smoking debates a few years back. It's not the customer who became the focus, it was the employee. I.e., Why should an employee have to submit to a smoke-filled, cancer-threatening work environment? You can try to argue that employees can just up and leave, get another job elsewhere, etc., but that would be true of most workplace safety regulations. And that argument doesn't recognize the realities of a bad job market (finding another job is easier said than done), or the fact that the argument itself was just rejected at both the municipal and state levels. So, well, there's that...

Posted on January 30, 2012 at 3:09 PM by BR Highlight this comment 97

BR,

Forget smoking vs.non-smoking!

What I'm trying say is people need to start thinking about creative ways to raise money, to get things done be it a stadium a bridge or a rail system or whatever.

So if you have a problem with smoking vs non-smoking open your eyes substitue stadium vs non stadium.

Posted on January 30, 2012 at 3:49 PM by trebor651 Highlight this comment 98

Hey Jeff, does that place remind you just a little bit of a glorified Tropicana Field?
Or maybe a Trop/Miller Park fusion??

I'll say it til I'm blue in the face, I'm glad the Twins got what they got, and didn't resort to something THAT drastic.

Posted on January 30, 2012 at 5:08 PM by luke Highlight this comment 99

My wish would be if we have to build a strictly indoor venue for an NFL team because of the climate/weather we have here past the college football season;then I would actually prefer that we just pass on that, and instead just bring in a Canadian Football League team that can play at TCF Bank Stadium. That way people who are sports purists can actually enjoy watching a game. Watching games the last few years at TCF and Target Field have made me realize that I was right all along-Football and baseball belong outside.

Posted on January 30, 2012 at 8:49 PM by Tom D. Highlight this comment 100

After nearly 12 months, I'm back!

This just in... The Marlins' ballpark SUCKS donkeynutz.

Posted on January 30, 2012 at 9:47 PM by OG Jeff Highlight this comment 101

Back in Twins Land, apparently they must have burned through the--what was it called?--waiting list. The inside back cover of Mpls-StPaul magazine has a full-page ad touting the reasons to be a season ticket holder. "2012 Season Ticket Packages are still available!" Plus you have the chance to raise the Twins flag or throw out a first pitch. (Didn't see the fine print about the chances of that happening.)

That said, it was good to wander around Twins Fest on Saturday just to be surrounded by baseball in January. Despite all the reasons to doubt, January hope for baseball is a fine thing.

Posted on January 30, 2012 at 10:16 PM by fiesta Highlight this comment 102

Good to have you back OG Jeff.
And, you're right, the Marlins Ballpark sucks.

And, looking at some pictures, apparently they haven't gotten very creative with naming rights for the place. I saw one pic of RF and just below the light standard, apparently they've erected "Marlins Park".

I guess Sun Life didn't want to slap its name on ANOTHER ugly stadium in Miami.

Posted on January 31, 2012 at 06:43 AM by luke Highlight this comment 103

With the latest kerfuffle at the capitol don't look for a Vikings stadium or anything else to get done this session.

Posted on January 31, 2012 at 10:48 AM by moda Highlight this comment 104

I saw that in the news and thought "oh no". It's probably just as well given the lack of any stadium plan that will pass. A "no" victory still does more damage than waiting indefinitely, although I don't think this area can wait beyond the 2013 session before things go code red.

I'd say the Vikings' interest in the two 11th Avenue sites, which seems to be driven by a desire to play at the Dome while a new stadium was built rather than on campus, was part of a carefully crafted plot to eliminate the Dome site from consideration if the team hadn't previously proven itself so inept in its handling of this entire process. The Vikings can't possibly think either 11th Ave site has a prayer, can they, especially the technology center location.

Posted on January 31, 2012 at 1:04 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 105

Lawmakers have chose E-Pull Tabs as the state's funding source for a new Vikings Stadium.

Site is still to be determined, as is the local funding plan.

Posted on January 31, 2012 at 2:31 PM by Vikeologist Highlight this comment 106

The big question is whether electronic pulltabs can make it through the Legislature. Sounds like the Governor is OK with it, so that suggests that maybe it could.

I'm sure there will be some analysis of this over at Hennepin County, and this could easily be the trigger which brings them to the table.

Oh, and for those who are into the semantics, here's the salient excerpt:

...the electronic form of gambling that is now played on paper in bars and restaurants could generate an additional $72 million per year in tax revenue for the state...

(Emphasis mine.)

You say po-TAY-to, and I say po-TAH-to.

And I'm not very interested in getting into a discussion about what constitutes a "regressive" or "progressive" tax. I'm not the one who is placing gaming at one end of that continuum. It's the legislative opponents who will do so, and their arguments must be considered.

For the record, though I think there are better and fairer ways to raise the money, I have no philosophical opposition to gaming. At least it means that I won't be contributing to the State's portion of the funding.

Well, unless you consider the societal costs, which are well-known and well-documented, and not worth rehashing here.

Posted on January 31, 2012 at 2:57 PM by Rick 107

sounds like of all the funding plans, e-pull tabs has the most backing at the capitol.

Posted on January 31, 2012 at 3:11 PM by Vikeologist Highlight this comment 108

What could be fairer than a system where you CHOOSE to participate in? (I know people say it targets the poor, but that bullshit, it targets the stupid that believe they can win their way to properity. Anyone with half a brain cell knows you don't gamble with money you can't afford to lose. If you can afford it, it can be a lot of fun.)

Obviously I would be happy with whatever it takes to get it done, I personally would favor a vegas-style casino where the state would get a large portion of the profit, over the electronic pull-tabs. I believe it would bring in more money that the pull-tabs would, which means paying off the stadium faster. After that I would love to see the money go towards roads and bridges or down state debt, instead of some new fangled program some DFLer will probably propose.

If you are going to argue social impact, it would centralize all of the gambling into one area, instead of having it in every bar, and tavern in the state. Also it wouldn't destroy the charitable gambling currently selling pull tabs.

As much as I love going to Vegas, it would be fun to have a casino in downtown Minneapolis (even better if it were in St. Paul, on the land of the old West Publishing, overlooking the river) to go and play craps or roulette.

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 02:49 AM by Duffman Highlight this comment 109

So, Duff...if I submitted my proposal for a 116-story hotel/casino on the site of Block E in downtown Minneapolis, you'd back me up, right??

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 06:48 AM by luke Highlight this comment 110

The theater at block e to close by years end. Maybe its time to give up on the place.

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 07:33 AM by Leroy Highlight this comment 111

This isn't the forum to get into a protracted debate about gambling, but I'll just say this: There are legitimate reasons to oppose a new revenue-raising proposal that seeks to knowingly profit from people's addictions. For a distrubingly large number of people, gambling is not a "choice" - it's something they can't stop doing. It's can be very destructive, and we know this. And some policymakers don't want to set up systems that exacerbate the problem. That's just the way things stand. You can argue with it, but you have to at least deal with actual facts and political realities.

I'm not anti-gambling. I've gone to Canterbury, bought a few scratch off tix, play fantasy sports. But I'm not crazy about expanding opportunities for it. Given the choice, I actually do like consolidating it rather than making it generally and easily available for everyone to do whenever they want (or feel compelled!) to. But as a way of raising public dollars, I think it's a cowardly and ultimately stupid approach.

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 09:52 AM by BR Highlight this comment 112

Block E? I don't know what to do with it at this point. Back in the day, I wanted a park, with green space, over underground parking. A suburban-style mall where you have to drive into "crime-infested" downtown and pay to park? Seemed doomed to fail. Well...

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 09:54 AM by BR Highlight this comment 113

Until they clean up the crime around the Block E area, it will never succeed. People are not going to go into the city and then be scared for their lives.

Why Minneapolis hasn't tried harder to keep the riff raff out of that area is beyond me. They will say they have tried, but they haven't tried very hard!

Clean up the crime and that area can thrive, especially with Target Center and Target Field, and maybe a Vikings Stadium in the area someday. Until then, it will be what it is.

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 10:53 AM by Vikeologist Highlight this comment 114

I'm not sure I'd go with crime as the explanation for Block E's problems. Crime is just a symptom.

In addition to a fairly lousy mix of tenants, that place has the worst design in recent Minneapolis history -- almost as bad as the Conservatory. It would cost millions to fix.

Since its casino chances are pretty dim, right now I'd say the most likely long-term prospect for that parcel is to demolish at least the floors above ground and start again.

Come to think of it, the underground parking ramp is pretty lousy too. Very weirdly designed.

It's a blight on downtown and should be excised. Let that be a lesson to any city government that thinks it can do better than a professional real estate developer. If the professionals don't want to touch it, you probably shouldn't either.

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 11:00 AM by Rick 115

I bet if you took a poll of why people didn't go to Block E over the past years, and the majority will say safety reasons. Crime has been a huge problem in that area for years, and until that's fixed, no one will go there on a regular basis

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 11:05 AM by Vikeologist Highlight this comment 116

The problem with Block E has always been there is absolutely nothing to do there that you can't do at any number of malls in the suburbs. Why would anybody make the effort to go downtown, pay for parking and navigate unfamiliar terrain to go to Applebee's or Hooters? It's the same reason the movie theater is finally failing. I agree with Rick that the design of the building is awful, but it's not nearly as bad as it's original marketing strategy. Downtown doesn't have a big enough population to support non destination establishments.

Regarding the crime issue I personally think Block E's influence is very overrated. The bus stops on 7th st attract the occasional miscreant, but mostly they're full of decent people trying to get from point A to point B. I think that the root cause of the bigger criminal issues aren't coming from Block E, but instead they stem from Sneaky Pete's, Auggies, and the Hennepin Ave club scene. That area is full of youth, nudes and booze, and that will always attract the seedy underbelly of any population. I'm not calling for the closing of these establishments by any means, I just think it's something you have to accept if you want a thriving metropolitan core.

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 11:39 AM by jp Highlight this comment 117

YEAH!!! let's cut those tobacco taxes and those alcohol taxes!

There are already options for gambling here in this state from scratch off, to full scale casinos. The genie is out of the bottle. Like it or not. E pull tabs, a casino, racino, whatever is not expanding gambling. Those options already exist in one form or another and if you are an addict you are going to go do it.

The only thing wrong with how it sits right now is the state screwed itself from ever being able to do anything good with the money that it generates. The morality thing is a bit much for me to take as people don't seem to have a problem with existing sin taxes already in existence.

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 11:49 AM by moda Highlight this comment 118

Yes, the whole concept of the downtown shopping mall is pretty much dead. (And, just for the record, the movie theater there is not failing. They got kicked out by the new owners, who want that space available if they should get the go-ahead on gambling.)

When you think of what to put downtown, you have to think about who already lives downtown, then provide what they want within easy access. Drawing people in from outside of downtown, unless it's for a concert or sporting event, is pretty difficult, and for good reason.

The movie theater is instructive because, even though it's by far the closest theater to my home, I've never seen a movie there. When I want to see a movie, I go to Brooklyn Park or Roseville or Edina or Southdale (Uptown in a pinch, but the problems there are starting to mimic those of downtown).

The one time I went to the Block E Applebees was when we decided, in the dead of winter, after exhausting all other ideas with the kids, to have a "downtown adventure". In the end, it wasn't much of one because everything was so inconvenient, and it featured a comical encounter with the then-new parking nonsense on First Avenue.

I'm not anti-downtown, of course. I actually know my way around just fine. But there's no denying that everything downtown is more work than anything which is not downtown. This is the problem that is driving Block E's failure as retail (and City Center's, Gaviidae's, it's a long list).

Crime -- or more correctly, the perception of risk -- certainly plays a role. But I'd argue that fear just piles on top of inconvenience, which is the real driver behind most people's aversion to downtown.

A certified mantra of the modern American human: "Don't make me think."

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 11:53 AM by Rick 119

I bet if you took a poll of why people didn't go to Block E over the past years, and the majority will say safety reasons.

People's perception of crime is always out of whack with actual crime. That's why you see polls that continually show people thinking that crime is on the rise while actually crime stats hit all time lows.

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 1:25 PM by GoAUpher Highlight this comment 120

The biggest reason downtown fails is because we decided to kill a great ball park and then move our retail into it's place. Just mind bogglingly stupid.

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 1:31 PM by moda Highlight this comment 121

Vikeologist, why do you hate the city?

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 1:55 PM by Chad Highlight this comment 122

BR- We shouldn't profit from peoples addictions? What about alcohol taxes,? Most of all cigarette taxes? According to the left we are all addicted to oil so what do we do? Tax it. Hell taxing cigs and gas is used politically as a way to stop people from smoking or to drive less.

I have different thoughts on addictions in general, but I will save those.

As for Block E, we have to remember when it was built. It was built when there were several high priced, high rise condo buildings proposed to be built. In other words it was built with the antcipation that there was going to be a big influx people living downtown that would be able to walk there. Those buildings never materialized, save the Carlyle, which is too far away to walk to block E. Asides from Gameworks, Hooters, and Bellanotte, there was not much else in there meant to draw people into downtown.

I am curious what is to happen to Kieran's, if Block E is to be dismantled? It is one of, if not the best place, to get a beer before a Twins game.

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 2:01 PM by Duffman Highlight this comment 123

Chad- It's not the city as much as the leaders, the Minneapolis MAyor and City Council makes it really easy to hate them. St. Paul's too I guess.

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 2:03 PM by Duffman Highlight this comment 124

Gameworks was hot stuff for a few years and predated the arrival of Dave & Buster's to that outfits suburban locations. Like many restaurants, bars, and clubs, Gameworks had a certain shelf life and had its demise accelerated partly due to a lack of investment. Video games advance pretty quickly, so Gameworks needed to turnover its games to get new stuff on board and stay cutting edge, yet never did so. Once it got the rep of being tired and same old, same old, the pace of its demise picked up major speed.

A lot of people were outraged on general principle when Applebee's went into Block E. It wasn't hip or unique, but I never thought it was quite the disaster some made it out to be. A lot of people going to Target Center for Twolves and other events wanted a place that was reasonably priced, family friendly, accessable from the skyway system, and was familiar to the extent that you knew what you were getting. I don't know about workday lunch time or non event evenings, but the place did well on Target Center event nights and even during the 2010 Twins season. I believe it closed as part of the general move by the new Block E owners to empty the center of tenants as opposed to the location failing organically.

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 2:35 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 125

Duffman, I think we are talking two different things, taxes versus access.

Taxes are excised on tobacco and alcohol, as there are direct costs associated with their use (both individually and publicly).

We are not talking about adding cigarette vending machines/distributors (adding greater access) to these, like one would be doing in adding access to gambling.

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 2:35 PM by tk Highlight this comment 126

Block E failed because it was never a destination. It was and is a giant hallway to a building that houses events on a non-daily basis. It was the door to the room in your house that you use the least.

Block E failed because it never identified its user. Based on its tenants, who was it there for? The urban dweller doesn't need a dueling piano bar; he needs a supermarket. The suburbanite doesn't need an Applebees; he needs a unique dining experience. The Quagmires don't need a Hooters when strip clubs surround the area.

Block E failed because of a (true or not) perception of loitering and stereotyping. It was not perceived as safe, be it for suburban families or single adults. It was trying to attract Whites holding green, but, no offense, if I'm a wealthy white guy, why am I going to take my family to a place with loitering "thugs"?

Truth be told, I don't think Block E was a crime hotspot -- much more crap happens in front of bars at 2 a.m., and it's often not the minorities causing it.

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 2:47 PM by TheTruthHurts Highlight this comment 127

Oy. Ok, I'll take the bait. No, Duffman, we shouldn't "profit from people's addictions," imo. Of course, we do, in some sense. However, in most cases, we started imposing taxes in part to deter people from overusing certain items (that's why we call them "sin" taxes). And, at least in MN, we've historically done a fair job of directing some of that tax revenue to actually helping the people who ARE addicted.

That said, I chose the phrase "new revenue-raising proposals" deliberately, to distinguish existing schemes from new efforts. Deciding to create a new avenue for gambling and then dedicating all of the tax revenue from that source to something else - like a stadium - is just weenie policymaking. It stems from the kind of policymaking that decides it's ok to impose a "fee" so long as it's not a "tax." Stupid and gutless, imo.

Re: Block E - certain high rise condo projects failed, but there was a huge boom in D/T residential development between 2000 and 2007 or so. I've linked to a 2007 article that has some good summary info. I don't think it was lack of sufficient D/T residents that doomed Block E. It was killed by the factors cited by others - poor design/options, generic quality, hassle, fear, cost/parking.

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 2:51 PM by BR Highlight this comment 128

Oops, forgot the link for above post.

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 2:51 PM by BR Highlight this comment 129

The suburbanite doesn't need an Applebees; he needs a unique dining experience.

I think an entire downtown of chain restaurants we normally associate with suburban areas would be asking for trouble. However, I think there were and are many suburbanites, and urbanites too, that wanted something familiar and easy when they went downtown for a game, show or concert. Applebee's fit that spot and held its own for quite a while.

I agree with the view of Block E as a hallway rather than a destination, especially after the first couple of years. I also agree that the loitering in the place was a problem, especially outside and just inside the Hennepin Avenue entrance, and a legitimate turnoff for many people.

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 3:11 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 130

What new avenue for gambling???? Pull tabs already exist.

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 3:46 PM by moda Highlight this comment 131

Man. What new avenue for gambling? Seriously? ELECTRONIC pulltabs do not already exist. And they would so change the way pulltabs are played that - absent specific protection in any authorizing legislation - an exclusive dedication of the revenue from that NEW form of gambling would seriously jeopardize the charities that currently benefit from plain old paper pull tabs. Understand?

And that's not even getting into a racino or non-tribe casino, which has been discussed within the last 20 posts or so. Those would also be, um, new avenues for gambling.

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 4:09 PM by BR Highlight this comment 132

All this political talk is weighing me down! All I know is my 8th graders start practice on March 26th, spring training starts in less than 3 weeks, and I can see grass in my front yard so baseball season must be coming!

Possible lineup for the Twins (who knows how many times Gardy could actually roll this out becasue of injuries):

CF Span
LF Revere
C Mauer
1B/DH Morneau
RF Willingham
DH/1B Doumit
3B Valencia
SS Carroll
2B Casilla

What do you think??

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 4:25 PM by Ole Highlight this comment 133

Let's just make it so that you have to buy a yearly sticker to use all of our glorious bike paths. That way we pay for them and the stadium. Get caught on the bike paths without a sticker on your bike and it's a $100 fine. No?

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 4:32 PM by moda Highlight this comment 134

After Willingham, it looks like you can go to the bathroom, get something to eat, walk around the stadium once and not miss anything until Mauer hits again.

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 4:36 PM by FD Highlight this comment 135

Probably as good as they can do, but, without pitching they migh as well be selling shoes.

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 4:41 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 136

Carroll will bat second, and Revere will bat 9th. Also wouldn't be surprised if Willingham bats cleanup to breakup the lefties.

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 5:06 PM by jp Highlight this comment 137

Season ticket holders were sent information this evening about single game tickets. I am not certain why they would send this information out yet, given they are not announcing single game prices yet.

This stuff is all ass backwards. Years ago tickets were sold at TwinsFest and prices announced weeks prior. What is the Big fricking secret?

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 5:13 PM by TK Highlight this comment 138

I think the tax/regressive/voluntary/etc debate is missing the point (which BR touches upon): raising any new revenue now is going to limit the state's options for raising revenue in the future.

So, if electronic pull-tabs (or a racino, or liquor tax, or whatever) brings in $X million, earmarked for the stadium, next year when we have another budget deficit, the state can raise other taxes and/or cut other programs to balance it, but it won't be able to use electronic pull-tabs (or a racino, or whatever) because it's already gone and dedicated to something else.

So this funding solution is going to affect us all anyway, whether it's gambling, lottery, "sin" taxes, etc. Your property taxes will go up the next time local government aid is cut, at least in part because electronic pull-tabs were off the table as a potential funding source. (To be fair, the political will to implement electronic pull-tabs may not be as strong without the Vikings stadium project, but it's still a factor.)

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 5:28 PM by spycake Highlight this comment 139

Also, how the heck are electronic pull-tabs supposed to generate anywhere near the kind of money needed to pay for this thing? And even if it did, it would almost certainly be taking money away from the current paper pull-tab beneficiaries, correct?

Has anyone actually looked at this funding source critically?

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 5:31 PM by spycake Highlight this comment 140

I just have to laugh at all the people opposed to expansion of gambling. If you are addicted to gambling, you are already going to a place to fulfill your addiction.

Adding slot machines at Cantebury Park isn't going to put them over the edge as they are already doing it at this very moment.

Better not open any more bars or liquor stores in the state then, because someone addicted to alcohol will surely go off the deep end now that a new bar opened on Washington Ave.

Geez people. Can't anyone be accountable for their own actions anymore? We have to blame it on someone else or something else?

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 6:12 PM by Vikeologist Highlight this comment 141

The MN Department of Revenue estimates that Electronic Pull-tabs would bring in $42 million a year. The guy who proposed the Block E casino, estimated $100 million a year. Even if that is inflated by $50 million, that is still more money than the pull-tabs. What I don't know is if that $42m includes charitable pull tabs which bring in $36m now.

Plus with that amount of money coming the $300m would be paid off quickly, and leave the state with a good chunk of money to use for something else each year.

BR- You may call them "Sin" taxes, but I bet you can not find one politican would actually wants people to stop using. There is too much money in the taxes they bring in.

As for gambling addiction, to be blunt, I don't really care. Unlike cigarettes and to a lesser extent, alcohol, which are chemical addictions, there is no physical addiction, it is a matter of self control, and self responsibility.

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 6:37 PM by Duffman Highlight this comment 142

Indian casinos in Minnesota are not full blown Vegas style casinos.

They are allowed to have subset of the games allowed in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. They can have Class I & II games and only two types of Class III (slots and blackjack)

They are not allowed to have common Class III Vegas games like roulette, craps, pai gow, and card games other than blackjack that have a house dealer/bank like baccarat, caribbean stud, texas hold em, etc.

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 6:54 PM by Dave Highlight this comment 143

Block E = Conservatory in many ways. Very unfriendly layout (did you ever tried to get from the Borders entrance into the Graves hotel for a drink?) Boring tenants (Hooters, Applebees, Hard Rock). I agree Gameworks was a cool idea with the times and needed reinvestment. When they opened, an additional downtown bookstore was reasonable. We always lament the end of the downtown movie theater but face it, the multiplex downtown is dying. I think the only way we save downtown movies is to do a really grand modern 4 screen monster and subsidize it in some way.

They FINALLY got the east side of Hennepin on that block to work. I think we will have to eventually tear the west side down and start over.

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 7:40 PM by Lincster Highlight this comment 144

Vikeologist: I think a lot of the opposition to gambling is a specific objection to government-sponsored gambling. I feel that gambling is a stupid, inefficient activity; thus, I don't like that my state (and by extension, me) not only permits it, but actually promotes it and is seriously considering expanding it to pay for things in lieu of other revenue forms. I would prefer more direct taxation than government-run gambling.

Is that not a reasonable objection? And is it unreasonable for people who share this objection to voice it? Of course, you too are welcome to voice your opinion on the matter, but I would urge consideration on all sides. That's what our representative form of government is all about, no? And if anything, "your side" is clearly winning -- expansion of gambling is a lot closer than any general tax increases -- so I don't think you need to be so peeved.

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 8:42 PM by spycake Highlight this comment 145

Wasnt the twins going to move willingham to left field even though all of his playing days he was in right field. Also did anyone happen to see the twins town hall meeting I think thats what it was called on fsn. And if you did what did you think.

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 11:15 PM by Leroy Highlight this comment 146

Well said Spycake.

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 07:40 AM by terry Highlight this comment 147

You can't play Pai Gow and bacarat in MN? News to me.

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 09:21 AM by moda Highlight this comment 148

Well the good thing is that it's gong to get done at some point. And all the same typical weenie whiners will go through their dramatic chicken little dance until the day it opens and nobody laments it one bit. The problem is listening to these same pukes shooting everything down over and over again as though society will truly end no matter how we pay for it. Unless it's a ballpark of course.

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 09:40 AM by moda Highlight this comment 149

Spycake, I respect your opinion, I'm not saying you shouldn't have one. I'm just saying it's a choice. You don't like gambling, so you don't have to participate in it. I gamble very little, but don't care what other people do with their money.

It's about self control and common sense. If you have those, gambling will not be a problem. If you don't, then you shouldn't blame it on the system, but rather blame it on yourself.

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 10:16 AM by Vikeologist Highlight this comment 150

There are some new stadium renderings up over at CorridorMN.com. They answer the question of just how a football stadium might be built within 500 feet of TF:


Miraculously, the stadium doesn't even touch Sharing & Caring Hands (though you have to wonder if they would want to stay in the shadow of such a facility).

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 10:26 AM by Rick 151

Before anyone gets too up in arms by the design of the stadium, which looks almost exactly like Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, this is just a placeholder meant to show how the location in general could look. Should a stadium be constructed there, it will look dramatically different.

What is CorridorMN and who is behind it? It looks like something a private citizen put together that has no connection to government or the land owners.

I can't imagine Mary Jo or the Vikes would ever go for being such close neighbors. That would need to be resolved somehow.

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 10:45 AM by Jorge Highlight this comment 152

CorridorMN is the same group that brought the TF site to the table. They don't actually own any of the land that would be used this time, but are advocating for the advantages of clustering all of these sports facilities into one "corridor" (hence the name).

I should also say that this is Hennepin County's preferred site. (And Jorge is right that these are just conceptual, using Lucas Oil as a placeholder.)

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 10:56 AM by Rick 153

Oh, they are also advocating for the creation of a single management body for all sports facilities (called the MEC), kind of like the MAC does for airports.

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 10:57 AM by Rick 154

I believe this puts the SW lines royalston station pretty much right at the front door.

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 12:04 PM by moda Highlight this comment 155

It would be great to not only see the creation of an MEC, but also to then have such a body be allocated a permanent funding source that would enable it to accrue for renovations and future construction, thus sparing us the drama we're enduring now and have in the past, or at least some of it.

Great point up thread about the MSFC acting out of self preservation. It reminds me of a proposal the body made in 1999 when the Vikes first started making noise about getting a new stadium while the Twins were at one of the lowest points in that team's own quest. The MSFC's plan called for a major renovation to the Metrodome for either football or baseball with the other team getting new digs. Not that it had a chance, but Bill Lester committed possibly the worst marketing gaffe he could concoct by making the following comment about a revamped Dome.

"It may not be the Mercedes Benz the teams want, but it's a high quality Buick."

While certainly realistic, it's unbelievable that he'd utter that comment in public and not realize it would equal dropping a neutron bomb on his entire plan, which admittedly was stillborn anyway. The Twins and Vikings both responded in the manner you'd expect.

Some might call for the MSFC to morph into the MEC, but if it happens, I'd rather see a new group with new ideas instead of the same recycled faces.

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 12:14 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 156

It's more likely that the Ballpark Authority would expand into the MEC. The MSFC is yesterday's news...

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 12:22 PM by Rick 157

Agreed Jorge the MSFC needs to go. And we need to start thinking forward so taht we are ready for these projects when they are needed rather than always waiting to go code red on it.

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 12:23 PM by moda Highlight this comment 158

Rick- I believe the saying is "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me." How would you ever consider going into business with Bruce Lambrecht again after the BS he pulled with the Twins Land deal. Promote the land at a price, and when the stadium is finalized, jack the price up. I know he is not a land owner but

I wish the Vikings were considering a stadium close to what Lucas Oil is. It is the coolest looking stadium in the NFL, plus has the best design for a retractable roof.

That being said I will once again bring up the point of why put a stadium there? Very little to no surface parking, limited to zero access to the freeways, and even the existing parking ramps are insufficient. This site is subpar to the current Metrodome site, so why move over there? The infrastructure in place is barely sufficient for a Twins game, problem is Vikings games seat 20,000 more people than that. This would be a waste of $1 billion.

As a side note, I also love that they assume the U of M medical hospital will up and move off campus to the old Metrodome site. Do they realized the U just finished their conversation of Fairview Riverside into their Amcare unit, giving the University 2 hospitals, across the river from each other. Asides from new buildings, where is the incentive to move and who pays for that? The U already does not get the capital money they want to build things on campus, how would they get this money when they have two perfectly good hospitals?

Yes, I do know Lambrecht does not own any of the Farmers Market land, but owns land near by which would clearly increase in value if this were to go in, so he has a financial stake in having a stadium put in there.

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 1:40 PM by Duffman Highlight this comment 159

Doesn't the FM site have access to 394 and 94?

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 1:43 PM by moda Highlight this comment 160

Rick, you've spent a great deal of time capably outlining what you think will happen with this process. I'd be interested in hearing your preference - what do you want to happen? I believe you had mentioned that the HERC site would be your "ideal" location. Do you still feel that way, and why? Or is your "preference" simply in-line with what is politically feasible?

Just curious.

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 2:21 PM by Expectorate Highlight this comment 161

Duffman,

I'm not sure who you're referring to that got fooled on the TF deal. When I talk to people who were not part of that land deal, their opinion is that the Rapid Park investors got essentially fair market value for that land, with only a very slight premium for what was going to be built there.

Here are the quick numbers, for those who weren't following it that closely.

In 2004, the city had an option to purchase three acres for $12.9M. In reality, it was $12.9M plus five acres of land (the land where the Twins' VIP parking lot is now) for the 8-acre eventual TF site. That deal would have netted Rapid Park $4.3M per acre.

In 2006, Hennepin condemned the land and had it "appraised" at $13.1M for the 8-acre eventual TF site, or $1.4M per acre. Hennepin claimed that they offered more than the original city option ($13.1M versus $12.9M) but conveniently left out the land swap. In essence, Hennepin low-balled them. (The strip of land adjacent to the railroad right-of-way sold for three times as much per acre.)

Rapid Park came back with $65M (or $8.1M per acre) as a negotiating tactic. The parties ultimately settled for $28.5M for the 8-acre site ($3.6M per acre), and the Twins mysteriously got control of the five acres that were to have been part of the initial land swap.

If you look back at what I wrote at the time, I was very negative toward Lambrecht and Rapid Park, but also hard on Opat and Hennepin for basically giving away their leverage in the way the bill was drafted.

Since then, I've learned a few things (OK, a whole lot of things). And, basically, this was all pretty standard stuff, though the stakes were much higher because of the profile of the project. Ultimately, each party got about what they should have gotten.

For comparison, the Pohlads bought Ford Center, adjacent to TF, for $13.5M in 2007. It's not exactly a comparable because it includes the building (which ultimately required another $42M to renovate), but you can see that land on the edge of a major downtown, even if it's just a surface parking lot, has real value.

End of part 1.

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 2:57 PM by Rick 162

The Corridor report discussed the relocation of the Medical School, not the hospitals. If you're talking about facilities for the first 2 years of Med school, you're talking about some large classrooms, a specialized library, and an anatomy lab. (In very basic terms) No one's talking about moving the hospitals.

I didn't attend the U, but I think med students there spend just as much of their clinical time at HCMC as they do at the U.

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 3:12 PM by Expectorate Highlight this comment 163

As for the suitability of the newly-defined FM site, it's pretty much exactly as suited for a stadium as the TF land was and is. All the parking options are the same, all the transit is the same, and there is a synergy to be had by siting three major sports facilities within walking distance of one another.

Everything which serves two sports would be able to serve three. (If you want a salient comparison of FM to the Dome site, here's the current version put together by CorridorMN. Their diagrams highlight some undeniable differences between the two sites.)

It's true that the renderings do not show room for tailgating, but that doesn't mean it isn't there (especially if they buy out Mary Jo).

The bigger problem is that the Vikings may be showing their true colors on the subject. They were all for tailgating space when they thought they could have it all in AH, but ever since then it has dropped down pretty far on their wish list. They seem much more concerned about VIP parking and general parking revenues than they do about tailgating.

They may one day try to blame that on the various forces at work, but the reality is that they don't appear to be advocating for it in the least right now, at least within the confines of the legislative work going on.

End of part 2.

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 3:24 PM by Rick 164

An aside:

The CorridorMN guys suggest that the U of M medical stuff could relocate, but that's just an idea. The Downtown Council pegged the Metrodome land for residential use, and I think either that or a combination of housing/corporate campus are the most likely reuses once the Dome is gone.

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 3:27 PM by Rick 165

"The infrastructure in place is barely sufficient for a Twins game..."

This is an interesting assessment because the conventional wisdom is just the opposite. In fact, getting in and out of Target Field is about a million times easier and quicker than the Metrodome site in every direction.

Largely that is due to the amount of attention which was paid to the problem while TF was being built. But aside from a couple of choke points getting onto 394, you hardly ever see congestion around TF after a game like you do across town.

I have even been shocked at how quickly I could get out of the A ramp after a sold-out Twins game. (I usually take the bus from home, or park at the downtown library, but sometimes I have to get there late and the A ramp makes a surprisingly good, if sort of expensive, option.)

End of part 3.

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 3:31 PM by Rick 166

I agree with Rick. I am a Vikings season ticket holder, and the Metrodome is a mess in every direction compared to Target Field.

I always park in the A ramp, and aside from a small wait to get out of the ramp onto 394, I never have a problem getting out.

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 4:18 PM by Vikeologist Highlight this comment 167

I've always thought that a lot of the traffic issues around the Dome stem from people not really thinking about where they park in relation to how they're going to get away afterwards as well as people going straight for particular freeway entrances postgame while seemingly oblivious to any alternate route. Those alternate routes might require navigating city streets a bit, but can save a tremendous amount of time and aggravation, especially if you park in a spot that makes sense for your postgame move.

For instance, why enter 35W North at Washington Avenue when you can drive south out of downtown and grab it at Franklin Avenue just off Portland?

Why face the hassle of entering 394 West at 3rd Street or by 12th Street when you can slide out of downtown and either enter from Hennepin by the Basilica or tucked behind Dunwoody and Parade, not to mention shooting down Glenwood to enter at Penn Avenue or even where 100 and 394 meet in St. Louis Park? One could also move through the North Loop and get on 94 East briefly before turning off onto 394 West.

Speaking of 94 East, I see the long line to enter off of 6th Street and wonder how many people have ever thought to move through the North Loop and enter East 94 up there. It's a slight backtrack, but a short one and one that saves entry time. 94 East can also be entered off of Franklin and Hennepin, a move that can be accomplished relatively easily coming out of downtown and moving through the streets. You can also enter by the U of M.

I can think of several other highway relatively entry points relatively close to downtown that don't require getting on at the usual trouble spots (35W South by Convention Center and Washington Ave, 35W North by Washington Ave, 94 West at 3rd Street, 94 East on 6th Street). I'm not advocating a new stadium at the Dome site, but the status quo doesn't have to be the trouble some people seem to make it for themselves.

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 4:40 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 168

There's 394 on/off ramps that literally go right into and out of ramp A. No city streets involved, just on/off ramps. I don't know how you could get any better freeway access than that.

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 4:43 PM by Dave Highlight this comment 169

Yes, while LOS was merely just a "placeholder" in the image Rick posted at comment 151, I hope Jorge is wrong to some degree that the Vikings stadium would look "dramatically different".

I think that look and that design would go very well with its surroundings IMHO. It wouldn't be inherently out of place. The ABC ramps are sort of that colour, and with the historical value of the Warehouse District, I think an LOS look-alike would complement that area very nicely.

As long as we don't go like, over the top...a la a Cowboys Stadium. Rant over.

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 5:11 PM by luke Highlight this comment 170

What I think is funny is how people nash their teeth at getting away from either stadium. Both the Metrodome and certainly TF are easier to get away from than the old Met was. It always seemed like 30 minutes easy as cars funneled from all direction to the one exit on each side of the parking lot.

That said, TF is a breeze.

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 5:42 PM by Lincster Highlight this comment 171

WOW.

Please somebody, make this new FM site idea work.

It leaves S&CH and the farmers market alone (for now), so no need to relocate them before construction could start.

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 5:49 PM by Dodgeboy Highlight this comment 172

Hands down...The downtown facilities are much easier to get out of than the Met was or Arden Hills/Shakopee would be. I nearly missed my 15th wedding anniversary waiting to get out of the Met lot after a Vikings game.

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 5:53 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 173

You can enter/exit 394 from Ramp B as well. You can also enter Ramp C from 94 West.

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 5:58 PM by FD Highlight this comment 174

Vikeologist: obviously the decision to gamble is a personal choice. And as such I don't have a terrible amount of sympathy for gamblers either. But you're missing the point: our decision as a state to sanction and promote gambling, and to what extent we allow it, is also a choice.

There are many other activities which could equally be classified "personal choices" but that does not mean the state has to sanction and promote them, or that the people of the state cannot reasonably set limits to those activities. We set limits on drug use and... "adult" activities, most notably. Even for non-vices, some of us also try to set limits on the amount of government involvement in pro sports (sound familiar?).

That's the debate we are really having. Would you support the state allowing a brothel in downtown Minneapolis, with the proceeds going to the stadium? It's essentially the same scenario with gambling, although a difference of degree depending on one's perspective.

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 7:05 PM by spycake Highlight this comment 175

@ spycake -- well, I would be fine with it, but I understand your point.

What I think is funny is that we think we are somehow "more pure" than others. Iowa has had full open gambling for 20 years, and saved their racetrack. Wisconsin has a major casino downtown in their largest city, collects $600M from the tribes, and the state hasn't collapsed because they allow dice and a wheel. South Dakota for 15 years has had video terminals in every bar that wants one. North Dakota has allowed blackjack in the bars for years. Illinois has a dozen licensed casinos that go 24 hours a day.

The Midwest (outside of us) has decided that gambling is ok, and supports stuff. We think we are different, but we really aren't different than our border friends. We need to get over it.

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 7:50 PM by Lincster Highlight this comment 176

Just look how mouth-watering that little triangle of land that holds the HERC looks. A 4-star hotel? A Vikings/Twins HOF Museum? The new Transit HUB?

MMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 10:02 PM by DreDogg Highlight this comment 177

Expectorate,

It's hard to think in terms of what my "preference" would be. As I've said before, I've never been to a Vikings game in person and that's not likely to change. Further, tailgating has never been a part of my gameday rituals (though I've done it a couple of times out at Midway Stadium).

So, if I have dog in this fight at all, it would only be as a citizen of Minneapolis and Minnesota. From those perspectives, I think that making the most of big infrastructure investments is a must, as is expediting the process to save as much money as possible.

Further, clustering your sports facilities seems pretty smart to me -- especially if there is strong evidence that the location works well. The brilliance of the warehouse district location for this cluster of facilities is, I think, without question at this point.

Not surprisingly, these are the same exact things which make the FM site politically viable. In other words, as a citizen I like it for pretty much the same reasons that all the larger forces like it.

Now, if I were looking at a map without regard to what is possible, the HERC site jumps out as a notch better than FM. But I know that the HERC isn't going away anytime soon (and besides, the Twins are going to need that land for their next stadium in 2040).

As for the other sites on the table...

Arden Hills is too economically isolated for my taste. You could build a nice facility there and lots of surface parking, but the monopoly it would give the Vikings would be bad for most fans. And no matter how much they upgrade the freeways there, traffic would be an absolute nightmare in every direction both before and after games. (Remember the Met! This wouldn't be worse, but it would likely be about the same. There are choke points every which way.)

Shakopee has a nice site, and a good connection with other entertainment options, but the isolation factor makes this look bad as well. It also lacks even Arden Hills' level of freeway connection. Imagine about half of the cars inching up highway 13 toward 35W after games...

The Basilica Site is the worst of all possible worlds because it is an urban island, disconnected from both downtown and all of the infrastructure at the same time (building plazas over freeways is a nightmare and horribly expensive). This would be the type of nightmare location that people always imagine when they think of downtown facilities. It's an urban plot of land with positively suburban limitations.

The Metrodome Site remains deficient in many ways, not unlike the Basilica site. It's also an urban island, seriously lacking modern infrastructure. And I lack faith in city government to do anything to improve its standing after the fact. (These criticisms also apply to the 11th Avenue site next door.)

OK, these are just thumbnails, but you get the idea.

Here's hoping that the selection of electronic pulltabs for the state's portion of the funding is enough to bring Hennepin back to the table and they can get to work out there on Royalston Avenue before the snow flies.

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 11:59 PM by Rick 178

I appreciate the candor, Rick - very interesting. I know you've tried to remain objective and observant, and I hope this doesn't lead to more mud-slinging from Rube Chat bombers, or people on this thread for whom "black" and "white" are the only options.

No matter where each of us stands on the "Where Should the Stadium Go?" issue, it's safe to say that we have all learned a great deal about this process from your observations (I know I have), and we all highly respect your opinion. Thanks for sharing both.

Posted on February 3, 2012 at 12:57 AM by Expectorate Highlight this comment 179

Expectorate, I couldnt have said it any better about Rick. He is my go to guy for all things Stadium. I am in SD and grew up in MN, my parents still live there and my dad cant give me half the answers that Rick can post on here on an hourly basis. Thanks Rick!

Posted on February 3, 2012 at 08:35 AM by JoJo Highlight this comment 180

The issue of sanctioning or expanding gambling has very little to do with "purity" and everything to do with a balancing of societal costs. Sometimes states turn to gambling expansion as a lesser of many evils. But people here do recognize that gambling addiction is real, right? MN just completed a report on it last year - check the link.

Ask yourself this: How often does a state consider gambling expansion outside of the context of raising revenue? In other words, when the question is just whether expanding gambling is a "good, fun idea," do states even discuss it? My guess is, rarely. And my assumption would be that it's because we know what a pandora's box it is.

And for those who think addiction is simply the fault or weakness of a failed individual choice, well, I'm not sure what to say. Decades of psychological and sociological research strongly suggest otherwise. And most policymakers are not willing to ignore the problems that addiction poses - even when they do give in to the exigencies of unrelated budget pressures.

Posted on February 3, 2012 at 09:27 AM by BR Highlight this comment 181

Without a doubt I trust Rick's forecast of political winds regarding Stadia more than just about anyone in the media. It seems they are more into helping stage the theater of it all rather than cutting through the drama.

Posted on February 3, 2012 at 09:32 AM by moda Highlight this comment 182

BR,

I would actually claim the total opposite, sanctioning mostly has to do with moral "purity" issues than social costs. Addictions are real, I don't think anyone here is claiming they do not exist. In fact they exist everywhere, people can become addicted to many things most of which are not sanctioned.

Common addictions such as video games, surfing the internet, food, shopping, working, etc. are not sanctioned. However, the more morally controversial addictions such as drugs, sex, alcohol, gambling, smoking, etc. are. Typically the stronger the moral objection the stiffer the sanction.

If social cost were the main concern, none of these acts would be criminalized. Criminalization just adds to the social costs. Alcohol prohibition and the war on drugs are prime examples of adding to rather than decreasing social costs.

Posted on February 3, 2012 at 11:48 AM by Dave Highlight this comment 183

Dave:
By "sanction" I didn't mean "penalize," I meant "permit with regulation." Sorry for the confusion.

Posted on February 3, 2012 at 12:11 PM by BR Highlight this comment 184

There goes BR up on his pulpit again, 2nd had smoke, alcohol, gambling. He must be one of the Euphorians I keep hearing about that will make Minnesota the state where nothing is allowed.

Posted on February 3, 2012 at 12:16 PM by trebor651 Highlight this comment 185

"Without a doubt I trust Rick's forecast of political winds regarding Stadia more than just about anyone in the media."

I'm interested to hear who in the media you trust more.

Posted on February 3, 2012 at 2:01 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 186

Trebor:
I just keep plugging away, figuring that a few facts might just sneak through to even the most oppositional and generally unyielding minds. A little learnin' won't kill ya.

Posted on February 3, 2012 at 2:56 PM by BR Highlight this comment 187

"The Basilica Site is the worst of all possible worlds because it is an urban island, disconnected from both downtown and all of the infrastructure at the same time (building plazas over freeways is a nightmare and horribly expensive). This would be the type of nightmare location that people always imagine when they think of downtown facilities. It's an urban plot of land with positively suburban limitations."

The FM site is the most disconnected from anything parking ramp or DT access [look at a map], the 'Basilica/Linden ave' site (which it's much farther from the basilica than most people think) is one of the most premier sites explored, [look at a map]. The only thing that could possible connect the FM site to downtown or any parking ramp is IF Mary Jo moves, and that's a big, huge IF.

Posted on February 3, 2012 at 4:02 PM by jcm-baseball Highlight this comment 188

On the map Linden Ave looks closer to the downtown core but actually walking around in the area lets you know why Rick refers to it as an urban island. The area closest to the Basillica connects a side of Downtown that has MCTC and Loring park, but not a whole lot else. The other end of the site bumps right up to where 394 and 94 meet up creating an uncrossable chasm of Freeways that you have to walk around to get to any downtown establishment.

I agree that FM isn't really part of the downtown core but if you think of Target Plaza as it's "front door" you've got the same connection to the Warehouse district that the Twins enjoy. Also looking at the latest renderings Mary's Place would remain untouched on the northern edge of the area, so I don't see how it would interfere with any of the current parking, but I could see that becoming a hugely valuable spot for a tailgate lot if Zygi/the City make it worth Mary Jo's while to relocate.

Posted on February 3, 2012 at 4:27 PM by jp Highlight this comment 189

Which one is closer to the infrastructure?

The nearest corner of the FM site is about:

- 650 feet from the A ramp
- 1200 feet from the B ramp
- 1750 feet from the C ramp
- 1000 feet from the Northstar station
- 0 feet from the nearest LRT station

The nearest corner of the BS site is about:

- 1050 feet from the A ramp
- 1850 feet from the B ramp
- 2600 feet from the C ramp
- 2200 feet from the Northstar station
- 1500 feet from the nearest LRT station

Shall I continue? (These are not insignificant differences.)

Posted on February 3, 2012 at 4:47 PM by Rick 190

If they put a plaza over 394, which they have indicated they would, then the Linden site would go right up to 10'th street. Which is basically 0 feet from A ramp.

Posted on February 3, 2012 at 5:48 PM by Dave Highlight this comment 191

Ok, so Hennepin County decides Rapid Park is going to be the location of a $500 million civil project, with every cost structure and expenditure mapped out, except land cost? I don’t buy it. For something this massive they had to have at least talked about price before they decided on the land. Now why they did not get that in a legal contract is beyond me. At the time, the land had some value, but it’s value did not increase until talk of a Twins stadium being built there.

Same thing with the Ford Center, clearly property values in the area of Target Field increased after the stadium was built, part of the reason you built a stadium there. Currently the County estimates Ford Center’s (building and land) market value at $10.6m, obviously down like all property values since 2007. The land itself is valued at only $856,800 for .72 acre, which works out roughly to 1.08m an acre, or very close to what Hennepin County was going to pay for the Rapid park site. If you look the county Tax site you will see the current land around there including the farmers market sites are at about $1m an acre.

Hennepin County did not low-ball them, they came in at the price the land was worth, for what it was, an empty parking lot. Lembrecht came back at them from the position of no its not a parking lot it’s the future site of the Twins stadium. Ask yourself this, had the stadium gone somewhere else, how much do you think he would have gotten for the land? Unfortunately we will never know.

You continue to point to a comparison between the dome site and the farmers market site. As I have stated the Farmer’s Market is an improvement over the dome, but not by much. Once again why spend $1billion on a poor site, that is not much an improvement over the current site?

Also people here seem very worried about Zygi having a monopoly on parking, what about Minneapolis having the same monopoly? There is no reason the A, B, & C ramps should be $13 for Twins games, it‘s the city again attempting to profit off of Hennepin Countie’s work. Personally I would rather give my money to Zygi, for a parking spot in the middle of a big parking lot where I can tailgate, than to a city for a parking ramp spot, that would probably use the money on something stupid like $20,000 water fountains.

As for the infrastructure for the Twins stadium, I guess I can only go by personal experience. Unless I get to the city early, 5pm for a 7pm game, getting to parking has always been a cluster. Coming from the 35W north of the city, I would have to come down Washington, 5th ,7th, 9th, or loop around to Hennepin. I have completely forsaken 5th, 7th and 9th, as they backup all the way to 3rd Ave S. and move a snails pace. Hennepin is a bit better, but not by much. I have resorted to getting there early and having a few beers a Keiran’s, which is nice, but gets a bit pricey.

Same goes for leaving. If I leave directly after a Twins game and go get into my car and leave, I am stuck in the parking ramp for 15 mins., again I will usually wait around for awhile after, or something I dislike doing, leave the game early if I am really looking to avoid traffic.

Now bring in a Vikings stadium, which when I say small to zero access, I am looking at a map, and seeing that in order to North (West) on 94, one would have to take 7th St., but so would those looking to go south(East) So the only people that have easy freeway access are those going west on 394. Funneling
60,000 people out of there would be a nightmare.

Rick, on this subject, I guess, we are just going to be in disagreement.

As I have said, if you have not been to a football game (College or NFL), and tailgated (Note: does mean drink) You are missing half the fun. It is a big party in a parking lot before watching your favorite football team play and it is something we’ve been missing since the move to the dome. For those of you that automatically assume everyone tailgating is drinking, go to a game somewhere other than Minnesota, or Wisconsin, and see for yourself, they are not and actually many family are there too. I went to many college games as a kid, (a few a Notre Dame, Auburn, UK), and had a great time.

Posted on February 4, 2012 at 3:16 PM by Duffman Highlight this comment 192

Supposedly Dave St. Peter and the boys claim that there are going to be major improvements to Target Field every spring. Last year it was the tower and the scoreboard in right. Anyone heard what is in the works for this year?

Posted on February 4, 2012 at 4:15 PM by ole Highlight this comment 193

Duffman,

I appreciate the detailed response.

To the land valuation issue, first I'd say that the assessment for tax purposes is not meant to be a market value (despite the language that is used). It is always lower. And second I'd say that the climate has changed a lot since the Rapid Park land changed hands. Third, the owners did get a bit of a premium for what was going to be built, but ultimately got only slightly over what would have then been the market value for the land as it was at the time.

To the process, Hennepin clearly misread the previous city option -- whether intentionally or not can't really be said. They missed the part about the land swap. That was the first of three mistakes. The second was allowing an infrastructure cap to be built into the final law. (They may have thought it would give them leverage.) The third mistake was not talking to the land owners for almost a year after the law was passed. Probably a tactic, I know, but it didn't work.

Ultimately, land (like everything else) is worth whatever someone will pay for it. Hennepin may have paid more than they wanted, but they ultimately determined by what they paid what the land was worth. In any case, I still don't think anyone was tricked or "taken". It was a land deal, and those are fraught with potential pitfalls in every direction.

---

I'm still wondering just what makes the FM a "poor" site. Especially now that it's directly adjacent to TF, that would imply that TF also has a "poor" site, which I just don't think is true. So please flesh this out a bit. I'm truly curious.

---

The city of Minneapolis is certainly in a good position with the ABC ramps, but it's hardly a monopoly. There is downward pressure on their prices all around -- literally thousands of other parking spaces owned by other people within just a couple of blocks. When I park at the library, it costs me $5, and I could get a space for $4 if I'm willing to negotiate a parking ramp directly across the street. Without these options available, do you think the city would still be at $13? Not likely.

If Zygi got his AH dream, there would be literally no other parking -- convenient or otherwise -- anywhere nearby. This would be a very literal monopoly. Eventually, fans might start getting upset, but that's what it would take to put downward pressure on his prices. A smart owner would keep raising his parking prices until his lot ceases to sell out, running at about 90% capacity. That's about where you know you're getting the most revenue possible out of an amenity.

---

One of the beauties of the warehouse location is how it distributes traffic widely throughout the downtown grid before and after games. Much of that happens on foot as fans disperse in almost every direction from the ballpark before ever getting to their cars. In addition to there being many more parking spaces near TF, they are also split up into many more individual parking options -- i.e. different lots. This, too, serves to distribute traffic and get the most out of the grid.

That doesn't happen at the Dome. A huge crowd heads for the Washington Avenue parking options, and everyone else who doesn't get on the train heads toward a couple of the closest ramps in the downtown core, with only a trickle heading east toward the campus or south toward mostly street parking.

Once in their cars, Dome fans invariably either clog Washington Avenue (toward 35W in both directions), Sixth Street headed east (toward 94), or Third Street headed west (toward 394 or 94 northbound). It's insane how just the physical location of the facility has this effect, rendering large segments of the grid completely unused. I know a few routes out of the Dome that are quick as lightning because nobody else takes them. There are literally gigantic chunks of the downtown grid which never get touched after a Vikings game. It's weird.

Coming to TF from the north on 35W, you are at the biggest disadvantage of any fan, that much is true -- a big difference from the Metrodome, where it's just about the best direction to approach from. But you still have a dozen or so options of how to get in and out of the warehouse district. (I know you didn't ask for advice, but you might try getting off at Univ/4th, and then entering downtown across the Hennepin Avenue bridge, parking somewhere to the north of the ballpark. You also could try Third Street, which is my preferred route. I take Third to Hennepin, then swing around onto Fourth headed away from the stadium to park in the library lot. To do that, cut over to Third from Washington at the first opportunity.)

---

I'm willing to accept an honest disagreement with a fellow BPMer, of course. I just wanted to share a few additional thoughts.

Posted on February 4, 2012 at 9:03 PM by Rick 194

Dave, post 175 final paragraph: If only more people knew that and were willing to say it publicly!

Posted on February 4, 2012 at 9:56 PM by robin Highlight this comment 195

“Once again why spend $1billion on a poor site, that is not much an improvement over the current site?”

If you’re talking about the $1 Billion value of the stadium itself, it’s location shouldn’t mean anything when it comes to whether that $1B is buying a more useful stadium or not. After all, the Vikings are looking for a new stadium that will allow them to maximize revenue streams that are unavailable to them in the Metrodome. That can be done anywhere, since we’re talking about club seats, stadium clubs, private suites and increased and more varied concessions. Plenty of parking revenue and tailgating space (once again, revenue) would just be icing on the cake.
Any of the sites considered would be an improvement over the current stadium site simply by virtue of having a better stadium on said site. If Cowboys Stadium’s equal was currently sitting on the Metrodome site, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

Posted on February 5, 2012 at 01:30 AM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 196

Clicky namey for linky.

Was this on anyone's location radar?

Posted on February 5, 2012 at 09:04 AM by Jared Highlight this comment 197

One line from that piece says everything you need to know about what's really going on:

The space would be large enough to accommodate a $19 million parking ramp for the team.

Posted on February 5, 2012 at 10:19 AM by Rick 198

Rick,

No matter who owns the parking rights they are going to charge the maximum the market will bear. The only time this would not be the case is if the city/state owned the rights. And in that case, yes the parking may be cheaper but there are additional public costs that go along with those lower prices. Loss tax revenues, maintainance costs, security cost, insurance costs, etc. All of which would need to be paid by the city/state.

Why are you really so hung up on parking?

Posted on February 5, 2012 at 11:55 AM by Dave Highlight this comment 199

The way headlines are written, it is not a matter of securing funding, it's about whereto place it. Interesting strategy.

"Vikings stadium plan near Dome now on fast track" click name for Strib writings.

Posted on February 5, 2012 at 12:47 PM by TK Highlight this comment 200

"No matter who owns the parking rights they are going to charge the maximum the market will bear."

You're making my point. A free market puts downward pressure on prices. The mechanisms of monopoly are very different, and the net result is that the consumer will (generally) pay a whole lot more. That would certainly be the case if the Vikings control all (or a significant portion) of the parking at a new stadium.

And I'm not the one hung up on parking. To understand what's going on right now, you have to acknowledge that the Vikings are hung up on parking, to the exclusion of just about everything else.

That's the primary reason they are resisting the FM site, because they will have trouble justifying building their own parking ramp there. (Not true with BS, which is significantly farther away from the B and C ramps.)

So, we must be clear about the picture painted by that Strib article today. They would build most of the new stadium on the land which is VIP/bus parking right now. Then, like they did in, say, Cincinnati or St. Louis, they'll tear down the old stadium to finish constructing the new.

Right now they promise two completely incompatible uses for the remaining land not used for the new facility:

"The Metrodome would be torn down and turned into a large plaza for pregame activities, according to both Mondale and a Vikings spokesman. The space would be large enough to accommodate a $19 million parking ramp for the team."

Given what we know about the footprint size of a modern NFL facility and the land available at the Dome site, I don't believe for a second that the remaining land would be enough for both of those things. Gee, which do you think might get prioritized in the end...?

In other words, what you have to imagine is a new stadium about a block farther from the downtown core, and separated from it by a large parking ramp that the Vikings would completely control.

Really?!? Who thinks this would have even the slightest chance of getting passed -- even without all the funding problems in the Minneapolis plan?

Posted on February 5, 2012 at 1:29 PM by Rick 201

My larger point is that the Vikings are going to need to come to the same realization that the Twins did: They will get all sorts of new revenue streams at their new facility, but parking isn't one of them. (You can't blame them for trying.)

By the way, this wouldn't constitute a windfall for the city anyway (as was suggested earlier in this thread) because they own a whole bunch of the surface lots around the Dome. It's just shifting revenue from one end of town to the other. Giving parking revenue to the Vikes means taking it away from the city of Minneapolis. (Did you notice that Barb Johnson changed her tune pretty quickly once the prospect of a big parking ramp controlled by the team reared its ugly head?)

Posted on February 5, 2012 at 1:44 PM by Rick 202

Let's say the ACME company instead of the Vikings built this $19 million parking ramp. In the exact same location as proposed by the strib article. Do you really think the ACME company is going to charge less than the Vikings would on game days?

I guarantee you no matter who owns the rights to the closest parking they are going to be charging a premium on game days. This already occurs at the Dome site. The closer you are the more you pay, up to $50 on game day for premium locations. Heck, even the city underground ramp by the dome chargers up to 10 times more on event days.

At AH site you may have valid monopoly concerns, but not with any of the downtown sites. The event/convenience dictate the parking rate, not who owns the lot/ramp. This is especially true downtown where there are lots of alternatives within walking distance.

Posted on February 5, 2012 at 2:27 PM by Dave Highlight this comment 203

My monopoly concerns have always been specific to the two suburban sites, and not to downtown. Sorry if that was not clear.

However, the question downtown is whether it's better to build new parking and give it to the team or leverage investments which have already been made.

That seems like a no-brainer to me.

Posted on February 5, 2012 at 3:28 PM by Rick 204

Let the Vikings have a monopoly on the parking. Let them max out income, because if this is crammed into the middle of downtown, and revenue down the road cannot be maxed out with expansion etc... this stadium topic will come up again in 15-20 years.

This has to be built in a place that allows the Vikings to add revenue in the future to compete with other teams.

Take Kansas City for example. It is an older stadium, but it is built in an area that allowed for expansion/renovation to allow the Chiefs to continue to compete revenue wise with the rest of the league.

Building this at the Farmers Market site, or any other site downtown, will only be Metrodome Part II.

This is my biggest issue on this entire project. Haven't we learned from our previous mistakes? Do this right!

Posted on February 5, 2012 at 3:52 PM by Vikeologist Highlight this comment 205

If they had built the dome right in the first place - in it's current location - it could have been renovated just like in KC.

If they had built the place with a small Mezz level (like Arrowhead), it could have been repurposed as a club level. With a row of suites behind it, some of the existing suites could be removed to open up portions of the main concourse. A new, expanded shell could provide room for wider halls, concession space, and MORE RESTROOMS.

Look up what Vancouver just did with the BC Place dome - even a retractable roof! Location has nothing to do with the dome's problems.

Posted on February 5, 2012 at 6:07 PM by Dodgeboy Highlight this comment 206

didn't say location is what is keeping the dome from being great, i said if you cram a stadium in a tight area, it will be Metrodome II because of the lack of space to renovate/expand it.

Metrodome site has the space, but the Metrodome doesn't allow for it.

Posted on February 5, 2012 at 7:37 PM by Vikeologist Highlight this comment 207

Renovation? You've got to be kidding.

Unless your stadium is historically significant (Lambeau, Soldier, Fenway, Wrigley, etc.) you can forget about anybody wanting to renovate. Even the highly-significant Yankee Stadium got bulldozed.

We live in a teardown-rebuild world.

And even if renovation were a consideration, there is nothing -- repeat nothing -- about the Metrodome or its site which prevents or even discourages renovation. It was offered and rejected faster than you can say Zygi. Nobody wants it. It isn't even that much cheaper than building new. And in 30 years nobody will want to renovate the stadium they build now.

Get real.

Posted on February 5, 2012 at 7:56 PM by Rick 208

If it's built right, which Arrowhead is, it can and will be renovated.

Of course no one wants to renovate the Metrdome, because it was shit from day one. Arrowhead was not, and is still profitable today because of how it was built, and where it was built!

Posted on February 5, 2012 at 8:01 PM by Vikeologist Highlight this comment 209

You don't build a stadium to renovate it later. They didn't build Arrowhead with the idea that they would renovate it later. They just got lucky.

Really, this is a pretty desperate objection to downtown sites. It's just...meaningless.

The Vikings stadium will be built in downtown Minneapolis. Deal with it.

Posted on February 5, 2012 at 8:03 PM by Rick 210

yes it will be built downtown, but that doesn't mean its the best. Just because you think it's best, doesn't mean it is best. Just because the lawmakers want it there, doesn't make it best.

You have never been to a Vikings game, so I don't know how you can even comment on gameday experience, parking, stadium experience. etc...

Of course you don't build things with the plan to renovate, but if it's built right, you can definitely renovate, instead of a complete teardown.

Posted on February 5, 2012 at 8:08 PM by Vikeologist Highlight this comment 211

I have been a Vikings season ticket holder for over 10 years, obviously not as long as a lot of fans, but still long enough to know what our NFL stadium is lacking, and what kind of stuff that will never be possible in crammed site.

I would have no problem with it downtown if it was a large enough site.

Posted on February 5, 2012 at 8:13 PM by Vikeologist Highlight this comment 212

Dodgeboy - EXCELLENT point about Vancouver and the BC Place. They did an amazing job on the renovation and the roof.
Well, I mean, look at what New Orleans did with the Superdome. Or what New York is doing with Madison Square Garden - both entities put a lot of bucks into renovating their current venues, and both look almost brand new.

I certainly hope that Zygs, other assorted Vikings front-office crap and the legislature was watching very closely what transpired in the last four hours in Indianapolis, and envisioned how that could be us in a few years.

Posted on February 5, 2012 at 9:10 PM by luke Highlight this comment 213

Vikeologist...I was a season ticket holder from '66 - '81. The thing the Viking stadium is lacking is weather elements. Football was meant to be played outdoors just as much as baseball. The Vikings died in 1981 and Minnesotans are hellbent on keeping them dead for yet another generation so they can host 1 superbowl, tractor pulls, a final four or 2...blah blah blah. So much for real football. Its no coincidence this team has sucked since moving indoors and turning their fans into a bunch of pansies. Here's to another 30 years of football in a warehouse on carpet.

Posted on February 5, 2012 at 9:24 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 214

couldn't agree more Kevin! Would love to be back outdoors!

Posted on February 5, 2012 at 9:36 PM by Vikeologist Highlight this comment 215

But remember Vikeologist, we're Minnesotans and we're so much better and smarter than everyone else. The indoor multipurpose way to maximize dollars is the best and only way. Those other cold climate cities just don't get it. They have no idea what they're missing with their outdoor useless most of the time football stadium (Chicago, Green Bay, New York, Pittsburgh, Boston, Denver)...oh wait, we're the one missing the trophies....Nevermind. But we as Vikings fans can hold dear the fact that we know how to maximize tax dollars and we hosted a super bowl which consisted of 2 teams nobody in the 5 state area gave a shit about, we hosted a couple of final fours and some NCAA regionals which didn't include the home team...But we're smarter...Remember that!

Posted on February 5, 2012 at 9:50 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 216

yeah the game at TCF in 2010 was fun as hell! Fans had a great time even if it was in the cold and the team was terrible!

I think it would take some time, but people would gradually 'warm up' to the idea of being outside again.

Posted on February 5, 2012 at 9:59 PM by Vikeologist Highlight this comment 217

Wooo there.

I think you have me mixed up with someone else...

I never said I wanted to renovate the dome. I was just stating the IF it had been built right in the first place, a renovation could have been possible.

For the record, I am highly in favor of a downtown site. I prefer the Farmers Market site, but I'd take BS over the current dome site IF a plaza over 394 was included.

Posted on February 5, 2012 at 10:11 PM by Dodgeboy Highlight this comment 218

remember though Kevin, it's those "warehouses" that score Final Fours. Those "warehouses" are how the little town of Glendale scores Super Bowls (2015 I think is Glendale's next one).

Posted on February 5, 2012 at 10:58 PM by luke Highlight this comment 219

Yeah Vikeologist...It was a little bit fun...Click my name.

Posted on February 5, 2012 at 11:37 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 220

Boy, you’d never see a game-winning touchdown like that indoors, eh? I mean, that never happens under a roof. Dramatic finishes only happen in frigid weather.

I’m familiar with the theory: Warm weather and indoor teams never flourish because they can’t play in the cold. Meanwhile, cold weather teams dominate in the NFL and always have. That means that the Dolphins never won a Super Bowl. Nor did the Saints, the Indianapolis Colts, the St. Louis Rams, the Cowboys, the Raiders, or the Niners. At the same time, the Packers DOMINATED the league throughout the 70s and 80s.

Posted on February 6, 2012 at 12:23 AM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 221

Playing outside in glorious October/Indian Summer weather is one thing --- December blizzards and bitter January cold are another. Late season tickets to games at the Met were as easy to come by as corndogs at the State Fair.

Posted on February 6, 2012 at 07:36 AM by Ben Highlight this comment 222

Has anyone seen a rendering or description of this "new" plan near the Metrodome? The news I've read says it will not involve the technology building... I just don't see how there is room on the east side of the dome for 75% of a stadium without expanding the site.

Maybe we'll get more with the supposed BIG ANNOUNCEMENT today.

Posted on February 6, 2012 at 09:04 AM by CSG Mike Highlight this comment 223

Other than the chance to build a parking ramp and control it, why is this newest site near the dome being considered? It seems like a lousy spot, with all of the Dome's disadvantages, and doesn't look to save any money.

All other things being equal (I know, they never really are), I'd rather save 10% of the cost if we could. So a site that costs $950M is better than one that costs $1.05B. Maybe that's just me.

Posted on February 6, 2012 at 09:09 AM by BR Highlight this comment 224

Ben is right -- it's one thing to be outdoors in September, October and into November, but December and January?? Even a majority of Packer fans do not like sitting outside in December and January. Those are usually the easiest tickets to get at Lambeau Field because a majority of STH's sell them and have no interest in going.

I had quite a few offers from friends/relatives who are Packer STH's for tickets to the NYG-GB NFC Championship game in 2008 because they couldn't find people who wanted to go. Not to mention the high cost of NFL tickets these days. I can't imagine too many "casual" fans that would want to pay $50+ to sit outdoors in December and January.

And forget home-field advantage in the cold...it's not the NFL of the 1960's, 70's or 80's any longer with the modern free agency...Just ask teams like the Packers, they have not been very good at home in the playoffs over the last ten years losing to the Falcons (2003), Vikings (2005), and Giants (2008 and 2012).

When you are talking about stadium costs near $1B and asking for public subsidies, than it makes no sense to build an outdoor venue that would host around 10-12 significant events each year.

We already have Target Field and TCF Bank Stadium competing against each other for outdoor events, not to mention Xcel Energy Center and Target Center each competing with each other as well for events.

Posted on February 6, 2012 at 10:02 AM by Mike Highlight this comment 225

Look up what Vancouver just did with the BC Place dome - even a retractable roof! Location has nothing to do with the dome's problems.

Channel 5 did a story about this renovation late in the NFL regular season and I waited for it to get some play at the capitol among opponents of building a new stadium, but thankfully the topic never caught on. Even though BC Place, pre renovation, was remarkably similar to the Metrdome (I've been in both stadiums), the standard BC Place needed to reach after its makeover was understandably much lower than what an NFL team needs. The designers of BC Place also had the good sense in the early 1980s that the Metrodome's designers didn't, which was to put the luxury boxes on a dedicated level instead of providing entry off the main concourse. That gave them flexibility the Metrodome doesn't have when overhauling the BC Place.

In the end, Vancouver got a stadium that's right for CFL and MLS teams, but spent $500,000,000 and still doesn't have a facility that the NFL would ever find acceptable for a variety of reasons. Considering the money required to do so and the low expected return, renovating the Metrodome would be a waste of funds and effort.

Posted on February 6, 2012 at 10:34 AM by Jorge Highlight this comment 226

BR - I think it's being considered because it eliminates the three-year stint at TCFBS for the Vikings, which the Vikings don't want, and the NFL would probably never allow. The Vikings would be able to continue to play at the Dome (which they also don't like), get their revenue, etc. while the new stadium is being built adjacent to it.

Then, when it comes time to tear down the Dome and complete the stadium, the Vikings might have to play just a few games at TCFBS, and seemingly lose a minimal amount of money. The Vikes would lose tons playing at TCFBS for three years.

Anybody who disagrees with that...I'm all ears.

Posted on February 6, 2012 at 11:09 AM by luke Highlight this comment 227

The Strib had an article today stating the two sites by Target Field are probably not likely during this session.

From the article..."Other potential sites have seen their prospects rise and fall over the past several months.

Two sites near Target Field appear out of the running, leaving the Metrodome side of town the most likely at this time."

Where is Mr. Opat when you need him?

Click my name for the complete article

Posted on February 6, 2012 at 12:13 PM by Jeff Highlight this comment 228

Jeff, remember what Rick said, political winds will sway, but in the end...

Posted on February 6, 2012 at 12:16 PM by tk Highlight this comment 229

None of these Metrodome "options" are going to happen, but they may take all of this session to run their course.

Did you know that the Minneapolis Convention Center has a leaky roof? Rybak's financing model was DOA, but just to be sure, this news oughta stab it in the heart.

Confidential to Vikeologist and kevin in az: The Minnesota History Center is currently hosting an exhibit all about the year 1968. I saw it on Friday and it's awesome. You should see it.

Now, back to 2012...

Posted on February 6, 2012 at 12:37 PM by Rick 230

Watching the Super Bowl being played five days into February made me think of how the NFL - and their co-conspirator television - have drawn out the season. That lengthening of the season affects the decision to dome or not dome a new stadium. The regular season at one time ended by Christmas and the playoffs began in December (the Vikings once had a home playoff game on Christmas Day and what a brouhaha that set off). The Super Bowl was played in a warm weather climate on about the 10th-15th of January. Now the regular season goes into January. It is a different situation than it was back in the glory days of The Met in the '60's and '70's.

Posted on February 6, 2012 at 1:17 PM by terry Highlight this comment 231

Warm weather teams weren’t the only teams who hated playing at the Met in December and January. Vikings players hated it just as much. In fact, they had a slight disadvantage because they spent most of their time on the bench, by their own admissions, looking longingly down at the visitor’s bench and their warm air blowers. Both teams were distracted to equal degrees by the cold, and Bud Grant’s talk about putting the cold out of your mind was just a lot of talk. It also is important to remember that home playoff games at the Met were difficult to sell out.

Cold weather gear has evolved and advanced to such a degree that ANY advantage once held by northern and outdoor teams has been negated.

The Vikings won at the Met thanks to superior personnel, and that’s exactly the same reason that the Patriots have had as much success as they’ve had in the past decade also.

Posted on February 6, 2012 at 3:02 PM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 232

I went to most, if not all, of the Vikings' playoff games in the 70's. Tickets were easy to come by from STH who just plain preferred not to deal with brutal weather - or the chance of it. Tickets almost always included a pass to the Stadium Club, and a thermos works just as well for blackberry brandy as it does for coffee or hot chocolate. It was a good time/era. I have since become much less interested. At the "Old Met" it was football with fans who appreciated the game --- at the Dome it's a TV show with drunks, loud-mouthed louts, and morons.

Posted on February 6, 2012 at 3:19 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 233

There are plenty of people who attend games at the Dome who appreciate the game and are fans, me among them. I also have a hard time believing there were no drunks, loud mouthed fools or morons at the Met, especially after people fortified themselves in the parking lot for hours beforehand.

I was on the young side, but got to see the Vikes at the Met and Gophers at Memorial. I also attended the Vikes game at TCF as well as some Gophers games there. The Bears-Vikes game outdoors in the snow was a fun experience if you look at it as a once in a lifetime deal. However, it wasn't anything I'd want to deal with regularly, something a majority of season ticket holders seemed to agree with. Maybe it was the bad team or it being a Monday night or the poor weather or the first come/first served seating arrangement or traffic/parking, but TCF Bank Stadium was far from full that evening. When the Vikings realized they'd have thousands of empty seats, the team sent word through campus that anyone with a valid U of M student ID would receive free admission. Even that gesture didn't come close to filling the open seating. The brutal weather, and admittedly brutal game, also contributed to lots of people leaving early, even by Minnesota sports standards.

Despite some diehards wanting an open air stadium, it seems like most Vikings fans don't when push comes to shove.

Posted on February 6, 2012 at 3:36 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 234

And once again Ben points out that all Vikings fans are drunks, loud-mouthed louts, and morons. See that is the trouble with debating here with most people.

If you are a Vikings fan, you can't have your own opinion because you fall into the above categories that Ben states.

It's a lose lose situation for Vikings fans to even try to debate here. Our opinions are just shit to all the baseball purists here.

Posted on February 6, 2012 at 3:59 PM by Vikeologist Highlight this comment 235

And once again Ben points out that all Vikings fans are drunks, loud-mouthed louts, and morons. See that is the trouble with debating here with most people.
So you decide to complain about Ben's generalization by replying with...a generalization. Excellent work.

If you are a Vikings fan, you can't have your own opinion because you fall into the above categories that Ben states.

No, it's just that most of the focus on this site has to do with what is possible/likely, not with what is ideal. You spend a lot of time focusing on what is ideal to you, while ignoring that your way isn't the way for everyone (I've called you out on this before so semi-apologies for the broken record). In the meantime, the your "ideal" solution still has no very little chance of actually happening, which is why folks on here don't talk much about it.

It's a lose lose situation for Vikings fans to even try to debate here. Our opinions are just shit to all the baseball purists here.
It's only a lose/lose if you continue to treat differing viewpoints as invalid and continue to openly pine for a solution that doesn't have a reasonable chance of happening. That's not the fault of the "baseball purists", that's the reality of the MN legislature as it currently exists.

Posted on February 6, 2012 at 4:07 PM by GoAUpher Highlight this comment 236

I was in the stands at the Met in '75 when the moron threw the whiskey bottle at the ref. So yes, there were drunks and morons at the Met too. But as a 33 year Viking STH I can say from experience that the problem of drunken boorishness has gotten much worse over the years. Maybe it is because the TV networks glorify the drunken face-painted idiots, they get almost as much air time as the chorus girls on the sidelines; maybe it is because the horrible layout of the dome makes it impossible for ushers and security people to walk through the stands. And I have to say if you go back through the last four months of posts on this site, the contributors who identify themselves as primarily Vikings fans have been consistently ruder and cruder than other posters. I don't mean to hurt anyone's feelings, but if you look at the posts objectively, you will have to come to that conclusion.

Posted on February 6, 2012 at 4:56 PM by terry Highlight this comment 237

"And once again Ben points out that all Vikings fans are drunks, loud-mouthed louts, and morons."

Once again??? Have I done so ever in the past? Please direct my (our) attention to any examples. Actually, how about just one - that will do nicely.

And while you are at it ---- pretend that you are, for some unfathomable reason, seeking a person who is half (or more) inebriated, possessed of a limited vocabulary a high percentage of which is profanity, is loud and obnoxious, and who can't tell you off the top of his head what the score is. Now ---- are you more likely to find such a person at a Twins game or a Vikings game?

Posted on February 6, 2012 at 5:14 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 238

I have not seen a press release, but the Twins single game ticket prices are now posted. Click name for URL

Posted on February 6, 2012 at 5:16 PM by tk Highlight this comment 239

Vikeologist,

You want tailgating, you want plenty of parking, you want a big space to stretch out, maybe you're nostalgic for the Met. All of that is perfectly understandable, if not politically feasible. But when you say things like, "It will be a breeze getting in and out of AH," or that "a majority of the fans want it in AH," or that one of the reasons they need to build on a large open site is for the possibility of expanding the stadium in the future (???) - I'm sorry, but you're going to have to expect a little disagreement, even from fellow Vikings fans, including some who enjoy tailgating.

Posted on February 6, 2012 at 5:16 PM by Expectorate Highlight this comment 240

"I have not seen a press release, but the Twins single game ticket prices are now posted."

And in today's Strib --- an ad for new STH - and examples of what a great deal it is.

Posted on February 6, 2012 at 6:38 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 241

TERRY - you speak blasphemy my friend! If the NFL would go year-round, I'm all for it. "Draw out the season"? Pissy-cock. If the NFL had a game on every Sunday of the year, they'd still play less games than any of the other pro leagues out there.

And, as it stands now, the NFL has more money than God, Iran and Bill Gates...COMBINED...let em make more IMHO.

Matter of fact, I should write a letter to commish Goodell this very minute asking him to extend the season to a 52-week schedule. I, and about 330 other cold-blooded Americans would absolutely love it.

Rant over

Posted on February 6, 2012 at 9:20 PM by luke Highlight this comment 242

I think a little of the drunks are bad now compared to yesteryear stems from our growing older.

When we were young and part of the so called drunk/loud crowd we didn't notice it near as much. Now in our older more refined stages we simply observe with annoyance rather than participating.

Posted on February 6, 2012 at 9:39 PM by Dave Highlight this comment 243

Rick-(or anyone actually) If a new Vikings stadium is built 500 feet to the West of Target Field, do you think a problematic shadow would be cast on the playing field similar to Miller Park when the sun sets?

Posted on February 6, 2012 at 10:12 PM by Tom D. Highlight this comment 244

Tom - "a problematic shadow" - that would be the Twins bullpen

Posted on February 6, 2012 at 10:20 PM by luke Highlight this comment 245

Due to the way the Vikings have performed recently, they may have a tough time selling out anywhere (dome, tcf) at anytime (sept or dec) during the next few seasons. Green Bay and Chicago being the exceptions thanks to their well traveled fans.

The Vikings and Mpls/Hennepin will eventually build another warehouse for football. I just hope it end up near TF by the bars instead of the dome site - no synergy there, never has been and never will be. I worry about a tall structure dwarfing Target Field and looking stupid. Hopefully if it's near TF, they will use a modern look to fit in with TF. If it looks anything like Lucas Oil or the hangar in Houston, I'll never spend another dime in that city or county as long as I live. Hopefully a fixed roof won't require such a monstrosity of a structure as the retractables do.

Posted on February 7, 2012 at 12:34 AM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 246

Over at MinnPost, Doug Grow hits the nail on the head.

And there's this for the superstitious:

"I'm as confident as Tom Brady is when he has the ball," the mayor said.

If you're going to spin out a sports metaphor, be sure to watch all the way to the end of the game.

Posted on February 7, 2012 at 01:11 AM by Rick 247

Tom D.,

I can't do the geometric proof for you, but...

A stadium on the FM site would be 500 feet from gate 14, but a good 800 feet from the playing field (which is also about 25 feet below street grade). Thus, a mid-afternoon shadow (sun at 45 degrees) could only reach the field if the building casting it was more than 800 feet tall!

Assuming that the stadium is something more like 150 feet tall (10 stories or so), its shadow wouldn't get anywhere near TF, let alone onto the field, until the sun was too low for it to make any difference. (Also, since the stadium would be due west, any shadow would only line up directly with TF on the equinoxes, only one of which could be hosting a game anyway...)

Posted on February 7, 2012 at 01:35 AM by Rick 248

Very Informative on the Sun Specs Rick! You seem to go above and beyond all the time and are very in depth in every aspect of this...All I care about is no troughs and dont put a bunch of purple seats in there!

Posted on February 7, 2012 at 08:14 AM by JoJo Highlight this comment 249

I want to see as much Vikings stuff as possible in the new stadium. Vikings ship, purple and gold seats. Vikings Hall of Fame. Vikings team store. Vikings logo on the seats. I want people to know the Vikings play there just by looking at the stadium.

Posted on February 7, 2012 at 11:08 AM by Vikeologist Highlight this comment 250

Good christ drunkeness and acting ridiculous has nothing to do with the dome... Look at the world we live in. catch an epi of Jersey Shore and look where we are headed. Has nothing to do with the dome

Posted on February 7, 2012 at 11:36 AM by moda Highlight this comment 251

LMFWAOSHMFHWE - Clicky.

Apparently Twins Fest 2012 didn't rake in very much cash if the Twins have to resort to this

Posted on February 7, 2012 at 11:57 AM by luke Highlight this comment 252

Rick - do you recall how long the Twins/FSN exclusive deal was for? Any chance we see the occasional game (or Sunday afternoons) back on local programming?

Posted on February 7, 2012 at 4:51 PM by Stevie B Highlight this comment 253

Stevie-
"A Twins official would not discuss the length of the team's current deal with FSN, other than to say, "we are in the midst of a multi-year telecast agreement," but it's believed to be in the neighborhood of 10 years."

Not sure if all possible "10" years include no other channels except FSN and nationally televised ones. Sounds like they aren't going to talk about it. Link in my name for the rest of the article.

Posted on February 7, 2012 at 6:06 PM by AJ Highlight this comment 254

That's a great link, AJ. It contains a very interesting list of cable/satellite penetration levels by market. The Twin Cities come in 29th in the Major Leagues with only 81% of the households having cable or satellite.

Important to understand, however, is that not everyone who has some form of pay TV gets FSN. I am among the subset who would count as a subscriber in that 81%, but that's only because we pay $15 per month for the antenna-replacement package. We don't get FSN, and saw only a couple of Twins games on TV last season. (You may recall that, by the end of last season, I knew a whole lot more about the Cubs and White Sox because WGN is part of the antenna replacement package and I watched a couple of games a week that way.)

These numbers basically reaffirm my calculations in a rant from about a year ago.

To the original question, the schedule on the Twins web site does not yet include TV coverage beyond listing a paltry six Saturday games which will be shown on Fox (one of which I already have tickets for). So, at this point, we just don't know what they will do.

But I fully expect to be shut out again this year.

And, for the record, I have not mellowed at all on the subject. The Twins made a bad decision there, and it still pisses me off.

Posted on February 7, 2012 at 11:37 PM by Rick 255

There is no better evidence in the argument that the Twins have become blatently greedy and arrogant since acquiring their publicly financed palace. Does anyone think they would have disenchanted what Rick calls "even a sliver of loyal fans" while they had their hands out?

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 07:10 AM by Ben Highlight this comment 256

Dave St. Peter has said, though it's not on the site's schedule yet, that 150 games will be on FSN this year and then there will be the six on Fox. He didn't mention any other channels, so I'm guessing the rest will just not be televised.

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 07:27 AM by AJ Highlight this comment 257

And if this year's squad performs anything like last year's...You won't be missing a damn thing.

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 07:34 AM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 258

Thanks for the article AJ. Very interesting.

And I'm with you Rick - still pissed at the Twins for thinking a cable only audience would be a good idea.

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 08:07 AM by Stevie B Highlight this comment 259

If you want to watch the Twins on TV, its very simple, get DirecTV. Love it!

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 09:11 AM by Vikeologist Highlight this comment 260

DirecTV? Cable? Of course, why didn't I think of that? I'm well aware of the options out there. I'm just not willing to adjust my family budget for the cash outlay required for their service.

I don't need every single game on "free" tv. I would just like to see the Twins go back to having most Sunday afternoon games on a local channel. But it looks like it will be AM1500 for me again this year (at least when the signal is good - another sore spot as 830 has always been a better broadcast).

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 09:26 AM by Stevie B Highlight this comment 261

As another Luddite who doesn't even have antenna-replacement cable, I'm also annoyed with the Twins' deal. However, as that article shows, they're getting killed in the TV-revenue game. If Texas is bringing in $50M more in TV revenue per season, how can we reasonably expect the Twins to sign an even less lucrative cable deal just to let us see a dozen games on free TV? I understand the build-the-brand argument, but they can't just tread water now while everyone else motors by.

And as an aside: When I see those Yankee numbers, I sort of wonder why they don't have a $250M payroll. They could spend that, take the lux tax hit, and STILL rake in $100M more than the average MLB team. Unbelievable.

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 09:29 AM by BR Highlight this comment 262

I'm with BR on this one. I've now got antenna replacement cable so for the first time in a long time I won't have access to all the Twins games but am not very upset about it because I've come to realize this is where modern teams make their money. It's tougher for a family man like Rick but my plan for the Twins this year is going to be a mix of mooching on cable/sat friends, and a strong knowledge of the daily drink specials throughout uptown. So far that plan has worked brilliantly for T-Wolves games.

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 09:40 AM by jp Highlight this comment 263

Games on broadcast TV will have larger audiences and higher advertising rates. By limiting themselves to cable only, they are, in actuality, leaving money on the table. It's stupid -- especially when you consider that the cable channel and broadcast channel are owned by the same damn company.

The Twins may be getting a premium from FSN based on the notion that, if their games are only on cable, more people will subscribe. If that were to happen, the cable station would make more money. My hunch is that it was speculative. From a marketing standpoint, it certainly seems worth a test.

That might work in any other market, but not here (as the penetration numbers show).

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 09:44 AM by Rick 264

The cheapest DirecTV package is $29.99 for the first 12 months, and $44.99 for the second 12 months (24-month contract required), before taxes. That's $900, or an an average of $37.49 per month plus tax for the first two years.

After that it jumps to $60.99 per month, or $731 per year -- once again, all before taxes (which are actually paid with real money too). Three-year average: $45.32 per month plus tax.

I respectfully decline.

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 09:51 AM by Rick 265

Looks like my entry-level package at Comcast would run $63.49 per month, which I presume is before taxes.

Yikes!

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 09:59 AM by Rick 266

Dish Network clocks in at $34.99 per month for the first year and $49.99 per month after that. Two-year average: $42.49 plus tax.

Nope.

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 10:06 AM by Rick 267

MLB.TV?

Sounds great until you realize that you can't watch your own team.

Dumbest. Thing. Ever.

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 10:07 AM by Rick 268

Anyone have any troubles with their home opener ticket pre-sale? I got right into the ticketing system and had no issues whatsoever.

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 10:13 AM by Mike (aka Mike) Highlight this comment 269

Got right in to the presale. Overlook 136, row 2.

Very happy with how smooth it went. 10 oclock rolled around, waiting room timer went to 0 seconds and took me to the BUY screen. :)

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 10:18 AM by visionsaul Highlight this comment 270

Well I don't know if I even have FSN on my cable. What I generally do is join the Twins Territory Team, it's $20 gets you the gameday audio streams (My house is in a radio dead spot, can't seem to get anything FM or AM) and this lets me stream the audio through the internet. There are a bunch of other benefits too, but for $20 it's something I can easily afford.

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 10:20 AM by schda Highlight this comment 271

Home Opener pre-sale? Is that for STH? This is one of the main things I miss out on being a part of a group. We don't utilize the pre-sales... :(

I have signed up for the lotto. I'm hoping to score some tickets there since we don't do our group ticket selection until late March.

What does the availability look like? Anyone wanna get 4 extra and sell them to me? :)

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 10:21 AM by CSG Mike Highlight this comment 272

Yeah it was season ticket holder presale for opening day tix CSG MIKE. My experience went fine. Tried to coordinate with a buddy which ended up not working and costing me several rows away from the field, but oh well, I'm just happy to be there.

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 10:27 AM by jp Highlight this comment 273

Overlook? I'm surprised that the Twins didn't hold back the tickets like they usually do in that area. I would have loved tickets there, but settled with Section 223 Row 3.

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 10:32 AM by FD Highlight this comment 274

Section 136, row 3! Come on spring!

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 10:32 AM by Buzz Highlight this comment 275

I got section 103, row 2...was surprised they didn't have these rows "blocked"...maybe they realize they better not burn any more bridges with STH's this year coming off of a 99-loss season because in years past, they would have "blocked" a lot more of these seats in the lower rows.

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 10:40 AM by Mike (aka Mike) Highlight this comment 276

jp, Thanks. That's what I figured. Hopefully some good ones are left for the lotto.

Those are some VERY LOW ROWS! Wow!

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 10:47 AM by CSG Mike Highlight this comment 277

It went very smoothly. Section 109, row 23.

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 10:52 AM by terry Highlight this comment 278

Even as STH'ers, we were limited to just 2 tix for the Home Opener. I tried to log on at 9:58 (probably should have tried earlier) and didn't get out of the Waiting Room until 10:15. I was hoping for Overlook, but they were gone by then. I wasn't interested in the high $$$ seats, so settled for seats in Sec. 205 Row 3. Those will do just fine!

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 11:06 AM by EagleEyes Highlight this comment 279

124, Row 19, $38 over STH price with fees, etc. Not complaining though.

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 11:06 AM by tk Highlight this comment 280

Since some teams haven't finalized their 2012 TV arrangements, here is the breakdown of teams that had over the air broadcasts and those that were pay TV only in 2011. It's a 50/50 split although the trend is for teams to move entirely to the pay TV model, so the scales will eventually tip in that direction. Of the teams that broadcast on over the air TV, the most any team shows is about 50 or so games. Some teams show as few as a dozen.

Pay TV Only
Twins
A’s
Blue Jays
Cardinals
Diamondbacks
Marlins
Mariners
Padres
Pirates
Rays
Red Sox
Reds
Rockies
Royals
Tigers

Pay TV/Over The Air Mix
Angels
Astros
Braves
Brewers
Cubs
Dodgers
Giants
Indians
Mets
Nationals
Orioles
Phillies
Rangers
White Sox
Yankees

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 11:15 AM by Jorge Highlight this comment 281

A few years back the Indians went the all-cable route, too. Now they simulcast some games on cable and broadcast TV. Why not? Same production costs, get money from two different carriers.

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 11:51 AM by fiesta Highlight this comment 282

When the Twins moved the over the air package from channel 45 to channel 29 effective the 2005 season, it was part of bigger deal that gave all TV rights to FSN with the understanding that FSN would then carve out a small over the air package to a local affiliate. FSN made the arrangements with 29, not the Twins, and I'm guessing the rights fees were a drop in the bucket overall. It was more about PR. The team, correctly in my opinion, figured it and FSN could take the channel 29 games to cable and withstand the heat without hurting business.

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 12:16 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 283

To clarify my above point. The Twins got all their money from FSN upfront. What FSN did was effectively subcontract games to 29 in exchange for a nominal fee. At the time Hubbard Broadcasting complained about 45 not getting a chance to bid. Whatever money 29 paid went to FSN and was moved around on the Fox spread sheets. For the Twins, the games were more about PR by not taking them all to cable. Keep in mind that outstate Minnesota fans always saw all games on FSN.

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 12:21 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 284

I for one am glad its only on FS North. I can't stand watching games in non high definition. Those games on My29 looked absolutely terrible.

I guess its a matter of how bad you want something, im sure you spend money on things that I would think are needless. I for one love watching the Twins/Gophers/Timberwolves etc... I will pay to watch because it is something I really enjoy.

Others enjoy smoking, going out drinking every night, going to plays, going out to eat on a regular basis. I choose to have DirecTV and watch my favorite sports teams.

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 1:42 PM by Vikeologist Highlight this comment 285

The My29 games did look horrible. I never understood why they weren't available in HD. The equipment was RIGHT there!!! Probably...

I also have cable mainly for the sports... FSN, BTN, ESPN, MLB, etc. Cheaper than going to all the games I would go to if I couldn't turn on the tv and see so many games.

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 2:02 PM by CSG Mike Highlight this comment 286

My home opener presale experience was not good, although this was the first time I've experienced that. Logged in about 9:58, went right to waiting room. Had 7 waiting room windows going at once, waited until 10:40. At that point, all the waiting rooms switched to Red Sox waiting rooms! WTF? So I logged back in again from scratch, and it went right to the ticket sale window! Got two tickets in 102, row 35. Total $96, which is kind of steep but will probably try to sell them anyway cause probably can't go due to work. One thing I noticed that had changed is that printing from home is now free, as is the mail option, and the will call pick up costs an extra $2!

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 2:34 PM by antifire Highlight this comment 287

Jorge,

Where did you find that list of which teams show games where?

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 3:49 PM by Rick 288

I combined info on MLB team websites with verifiable Wikipedia sources, local newspaper articles announcing schedules prior to the 2011 season, available press releases, and team fan boards. I'm a bit of a sports media buff, so some of this was already known to me.

Of the teams listed, the Dodgers, Braves, and White Sox all had in the neighborhood of 50 games on local over the air TV last season. The Cubs were actually more in the range of 70 games on over the air TV. I don't recall seeing any other teams with that many.

The Cubs and White Sox have to maintain a continuous presence on WGN in order to stay on that station's national feed. If they leave that channel for even a season, they are limited to the local feed only thereafter should they ever return. So we'll always see a fair number of their games although not all games shown in Chicago make the national feed as is.

The Braves are on the local station that gave birth to TBS. It's now separate from the rest of the former Turner Broadcasting empire that Time Warner swallowed up and is a local station for the Atlanta market. It appears the station was guaranteed an inventory of Braves games in the separation although nothing like the old days.

The Dodgers are on KCAL-9. The station is an anomaly. It is owned by CBS, but is independent, so it has decent budget for sports rights and is free of any network obligations clogging the schedule. The station also has a significant number of Lakers games although that deal ends after this season. With the Dodgers future rights up in the air, the team could leave over the air TV or see its presence there strongly reduced in the future.

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 4:53 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 289

Is anyone here old enough to remember when some Twins games were on Pay-Per-View??

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 6:11 PM by luke Highlight this comment 290

Interesting stuff, Jorge. Thanks!

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 7:00 PM by spycake Highlight this comment 291

Was in Montreal last weekend for a pre-Valentine's Day getaway with the missus. While there, we took the Metro to Olympic Stadium to see its exterior. Luckily, there was a home show going on, and a nice Quebecker gave us a pair of free tickets so we got inside. It definitely is dated, like the Metrodome, but the concourses are much wider. Lots of concrete (thankfully none falling down on us!) and very few amenities. I think MLB could work there down the road with a new stadium, though the chances of a return are probably slim to none. As a city, I loved Montreal and would go back in a heartbeat. (And catching a Habs game was a spectacle to behold -- the fans act more like soccer fans; very refreshing as opposed to the lack of enthusiasm at Xcel.)

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 8:37 PM by TheTruthHurts Highlight this comment 292

I agree that the move to all games on FSN was a good one. Having games in non-HD was/is inexcusable in 2012. The only beef I have is potentially NOT having all 162 games televised. Fox will probably pick up a few Saturday games and FSN may add a few, but c'mon there are now plenty of people who can fill in for Richard/Bert when they need vacation.

Jorge: One of the biggest factors driving the Dodgers' bidding (reportedly already over 1.5B) is the enormous new contract that Fox/Time Warner will throw at the ballclub. I'd imagine for that kinda coin they'd wanna be exclusively on their paid networks.

RE: Cable/Satellite MSP Penetration

That ranking (29th of 30) doesn't really surprise me with the notoriously frugal/cheap Scandanavians in this market. The question is why do Minnesotans/Western WI/South Dakota/North Dakota/Northern Iowans refuse to purchase TV. Is it a philosophy on life? The outdoors? The summer cabin culture? Cheap? Something else?

Lastly, I need The Truth Hurts to conduct a highly intensive investigation to determine where Richard & Bert shop for their wardrobes. My best guess is The Men's Warehouse. I mean seriously most/all TV folks have their clothes comped by some local/national retailer. These cats look like their are pinching pennies and wearing sportcoats from the 70s...

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 8:45 PM by Max Highlight this comment 293

Doesn't the television station provide the wardrobe?
Usually during the end credits, or at some point in the broadcast you will see a tag like "Bert's wardrobe provided by..." which usually means that Bert got a stipend from FSN to acquire his wardrobe.

And - I think it would be a little higher end than Men's Warehouse. Not that MW doesn't have good stuff...but I think Bert's wardrobe would be of the designer genre.

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 9:10 PM by luke Highlight this comment 294

Less than ten days until pitchers and catchers report.

My mind is in a happy place today. :-)

Posted on February 9, 2012 at 08:32 AM by F_T_K Highlight this comment 295

The great site debate is over! A legislator has proposed (tongue in cheek?)building the Vikings stadium in Duluth. Tailgating on the shore of Lake Superior baby!

Posted on February 9, 2012 at 3:03 PM by terry Highlight this comment 296

That is what is so frustrating about this entire process. Instead of everyone working together to get something done, you have lawmakers throwing out stupid proposals for plans in Duluth and Shakopee, that have ZERO chance of ever happening.

Posted on February 9, 2012 at 3:44 PM by Vikeologist Highlight this comment 297

Put this in the FWIW column: I talked with one Mpls city council member I know and the spouse of another (who works with me). The conversations reinforced for me one of Rick's earlier points - that Hennepin County is going to need to sneak back into these discussions for a Mpls stadium deal to get done. The two council members are firmly in the public-$-for-stadiums-is-bad-policy camp. While neither said "never," it was clear that Target Center/property tax relief would absolutely have to be part of the final deal for them to even think about supporting any city-funded proposal. Nothing we haven't been eharing, but I really don't think it's posturing.

Posted on February 9, 2012 at 4:17 PM by BR Highlight this comment 298

And done.

Posted on February 9, 2012 at 5:41 PM by TheTruthHurts Highlight this comment 299

It's become obvious that this thing doesn't have a chance without Hennepin in the mix. Today we're hearing that electronic pull tabs might not provide the necessary revenue (gee, shocking...NOT!) and that Mpls plan may fall $50 million short. Now Ramsey county is back with a plan which would take money away from what Wilf was expecting in his pockets - namely parking fees. It's Hennepin County or bust. Rick, you're prophetic!!

Posted on February 10, 2012 at 07:07 AM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 300

Suppose we saved enough money from lack of need for plowing snow this year to make a dent? Everyone in the region could pitch in 10 bucks from the money they saved in lower heating bills. We could make Michelle Bachmann pay back all the money wasted on her presidential campaign in Vikings Stadium dollars.

Posted on February 10, 2012 at 08:07 AM by Jared Highlight this comment 301

On the topic of TV rights, USA Today ran a story this morning about the recent vast increases in local TV rights and how it impacts the game.

Posted on February 10, 2012 at 10:45 AM by Jorge Highlight this comment 302

Any thoughts on Ramsey County's revised plan?

Posted on February 10, 2012 at 11:05 AM by moda Highlight this comment 303

I don't think this plan hangs together much better than their previous ones, but that's not the real problem.

The real problem is that the biggest opponent to this plan may actually be the Vikings. The plan takes all of that yummy money off their plate, and now their site looks considerably less appealing.

Posted on February 10, 2012 at 11:09 AM by Rick 304

Was thinking the same thing Rick.

Posted on February 10, 2012 at 11:14 AM by moda Highlight this comment 305

MMM...excellent. Parking lot naming rights, BRILLIANT!

I am sure its not the first time but relying on naming rights for parking lots for funding a new stadium? It will only be a few years before we start having seat naming rights for every chair in the venue. I can see it now...

Frank: Where you sittin' for the Twins game today Jack?
Jack: Target level, Delta Sky 360 Legends club, Humana section, seats Rick's Cabaret, Davannis Pizza and Fred's Lawn Mowing. You should meet us over at the Kohler bathroom across from the LeJeune Steel Company Wind Veil before the game.

I believe that is a bit of a slippery slope argument but you get the idea.

Aw, who am I kidding? Fred's lawn mowing could never afford seat naming rights.

Posted on February 10, 2012 at 11:25 AM by Jared Highlight this comment 306

Uhhhh familiar with Target Field?

Posted on February 10, 2012 at 11:33 AM by moda Highlight this comment 307

Why doesn't Wilf admit that what he really wants is Wilfland? Does he really think he is fooling anyone?

Posted on February 10, 2012 at 12:09 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 308

Because he likes to ruffle your feathers ben.

Posted on February 10, 2012 at 12:15 PM by moda Highlight this comment 309

You just can't make up this stadium proposal stuff...from the Shakopee and Duluth ideas to the multiple Minneapolis sites to the latest "revised" proposal by Ramsey County. This latest proposal is probably the official beginning of the end for the Ramsey County/Arden Hills plan with the Vikings now saying it "violates" the initial agreement made in May between Ramsey County and the Vikings.

Hopefully this will end the Arden Hills/Ramsey County debate and the focus can turn solely to Hennepin County/Minneapolis because the stadium will ultimately end up in Minneapolis because that is where the dollars are.

It's now a matter of time before Hennepin County gets involved.

Posted on February 10, 2012 at 12:48 PM by Mike (aka Mike) Highlight this comment 310

And THERE...IS...YOUR....DAGGER!

Posted on February 10, 2012 at 12:48 PM by moda Highlight this comment 311

Anyone get the e-mail about public Opening Day sale yet?

Posted on February 10, 2012 at 3:53 PM by tk Highlight this comment 312

I put my name in the lotto for opening day and I have not received an email. Hopefully it's just delayed and not a sign that I didn't get picked.

Posted on February 10, 2012 at 4:24 PM by CSG Mike Highlight this comment 313

No April games for me this year, did that last year when it was 30 something and snowing. Not chancing spending $100+ on going to a game only to be cold and miserable. I'll watch on FSN instead.

Posted on February 10, 2012 at 6:32 PM by Dave Highlight this comment 314

The opening day ticket opportunity drawing was slated for "on or around February 11th with the winners being notified by email a day or two later. So patience we still have a couple days yet.

Posted on February 10, 2012 at 10:59 PM by jared Highlight this comment 315

Actually the Twins website says:
HOME OPENER RANDOM DRAWING: On or about Thursday, 02/09/2012
HOME OPENER WINNERS NOTIFIED VIA E-MAIL BY: On or about, 02/10/2012
HOME OPENER SALE FOR WINNERS: Winners will be notified of sale dates via e-mail.

Posted on February 10, 2012 at 11:45 PM by ab21 Highlight this comment 316

So I guess you’ll all just have to keep checking your in boxes. If you’ve won, word will come.

Posted on February 11, 2012 at 02:59 AM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 317

I have not received an email about opening day tickets either. I have never gotten drawn for this, so I'm not counting on it this year either. I usually just go to StubHub and get tickets for opening day.

Posted on February 11, 2012 at 08:03 AM by Vikeologist Highlight this comment 318

sorry for the terrible grammar! never been drawn. LOL

Posted on February 11, 2012 at 08:09 AM by Vikeologist Highlight this comment 319

Oops, ab21 is correct. I had it right in my calendar but I got it mixed up with something else. My bad.

Posted on February 11, 2012 at 08:53 AM by Jared Highlight this comment 320

Winona Mike, wow man, was just curious. Christ. haha

Posted on February 11, 2012 at 1:56 PM by TK Highlight this comment 321

Someone with a keen eye spotted this upbraiding of Vikings ownership in, of all places, Forbes Magazine.

When even Forbes thinks you are getting too greedy, it's time to seriously take stock. Will Zygi?

Posted on February 11, 2012 at 3:11 PM by Rick 322

Did I say something wrong?

Posted on February 11, 2012 at 10:52 PM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 323

I think he was referring to your brash response in comment 317??

Posted on February 12, 2012 at 08:10 AM by luke Highlight this comment 324

http://www.fromthisseat.com/index.php/mlb/minnesota-twins/16786

I've been thinking this would be a good idea, and I guess someone has finally done it. You can submit comments by section here for any park in MLB.

Posted on February 12, 2012 at 10:10 PM by jctwins Highlight this comment 325

Winona Mike,

In response to me asking if others had received word, I read your response as snide. I was simply wondering if others had heard anything. No biggie.

Posted on February 12, 2012 at 10:53 PM by tk Highlight this comment 326

Watching the Vikings operate through all of this is akin to me trying to buy airline tickets. I'll hop on a half dozen sites, find the best deal, and... wait. I'll then do the same thing a week later and see the same options, and what do I do? Wait some more. Another week, and suddenly the best times and prices are gone. The tickets now cost $50 more apiece. A prudent person would cut his losses at this point and make a decision, right? Not me. I'll be damned if I'm going to pay $50 more per ticket and when I could have saved that money just last week. So I wait some more.

You get the picture. The cost of this thing isn't going down. No one's gonna "blink" here. Zygi & Co have to decide if they want a stadium done now, and pick the best price/options package of the existing lot, or if they want to continue to be cast about by the Fates, knowing that time = money down the drain.

Of course, we could say the same thing about the governmental decision-makers. But as we all know by this point, the decision-makers are comprised of many disparate parts, some of whom don't actually want to help build a new stadium at all. They need to be led through this process - a coalition needs to be developed, adn the team should be leading that effort. They don;t appear to be doing so.

I don't know why the Vikings wouldn't be in constant communication with Ramsey County, but submarining the last proposal earns the team no points with the on-the-fence crowd at the Legislature. It's the sort of thing you'd do if you wanted the stadium effort to fail. Otherwise, the team would have told the County in no uncertain terms that a user fee proposal would not fly, to prevent such a proposal from distracting people further. Or, better, the team would have accepted and supported the proposal as a good-not-great effort to move this thing on to the next step. Instead, the team shoots itself in the foot, again.

Sure looks like dysfunction at best, greed at worst, making them a hard bunch to support.

Posted on February 13, 2012 at 09:12 AM by BR Highlight this comment 327

Promotion scheduled released. Click my name.

Posted on February 13, 2012 at 10:45 AM by AJ Highlight this comment 328

Ben - I hope you didn't pay the $55 for the "guaranteed giveaway" this year looking at that promotional schedule

Posted on February 13, 2012 at 10:51 AM by Mike Highlight this comment 329

"Ben Revere bat"? Let me guess - guaranteed never used?

Posted on February 13, 2012 at 11:33 AM by F_T_K Highlight this comment 330

I assume the June 30 turn back the clock game against the Royals will see the Twins wear Millers uniforms. That sounds pretty cool. It would be great if an effort was made to bring back as many surviving former Millers as possible. Willie Mays, Carl Yazstremski, Orlando Cepeda, Monte Irvin (he'll be 93 by game day), and former Twin Al Worthington all wore the jersey and other lesser known players survive as well. It's too late for Ted Williams, Gene Mauch, Chuck Tanner, and Hoyt Wilhelm (why didn't they do this a decade ago?). This will be the last reasonable chance to have a Millers reunion before the remaining legends and notables begin to pass away, so hopefully the Twins will take proper advantage.

Posted on February 13, 2012 at 11:39 AM by Jorge Highlight this comment 331

For the life of me, I can't figure out the Twins marketing department. I won't get into the aulity debate; we've done that. But looking at what they're giving out and when, it all just seems...so..stupid. With a ballpark that still sells out most of its games - especially weekends and summer games - why do they offer so many promotional items on weekends? Isn't the basic idea to draw more fans than they otherwise would?

And do they give any thought whatsoever about whom they're targeting and when? For example, on an April Wednesday night game, they're giving away drawstring backpacks. Those aren't specifically limited to kids, but kids like them. But even if kids WANT one, most parents aren't gonna schlep them down to the park on a school night in April. 2 days later, on a Friday night, when families MIGHT decide to take the whole family to the game, they offer the adults only fishing lure promotion. That's just dumb marketing, imo.

Posted on February 13, 2012 at 1:18 PM by BR Highlight this comment 332

Mike ---

I finally got smart this year - a year or two two late. This is another area where the Twins are obviously looking for their fans' choke point.

Posted on February 13, 2012 at 3:27 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 333

Okay, so I just now got my Opening Day Ticket Opportunity email. I can attempt to buy up to 4 tickets with my assigned password beginning at 10 am on February 22nd. I'm wondering how many of these "opportunities" they gave out. Certainly enough to grind their servers to a halt, if history is any indication.

Anybody with tips that might help me squeeze through the virtual waiting room and actually wind up with tickets?

Posted on February 13, 2012 at 7:40 PM by schweady Highlight this comment 334

Two words --- Stub Hub.

Posted on February 13, 2012 at 9:56 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 335

Mike Opat on Chad Hartmans show today talking about the Vikings stadium. If you missed it you can listen to the podcast on itunes.

Posted on February 13, 2012 at 10:36 PM by Leroy Highlight this comment 336

I got that exact same "opportunity" email, Schweady.

Posted on February 14, 2012 at 07:26 AM by F_T_K Highlight this comment 337

I have not received an opening day opportunity yet. Damn.

Hopefully I can get the opener tickets from my ticket group.

Posted on February 14, 2012 at 08:31 AM by CSG Mike Highlight this comment 338

Leroy can you give any sort of summary of what he said?

Posted on February 14, 2012 at 10:00 AM by moda Highlight this comment 339

Found the link. Clicky.

Posted on February 14, 2012 at 10:02 AM by moda Highlight this comment 340

Did not get the presale opportunity. Of the 4 people I know who submitted, only 1 received the opportunity.

Posted on February 14, 2012 at 10:42 AM by tk Highlight this comment 341

Received set #1 of Twins tickets today!!! Spring is getting closer!

When you receive your set, please let me know if you notice anything incorrect with the photo on the box cover...

Posted on February 14, 2012 at 11:46 AM by tk Highlight this comment 342

My wife & I both submitted entries for the home opener pre-sale. Both of us were shutout. Oh well, there is always the secondary market.

schweady - I did get the opportunity last year and it went fairly well. I clicked on my access site just a few minutes prior to the presale and went direct to the waiting room. I just had that one waiting room open and it did not take long before I got in to purchase my tickets. I poked around a bit to see what good options I oculd come up with before settling for 2 on the Field Terrace level.

Posted on February 14, 2012 at 12:55 PM by Stevie B Highlight this comment 343

tk, you're killing me. What is it? Post a pic and let us see what's wrong.

Posted on February 14, 2012 at 3:25 PM by CSG Mike Highlight this comment 344

Not sure if a scan or a photo of it will be able to show the detail. I will work on scanning it in later, but I have no idea how to upload to a site to host photo, and i've tried the e-mail to site, but have failed.

Posted on February 14, 2012 at 3:34 PM by tk Highlight this comment 345

Mike Opat's interview with Chad Hartman echoed what has been stated here, first by Rick, then by others.

- He favors Farmers Market above all other sites because of the presence of Target Field and Target Center. His reasons are the proximity of the ABC ramps and the planned terminus of so many transit lines.

- He dismissed the grading issue and pinned the blame for the site not getting consideration on the Vikings' desire for parking revenue.

- Opat doesn't think electronic pulltabs will work as a state funding mechanism because the dough raised won't be high enough.

- He's against a casino in downtown Minneapolis.

- He thinks the site adjacent to the Metrodome has no chance and is too complex for what they want to do to it while also thinking the build 70%, move out the team to TCF, finish it, bring them back plan has an overly ambitious time table. For what it's worth, while St. Louis completed most of Busch Stadium III, then tore down Busch Stadium II and finished the new one in a single offseason, what they needed to accomplish was far simpler than what the Vikings want to do.

- It's clear that he has a very, very low opinion of the Minneapolis City Council and also thinks Rybak can't get anything done alone.

- If nothing dramatically changes, there will be no stadium at the 2012 session because it's a short session and we don't even have a site, much less a bill that can pass.

- A business committee that helped get things done with the Twins is coming into focus. They can't directly get things done, but can facilitate things.

- Without him saying it, Opat seems to know he holds the key to this and nothing will get done until the Vikings deal with that reality while the state simultaneously comes up with a legitimate financing plan.

Posted on February 14, 2012 at 4:23 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 346

Thanks, Jorge. The vikings need to give up their parking $ dreams and go to the dance with Hennepin County. Cut Minneapolis and its city council and referendum requirement out of the loop. Increase the existing TF tax to cover the Vikings deal, too. And then have the state figure out where it's share is coming from. (Maybe a lesser amount from the state and some of the user fees proposed by Ramsey Co?)

What kills me in all of this is that Zygi probably isn't even going to put up any actual money. The team's "share" will come from a league loan and PSLs. Or is that too cynical and not giving him enough credit?

Posted on February 14, 2012 at 4:54 PM by BR Highlight this comment 347

A league loan still has to be repaid, even if it's at a favorable rate of interest. The Vikings just have to come up with a share to bring to the table. If that's from PSLs and an NFL loan, so be it. Even the PSL money would be used as collateral on bank loans since that money wouldn't be collected until well after construction began. It's not as if the Vikings or the Wilf family just have $400,000,000 in cash lying around anyway and even if they did, they'd still borrow rather than make such a huge cash outlay. The team's portion was always going to be financed in one way or the other. If it's a portion the public bodies doesn't have to pony up, then so be it.

Posted on February 14, 2012 at 5:12 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 348

doesn't...sigh...don't have to pony up. Oh to have an edit feature...

Posted on February 14, 2012 at 5:14 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 349

From 1500ESPN.com

The Minnesota Twins have announced their promotional giveaways for the upcoming season, but one thing you won't find on it is a list of days on which bobbleheads will be distributed to fans entering Target Field.

Introduced in 2000 as a way to attract fans to the Metrodome, the Twins have decided not to conduct bobblehead giveaways for 2012.

Twins President Dave St. Peter said in a message Monday night that the team wanted to take a year off from the promotion but added, "they will likely be back down the road."

The bobblehead giveaways became one of the Twins' most popular promotions and started with a collection of four in 2000 that included Harmon Killebrew, Kent Hrbek, Kirby Puckett and Tony Oliva.

It was not uncommon for fans to sleep outside the Metrodome to make sure they were in line to get the bobbleheads.

Last season, the Twins had a bobblehead that featured Hrbek and Atlanta's Ron Gant from their famous play in the 1991 World Series when the two got tangled up and the Twins first baseman managed to tag out Gant.

That giveaway was done in August on the first day of the Twins' 20-year reunion of their 1991 World Series Championship.

Posted on February 14, 2012 at 8:07 PM by minn55441 Highlight this comment 350

Unfortunately, we're stuck with the Viqueens for awhile. *Sigh.
Clicky.

Posted on February 14, 2012 at 9:30 PM by luke Highlight this comment 351

Why do people get so worked up over free promotional giveaways?

They sound like spoiled brats crying about the toy they got out of a cereal box.

Posted on February 14, 2012 at 11:19 PM by Dave Highlight this comment 352

I agree Dave, and especially since most of it is cheap crap. I like some of it as a nice little bonus, the other crap usually ends up on the ground or in the trash 10 steps after I get it. Although I do like the straw hat, looks decent and works nicely at the cabin or golfing. The only other ones I would be interested in this coming year would be the golf head cover (with, i'm sure, a giant 1500ESPN logo on it) and the beach towel.

Also its not like giving away cheap crap is anthing new. As a kid going to the metrodome they gave out those crappy mesh twins hats or plastic helmets that you'd always get you hair caught in the size adjuster.

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 02:26 AM by Duffman Highlight this comment 353

Why are so many fans disappointed to see the bobbleheads being discontinued this year? 2008 was the last year when they gave out more than two bobbleheads, so its really nothing new this year and most people who collect them knew they would be phasing out the bobbleheads sooner or later.

I have collected them since year one in 2000 and the quality/value has only gone downhill since than. The ones given away in 2000 and 2001 are much better quality than the ones given away in recent years. You can clearly see the difference in size/quality.

And what players are there to even give away anymore? Danny Valencia? Carl Pavano? Rene Tosoni...? Seriously, there are no players left worthy of any value. However, a John Gordon and Herb Carneal bobblehead would be nice in the future.

Look no further than the Shannon Stewart, Christian Guzman, Jacque Jones, Doug Mientkiewicz and Al Newman bobbleheads to name a few. You can pretty much buy any of those for $5 these days.

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 07:53 AM by Mike (aka Mike) Highlight this comment 354

Mike, I think you nailed the bobblehead conundrum: there really are no players that they even want to feature coming off an injury-riddled, 63 win season.

Jorge, I understand the basics of the team's financial contribution. My point was that it's not a contribution in the sense that many people would think of would of it. He's not fronting any cash and he's taking on exceedingly little risk. He's borrowing against future funding streams that are almost guaranteed to increase substantially from his present cash flow situation, once the new stadium is built. So, yes, he'll make less money than he otherwise would from the new stadium, during the repayment period, but he'll still be making more money than he is in the Dome right now. And he'll end up making a ton more.

That is a very sweet business deal, made possible by massive public leveraging, and not available to the average schlub on the street. I don't think the average newspaper column on the issue does a particularly good job of fleshing this out. Maybe that's deliberate, though, because it's the kind of info that would only increase and/or harden opposition to a stadium deal.

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 09:59 AM by BR Highlight this comment 355

It is true that Zygi has no way to pay for a stadium without a stadium in place.

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 10:07 AM by moda Highlight this comment 356

BTW as I scroll past the current article by Rick I can't help and notice how stunning Target Field is at night.

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 10:08 AM by moda Highlight this comment 357

It sounds like there will be a bobblehead for some season ticket holders this season.

"Twins fans love collecting Twins player bobbleheads. Here's your chance to add to your collection. During the 2012 season, one limited-edition Twins bobblehead will be made available to a select number of Twins Season Ticket Holders. Be sure to rate this benefit high on your Top 10 Benefits "Wish List" to improve your chances of receiving this benefit."

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 11:08 AM by gogotwins Highlight this comment 358

I guess I'm not very eclectic. I much prefer a media guide as a STH perk to a bobblehead. Media guides, unlike the glossy yearbooks all teams put out, are truly informative.

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 11:36 AM by terry Highlight this comment 359

moda, thanks for the link to the Opat audio. Clearly, this is the guy in the driver's seat, which probably drives Zygi et. al. absolutely crazy.

I'm among those who don't really believe that electronic pulltabs make for a very secure revenue stream, and that the state is simply going to have to find a tax to raise if they want to get this done.

So I'll go on record again as saying that the tiny liquor tax proposed by St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman is the best option I've heard so far for the state contribution. Put that together with a small increase to the Hennepin county TF tax as the local partner, and a contribution from the Vikings and you've got a done deal.

The trick is that the Legislature will probably have to wait until this election cycle passes (and the number of TPers is presumably reduced). Only then will there be the potential to get done what needs to get done.

The other trick, of course, is that the Vikings will have to have a come-to-Jesus moment about parking revenues. They are going to have to forgo "stupid obscenely rich" for a mere "obscenely rich".

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 12:13 PM by Rick 360

I liked the new Twins on-line ticketing system again today. I had one window open at 9:58 for the virtual waiting room and began choosing tickets at 10:04. The interface is batt and I felt less anxious selecting tickets. I only got one game in the Overlook (138, row 4), and a few games in the 2nd row of 139. I bought three pairs of tickets for Thursday night games on the Budweiser Roof Deck: two SRO games ($17.50 each with fees included) and one reserved ($46.50) in the front row for the Phillies game. I also like not getting charged to print tickets at home.
My favorite promotion was the Old Timers game before the Rangers game on 9/5/10. Definitely had more fun that sunny afternoon than I have had with all of my bobbleheads combined!

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 12:20 PM by Buzz Highlight this comment 361

I'm not a bobblehead collector, so that loss doesn't mean much to me. But there's no question that the overall quality of Twins promo items has gone way down in recent years. There was a time that I felt like I had to carry some of that crap around with me throughout the game. Now I don't even take most of it.

The last truly great promo item that I got was a bat back at Met Stadium -- full size, real wood, high quality, with Killebrew's autograph imprinted right on it. We got three of them (one for me and my two brothers) and they never cracked or broke. I used that thing for years and years...

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 12:20 PM by Rick 362

(The interface is better....)

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 12:22 PM by Buzz Highlight this comment 363

Every bobblehead I ever got I looked for a kid that didn't get one near m and gave it to the kid. I always felt a little odd carrying around a toy while some kid didn't get one.

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 12:36 PM by moda Highlight this comment 364

I guess it is time for my yearly Alexi Casilla sucks balls rant. I'll keep it short, he sucks balls. The Twins should have saved the $1.3m, and not offered him arbitration.

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 12:41 PM by Duffman Highlight this comment 365

Duffman, who would be the starting second baseman then? Right now the Twins don't have a better option in my opinion. He just needs to stay healthy.

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 12:46 PM by Jeff Highlight this comment 366

Not having a better option doesn't change the fact that Casilla sucks.

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 12:58 PM by Rick 367

Is Nishi a better option at second? Notice how he hasn't been talked about at all this offseason? How much are they paying that guy if he's in AAA all year?

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 1:25 PM by CSG Mike Highlight this comment 368

I heard Gardy say in an interview that he wants Casilla and Nishi to compete for the job at second during spring training.

Luis Rivas, where are you now?!? (Only kidding.)

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 1:31 PM by Rick 369

I think bobblehead collectors are entitled (probably a poor choice of words) to be disappointed. The Twins are not just letting the avocation fizzle, they are actively killing it. This process began in 2009. Up to that point the team had always (well --- since 2000) issued four "classic pose" AGP bobbleheads as SGA promo items. In 2009 they reduced the number to two, claiming lack of sponsorship (all those who believe the Twins were unable to locate a sponsor for their most popular promo please raise your hands) and switched to action poses. Twins bobblehead collectors saw the writing on the wall at that point.

Quality has, indeed, diminished over the years. The high-water mark as far as size/"chunkiness", detail, and decent paint jobs was the 2001 set, especially the Blyleven and Carew pieces. The last couple years of the classics got pretty bad as far as QC, probably a combination of cost cutting at AGP and cheapness of the Twins. It got to the point where a discerning collector needed to paw through several of any given issue to find a displayable piece - one with a reasonably straight head and not too sloppy paint job.

As far as candidates for bobblehead-dom the Twins were always able to come up with something more or less acceptable, at least to the collector. The team very quickly ran out of "legend" (Killer, Hrbek, Puck) players and switched to current journeyman/popular players interspersed with "name" (Molitor, etc.) players. They also did repeats based on recent accomplishments (batting titles, MVP, HOF, etc.). The cupboard is, indeed, a bit bare - but what would be wrong with a classic pose set consisting of Blyleven HOF, Pascual, Kaat, and a current player? I always thought Bob Casey would have been a classy choice as well - and Herb is a great idea.

I reject the notion that bobbleheads were "cheap crap" - although they were headed in that direction, especially with the Minnie & Paul piece. A well assembled set makes a nice collectible in the opinion of a great many fans/collectors and those folks are the ones sorry to see the era end. Freshly issued bobbleheads always sold well on the open market for those who didn't want to keep them. Giving them to a kid is nice --- but getting a quick $40 - $50 for them is nice too. And, a complete set of Twins promo bobbleheads is still worth about $2800, even today.

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 1:42 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 370

Rick, I remember our family going to Bat Day at Cleveland Stadium and we all came home with bright red Larvell Blanks bats. They were used and abused for many years!

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 1:48 PM by fiesta Highlight this comment 371

White Earth tribe to propose metro casino to help fund new stadium

At a Senate hearing in December, Erma Vizenor of the White Earth Tribal Council first brought the proposal before policymakers. She said that a tribal casino adjacent to an Arden Hills stadium would raise $300 million yearly.

That number is pretty astonishing and I am sure its a very "conservative" number because I am sure the tribes are never going to open their books and reveal just how much they actually bring in each year. But I am sure $300 million is a drop in the bucket compared to what Treasure Island and Mystic Lake bring in each year.

Does anyone know anything about this White Earth Tribe?

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 2:44 PM by Mike (aka Mike) Highlight this comment 372

White Earth's a big reservation west of Lake Itasca. They have a casino - Shooting Star - in Mahnomen.

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 3:16 PM by BR Highlight this comment 373

Can't imagine this will go over big with the other tribes who run near-metro casinos like Mystic Lake, Treasure Island, Black Bear, etc.

What might fly? A jointly run metro-area casino for all MN tribes, with profits split evenly or proportionately. It'll never happen, but that would be one way to eliminate the Native gaming lobby from the equation.

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 3:22 PM by BR Highlight this comment 374

This isn't exactly a new idea. There were trial balloons floated for it last fall.

The general consensus at the time was that this would be opposed first by the other tribes (who are also looking for a way to get closer to where all the people are), and second by a Legislature which doesn't want gaming to encroach so closely on the metro area.

My hunch is that the Vikings might like this, especially if it were to restore the tailgating revenue, but it doesn't have any real chance of becoming the actual solution.

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 3:38 PM by Rick 375

Does anyone know anything about this White Earth Tribe?

As BR notes, it's a larger northernwestern MN tribe. The south end of the resevation is just north of Detroit Lakes. It's a very poor tribe when compared to the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) who run Mystic Lake. Much larger too in population I believe.

Can't imagine this will go over big with the other tribes who run near-metro casinos like Mystic Lake, Treasure Island, Black Bear, etc.
I would guess not. =)

What's interesting is that I think that White Earth tweaked their proposal. As I recall, the first time they offered something similar the tribal profits would benefit more tribes then just White Earth. Perhaps they dropped that while increasing the state's cut to make this more attractive? Or I could be recalling the details wrong.

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 3:48 PM by GoAUpher Highlight this comment 376

It's sad when someone brings a possible solution to the table and it has no chance in hell of succeeding before it even gets off the ground.

You can't please everyone, I guess.

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 4:41 PM by DreDogg Highlight this comment 377

White Earth has a website, [/link=http://www.minnesotawins.com]Minnesota Wins[/link] that contains some details on their proposal.

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 4:56 PM by Dave Highlight this comment 378

Minnesota Wins

screwed the first one up :(

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 4:57 PM by Dave Highlight this comment 379

Maybe I've become jaded, DreDogg, but I don't even think twice when that happens because it happens all the time and for just about every single issue you can imagine (not just stadiums).

People routinely propose things that have no chance. Sometimes they propose them without realizing that they have no chance (generally out of idealism or naivete). Other times they propose something with the full knowledge that it has no chance, but with the intention of either raising visibility for something, or setting an anchor against which a later proposal will be measured. In other words, as a form of manipulation.

Still other times proposals come from people who really want something and really think they should get it and just want to make a big stink in the hopes that it sparks some sort of activity that might not have happened otherwise.

If you think that's all a little bit screwed up, you are right. But that's just how things work in government and politics (and, arguably, in other parts of the world too).

From the tribe's point of view, what do they have to lose? Absolutely nothin'. (Say it again.)

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 5:32 PM by Rick 380

Reading the StarTrib article makes it seem too good to be true. The tribe says it already has secured financing and all they need is the go ahead and a location. IF the $300m a year is accurate which it may be, then that means $150m a year for the state. If, and that’s a big IF, Ramsey County were smart, they would jump on this and maybe try to nudge 1/6 ($50m/year) of that with the stipulation their share reverts to the state/tribe once their portion of the stadium is paid off, and in return the casino gets a tax free zone from property taxes as long as it stands.

Of course since we are talking about idealism and random ideas, I still wish my city would get off their ass on this and propose a location for either the casino or stadium. Clearly it is not too late to enter proposals so they have time.

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 7:59 PM by Duffman Highlight this comment 381

A little late reporting on the STH Opening day chance at getting tickets..I got the chance but didn't access the page until 11 because of work..gave it a try on my Iphone which is dam near impossible to do in the alotted time putting in all the info but it worked and got 2 in 223 Row 3 which is fine with me..Anyone else having problems selling some season tickets..I offered up my cheapies(306 Row 1) for face in a 20 game package on craigslist and NEVER even got a bite? I mean these basically are great seats at a low price...

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 8:01 PM by Steve Highlight this comment 382

Any way the Twins can find an Asian American Ivy League athlete to shore up the middle infield? They seem to be doing well lately...

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 10:12 PM by TheTruthHurts Highlight this comment 383

Steve -- I have not had much interest in my tickets either. In years past, I have had several inquiries by now, this year, not a single person interested.

It's going to be one lousy year for sellers if this is any indication. The Twins schedule is horrible as far as demand will be concerned. The highest demand games will be the Interleague games in June with the Cubs, Phillies and Brewers. Other than that, the Red Sox are in April, during the week and the Yankees are in late September, also during the week. Only one home weekend series in August and two in July. Meanwhile, September has 3 weekend home series', all post-Labor Day, when there are lots of school/college sports and other activities going on.

It will pay to hold out and buy tickets on the open market because the demand will continue to plummet and there will be some good seats available at great prices.

While I am excited for baseball and spring/summer, there is just no excitement surrounding the Twins this year. They will have to stay healthy and win some games to get the fans interested again. A 99-loss season and very few roster upgrades will definitely not get many fans excited. I think Mauer will bounce back and have a great year, but am concerned about Morneau. The lack of depth and the inconsistent pitching will also hurt this team again.

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 09:25 AM by Mike (aka Mike) Highlight this comment 384

Interesting that you are already feeling like there is no demand for tickets. I can't remember when single game tickets went on sale last year but I think this year is later than usual, could that delay be what's slowing demand?

I get 10 games from my ticket group, but I also always try to pick up the opener and final game from single game sales the Twins. If I don't get what I want from the Twins I'll be looking to secure these games from the secondary market. I bet there are others out there like me waiting to see what they can get directly from the Twins before hitting up stub hub, craigslist, etc...

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 09:40 AM by CSG Mike Highlight this comment 385

You have to have pitching before you can have inconsistant pitching. The Twins are still banking on their ability to sell the new park and the "gameday experience" rather than quality baseball. It's wearing thin.

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 09:44 AM by Ben Highlight this comment 386

The best deals on tickets will go to those who just want to see baseball get played (or kinda played depending on your standards) without regard to opponent or time of day/year. And those deals will be on the secondary market. Why even bother with the Twins and their fees?

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 09:52 AM by Ben Highlight this comment 387

What is it good for?

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 10:05 AM by moda Highlight this comment 388

This morning was/is the "exclusive" ticket purchasing opportunity for 20 game season ticket holders like me and I only purchased one pair. This time last year I bought into the hype and got an extra 8 games or so that I could've got for half what I paid on the secondary market. The pair I did get though I'm really excited about, day after my B-day against the Angels, row 1 in the overlook. I've been wanting to sit in that exact section and row ever since the 1st renderings came out and now I get to be hovering over Torii Hunter!

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 10:27 AM by jp Highlight this comment 389

Actually, single game tickets are on sale earlier this year (Feb 25) compared to the past several years when it was mid-March. Before that, they would go on sale in late January as part of Twinsfest.

As much as I would like to buy some single game tickets during today's pre-sale, I am going to hold out and try the open market once the season gets underway because these prices today will probably be the highest prices we see for the season. Not to mention all of the "fees" that are added on to each order. Why pay $85 today when I can probably pay $40 (or less) if I wait until the season is underway by using the open-market or waiting for the demand-based pricing to go into effect?

Obviously, the Cubs and Brewers fans will drive demand for those games, but other than that it will be a buyer's market in 2012.

In years past, I would have bought 5 or 6 additional games during the pre-sale, this year, NOTHING.

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 10:31 AM by Mike (aka Mike) Highlight this comment 390

Gives me great pleasure watching speculators and brokers cry!

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 10:51 AM by Dave Highlight this comment 391

Steve Smith - Twins Vice President of Ticket Sales and Service is leaving the Twins organization after 7+ years according to Twins President Dave St Peter....I wonder if there is anything behind this or if he is simply pursuing other opportunities? The timing seems kind of strange with ticket sales just underway.

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 11:56 AM by Mike (aka Mike) Highlight this comment 392

I bought a few extra games in the STH presale. I was looking for 4 seats together for a few games. For the first time that I've seen, the system gave me not 4 in a row, but two seats in each of two rows, right behind each other. I'm fine with that but I'd never seen it and in fact I didn't realize it until they were already purchased.

Otherwise it was a somewhat less hysterical pre-sale than previous years, that's for sure. A few minutes in the waiting room, good availability, in and out in a few minutes. There's nothing like 99 losses to calm things down.

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 12:15 PM by ClarkAddison Highlight this comment 393

My experience this morning was drama-free. I wanted a couple tickets for the Cubs series; my 20 game package didn't include any of those games. Got in and out in a matter of a few minutes and have some good seats for the Saturday afternoon game.

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 12:22 PM by terry Highlight this comment 394

Sounds like Dayton supports the white earth proposal and had talks with them about it two weeks ago. Could be why he has been saying that a deal might be close. Or it could just be senility.

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 12:34 PM by moda Highlight this comment 395

Similar experience here for single game ticket presale. I didn't log on until 11:45 but got right in. First game I looked at (one of the Red Sox games) I selected best seats available and the system offered 2 dugout box seats. I didn't buy those (they're $88 apiece - too rich for my blood) but there were good tickets available all over.

I bought 2 tix to that game, 4 to the Mother's Day game, and 2 to the Old Timer's game - games we were interested in but which weren't in my 20 game package. Lots of good inventory available, suggesting that people really should wait to get better deals through dynamic pricing drops or from STH looking to dump their seats along the way for whatever they can get.

My question: What are the odds that the Twins crack 3 million in ticket sales this year? Gonna be close, I think.

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 12:43 PM by BR Highlight this comment 396

If you are on twitter...#EvilJoeMauer is trending right now. Hilarious.

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 12:46 PM by Jared Highlight this comment 397

Regarding Steve Smith's departure, the Twins office staff works very long and arduous hours during the regular season while receiving pay that's not really in line with what many of these people could make outside the sports world based on their age, experience, and education. He may have decided it was time for a change with the right alternative opportunity coming along at the right time. While you don't want someone in his position leaving in February with ticket sales underway, you really don't want that happening when single game regular season tickets go on sale or during the season when there are a million fires to put out which require someone with knowledge of standing accounts what happened in the past.

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 1:59 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 398

with knowledge of standing accounts and what happened in the past.

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 2:01 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 399

Cracking 3M tix = averaging 37,037 per game. I don't see it happening this year. 16 home games after Labor Day, and only 3 weekend series in July/August combined. I assume the summer weekend games will all be sellouts, but I think the summer evenings will often be 1000 fans short of capacity and if the team is not in the race the September games could be as low as 30,000. I'm assume the FSE season ticket sale ends up at about 24,000 or so. I think I heard that they have already sold 2.2M? In any case, it will be close to 3M, but I'm betting they end up just shy.

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 3:09 PM by Lincster Highlight this comment 400

#eviljoemauer

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 4:09 PM by tk Highlight this comment 401

Sorry, wrong site :)

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 4:09 PM by tk Highlight this comment 402

And now apparently Dayton doesn't back the casino thing.

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 4:18 PM by moda Highlight this comment 403

Dayton only backs what his advisors tell him to back. I'm sure someone from a special interest (Mdewakanton Sioux) told someone in the administration Dayton would be better served politically if he were against this.

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 4:42 PM by Duffman Highlight this comment 404

My brothers (adopted) are both members of the White Earth Tribe, and both are for this proposal, very much. As am I, a non- American Indian. I think this proposal is genius, and I also believe that anyone against it, is only because they want to be a difficult member of society.

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 4:54 PM by jcm-baseball Highlight this comment 405

The more I look at this "Next To The Dome" site, the worse it gets. Especially now that they say the 511 Building and the Xcel Substation will still remain in tact.

They are going to need a rather large tub of KY Jelly.

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 4:59 PM by DreDogg Highlight this comment 406

DreDogg,

Did you see the map and drawing on Strib's website? KY might not even do the trick. How stupid is this idea???

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 7:37 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 407

Had a few phone conversations with Steve Smith over the years and I have nothing but praise for his interest in hearing what a STH had to say about some ideas..He took note and rewarded me with a tour of Target Field before it opened..Thanks and Good Luck in the future Steve Smith..

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 8:11 PM by Steve Highlight this comment 408


Crazy. Just...crazy.

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 9:09 PM by Rick 409

(For the record, about a third of those parking lots are private and unavailable on game days. This is just...so...stupid.)

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 9:10 PM by Rick 410

There is no f-ing way that a modern NFL facility can fit in the space represented by that circle. Expand the radius by about a third and then talk to me.

There is no f-ing way that you could build some big plaza and a parking ramp on the land left over.

There is no f-ing way you could build a 30,000 seat amphitheater on the leftover land (as Mondale says in the Strib video interview).

The one saving grace of this plan is that it shows just what folly is associated with doing anything on the Metrodome site.

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 9:15 PM by Rick 411

Twins announce TV schedule:

This is the second year that there are no local telecasts on over-the-air TV.

I'm starting to feel like the only fan for whom this matters at all. If that's the case, then the Twins did the right thing.

So...is there anybody else out there who can't see the Twins on TV?

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 10:00 PM by Rick 412

Why would those parking areas not be available on game days (Sundays). Are they not now?

Can the big parking ramp not be under ground like the one under the light rail station? Also I would prefer they forgo the plaza if it meant more surface parking. Scrap the amplitheatre, no need for it.

I do believe a modern NFL stadium could fit there if they align it parallel to 6th St., since they have expanded more verical than horizonal. If you look at the arial photos of a stadium like Lucas Oil it would fit there, barely. That being said the problem they would face is funneling everyone out one side of the stadium, unlike the 8 the metrodome has. That does seem to work for Target Field though.

In that location they should make 3rd & 4th St. direct enterances to 35W one north and one south. On 6th St they should eleminate the HOV enterance and retrofit the ramp so it funnels 2 lanes onto 94 instead of shrinking to one lane as it is now.

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 10:46 PM by Duffman Highlight this comment 413

Nope, I get the Twins via Channel 668 on Direct Tv, but it is annoying that I miss most games since I work 4pm-2am.

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 10:52 PM by Duffman Highlight this comment 414

I don't think you can even fit another Metrodome into that space:




(A bunch the lots marked with a "P" in the Strib diagram are currently unavailable on gamedays, including those at the Strib. Some even have big signs that say "No Event Parking".)

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 11:07 PM by Rick 415

Even though i'm forced to agree with everyone's notion that the footprint suggested is too small (which it likely is), but for years up until it's opening, everyone thought the rapid park location was too small for a baseball stadium AND light rail station... nearly everyone thought it would be a traffic disaster, and it worked out brilliantly. I guess what they can design and build these days isn't totally out of the question. Like many modern day sporting facilities, the entrance gates will most likely be on one side (unlike the Metrodome), the DT side where the plaza stretches is the obvious location meaning they can butt the stadium right up to the property line as tight a squeeze as possible. I guess we'll see..

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 11:08 PM by jcm-baseball Highlight this comment 416

Ok, see I thought from you initial picture the 511 building's parking lot was in play, just not the building, which would clearly allow the building to fit, barely.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 02:07 AM by Duffman Highlight this comment 417

Rick, you keep saying you CAN'T see the Twins on TV. Yes you can, but you choose not to. There is a huge difference between the two. You could sign up for DirecTV today, and watch 150 games on FS North this upcoming season.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 08:10 AM by Vikeologist Highlight this comment 418

The Metrodome site is a complete joke! The only reason the Vikings are moving on with the Metrodome site is because the Governor has told them that is the only site that has a chance at passing this year.

Vikings are just following the political winds right now, can't blame them for that. I'd rather have the Farmers Market site of this complete waste of time site.

Why does Minnesota have to make these things so difficult and do them in such ass backward ways?

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 08:12 AM by Vikeologist Highlight this comment 419

BTW Rick, every time i submit a post here using Firefox it crashes my Firefox right after my post is submitted.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 08:13 AM by Vikeologist Highlight this comment 420

Dayton only backs what his advisors tell him to back. I'm sure someone from a special interest (Mdewakanton Sioux) told someone in the administration Dayton would be better served politically if he were against this.

Or he's against it because, ya know, it has not shot. Also he didn't need advisors to tell him that. Why? The Indian gaming lobby already came out against the plan as soon as it was announced.

"John McCarthy, executive director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, was critical of the proposal.

"We're opposed to expansion of gambling and we're opposed to off-reservation gambling, no matter who does it," he said.

The White Earth Band does not belong to the gaming association."

I grew up near the White Earth reservation (pasty white caucasian with no tribal ties). And I like the plan because I know the good it could do for the tribe up there. Plus it's the first state funding source that doesn't involve taxes where the math also seems to work. That said, I know it has no chance of passing because of how strong the gaming lobby is. Dayton knows it to.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 08:25 AM by GoAUpher Highlight this comment 421

I've been trying to figure out how they would fit a stadium east of the Dome since it was announced... Now thanks to Rick's photoshop pics of the Dome + Dome I know it's impossible without coming to some agreement with the 511 building. This is just a waste of time. Yet the deal is "close". Bull shit.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 08:26 AM by CSG Mike Highlight this comment 422

Rick, I'm in your boat on the tv issue. We have digital antennae and get plenty of local stations. No outlet for the Twins though. The only local team I can watch anymore is the Vikings and that's only because the NFL has it right on the broadcasting. Even when the team is on ESPN or NFL network one of the local channels gets to broadcast the game.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 08:29 AM by Stevie B Highlight this comment 423

One thought about Mondale being Dayton's representative... Doesn't he have a extra interest in it happening at the Dome? If it goes anywhere else he probably loses his job on the MSFC.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 08:31 AM by CSG Mike Highlight this comment 424

you keep saying you CAN'T see the Twins on TV. Yes you can, but you choose not to.

Vikeologist - some people, believe it or not, are compelled to operate within the confines of this thing we call a "budget." The minimum DirectTV or cable fee required for FSN may not be much to you, especially given your professed passion for watching sports on TV. Others may not have the means in the context of other obligations (kids, spouse, kids, food, kids), or they may find interests in things peripheral to the TV. (I know, what a concept, huh!)

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 08:54 AM by Expectorate Highlight this comment 425

Have the Twins benefitted financial in anyway from the all out switch to FSN. I have heard the Twins TV contract is up for discussion in a few years, but I never heard any rumblings of the current contract being reworked because of this move last year. Does anyone have any information on this?

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 09:06 AM by Jeff Highlight this comment 426

No offense to rick or any of the other amateur engineers on this site. But I don't think any of us are qualified to make statements like it is impossible to put it there. Not that I think that will be the final site but there was a time when I said no way that Target field could fit where it is. And it fits. Until we saw a plan of exactly how they would design it to use the space pretty much everyone is talking out their ass. Including Mondale.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 09:23 AM by moda Highlight this comment 427

Jeff-
Click the link in my name. That's what we know about the tv contract. They just signed a new one recently. It "may" last for 10 years. It "may" have an out like some other teams have. Doesn't seem like they are telling.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 09:23 AM by AJ Highlight this comment 428

moda,

It's a good point. I went over my commentary from back in the day about the TF site, and saw that even I was skeptical about it at first.

The difference is that I immediately saw the value in trying to make it fit there. It was a limited plot of land, but in the perfect spot.

Not only is the Dome site not the perfect spot, but you've got all sorts of directions you could spread if you really wanted to, so why cram your stadium into some weird, distant corner? In fact, once you've decided to move streets around and displace existing businesses, you've got a dozen different configurations right there which are better -- less costly and contentious -- than the one they appear to be working on.

And I remain wholly skeptical that you can put anything as extensive as Mondale has been describing into the space left over after building a new stadium -- nor do I think you would want any of those things there.

But the real absurdity is the idea that anybody would advocate for the wrong site or configuration just to save a few bucks during construction. Crazier things have happened, of course, but in a billion dollar project, $50M is chump change. So it's completely crazy to decide your new stadium site because you need to work around a building that you're going to tear down anyway -- unless that's how you would have done it if that building weren't there.

We all know that the right way to site a stadium is to look at your city as a blank canvas and ask, "Where's the right place to put it?" Then, once you've done that, you look at the plot of land you've selected as its own blank slate and ask, "How should we build on this land to best utilize it?"

That's how you make a smart 30-year decision.

That's not what's going on here. Not by a long shot. (CSG Mike has his finger on the real reason we're even talking about this site: the MSFC.)

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 09:45 AM by Rick 429

Why should someone be forced to get cable or dish to watch a ballgame at great expense for something that was supposed to be a huge public asset. Remember that was the reason for the stadium we cant afford to lose such A big public asset. Problem is some people who are paying for the stadium just can afford to see A game how fair is that.

Is A sunday game on regular televsion that much of A hurt to the Twins pocketbook that they cant do it anymore just curious.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 10:06 AM by Leroy Highlight this comment 430

Vikeologist,

You are correct, of course, that it is my choice not to submit to the extortion being perpetrated by the Twins and Fox. It is my choice not to sign a two-year contract with DirecTV and pay over $1100 to watch two years of Twins games on TV.

Frankly, I could probably afford that, but I try not to make foolish decisions with my money. (That's not a criticism. What is foolish to me may not be to you. I make no judgements. I spend money on a whole lot of things that you might think are foolish.)

Here's why:

The step-up cost between the package without FSN and the one with FSN is $5 per month. (It's the same or close to that across the pay TV providers.) That step-up charge covers the addition of 11 channels. That means that the Twins are being paid something less than $5 per subscriber. So, of my $34.99 per month (not including applicable taxes, after rebate, for the first 12 months only, with a signed two-year contract, $20 per month penalty for early termination of the contract, must fill out all applicable rebate forms online, the rebate may be less or delayed if not submitted before installation takes place, there may be additional charges for HD service or DVR equipment, not all channels are offered in HD, consult the programming guide for more information, non-activation charge of $150 per receiver may apply), about $30 goes toward programming I do not want and will not watch.

Give me just Twins games for $5 a month, and I'm so there.

Why am I mad at the Twins about this? Because I will not be bludgeoned into paying an exorbitant amount of money for something that I don't want. Simple.

Fox is using the Twins the same way the RIAA and MPAA are using lawsuits and lobbyists: to try and prop up a dying business model. And the Twins have decided to become a party to it.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 10:23 AM by Rick 431

Whoa, what happened to the counter? What happens in 3,239 days?

Thanks for the comment Rick. I have wondered all along why it hasn't been talked about more. I think it's time to get rid of MSFC and do the idea of getting all the facilities under one management. What was that called again? MAC?

Especially if the Vikings stadium rolls up the Target Center reno and if the bonding bill pays for a new Saints stadium... Get it all done and under one roof.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 10:25 AM by CSG Mike Highlight this comment 432

Vikeologist,

I'm using Firefox without problem. I did just notice a script problem with the countdown clock and have disabled it temporarily. That may have been causing your issue. If it's still happening, let me know and I'll dig further.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 10:26 AM by Rick 433

I've attached a photo taken shortly after the end of the 2005 season, the Cardinals' last one at Busch Stadium II. Busch Stadium III opened in April of 2006. You can see the new one is only partially finished. Somehow, they knocked down the old one and completed the new one in time for the next season.

I don't favor the Metrodome site, although I'll still take it over the team moving, but figure this is the model the Vikes want to utilize. The bigger problem is the Minneapolis city council can't be remotely relied on to get behind this and there's no workable financing plan. This is another case of the Vikes chasing what they want instead of facing up to what they can actually get.

The money paid for that pricing tier goes to Fox, not the Twins. The team is absolutely making less than $5 per subscriber. ESPN makes $4.69 per subscriber and that's quite a bit more than you'll see a regional sports net. I don't know what the current per subscriber fee is, but when the Victory Sports One fiasco happened in 2004, VS1 wanted about $2.25 per subscriber while FSN was only charging $1.70 at the time. That was the key to the dispute and why VS1 couldn't get significant clearance.

I wouldn't expect to see the Twins on over the air TV again anytime soon. With the explosion in local cable rights fees, the likes of FSN aren't willing to pay so much for inventory and then send it to another channel as it did with My29. Based on deals garnered by other teams, the Twins will be looking for a 20 year deal worth about $1,000,000,000 from FSN when the next round of negotiations comes up. FSN will then try to raise its per subscriber fees, but not to anything like what ESPN gets. That's not a political possibility. Also not a political possibility? A la carte cable and satellite packages. Too many interests are aligned against that.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 10:44 AM by Jorge Highlight this comment 434

I should have noted that not only is the team not getting $5 per subscriber, but neither is FSN.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 10:46 AM by Jorge Highlight this comment 435

Jorge,

Good information!

And I didn't mean to imply that the Twins get all of that $5. What I meant to imply is that I personally would happily pay $5 a month directly to the team to get access to their games on TV -- which would make them a whole lot more money.

You've outlined some of the reasons why no change is likely. There are others, not the least of which is that, while the Twins tried to play that game and lost (Victory Sports), the Yankees and Red Sox tried to play that game and won. That led to the monster deals that the Rangers and Angels just signed.

And that's why you'll never see the commissioner of baseball become an advocate for any of the reforms that might solve this issue for the average baseball fan/TV viewer -- despite the fact that competitive balance is very much in play here.

I know that, with this much money in play, nothing is likely to change for people like me.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 11:18 AM by Rick 436

I meant to mention that it's the on-demand services which are the wild card here, and genuinely represent a threat to the cable/satellite hegemony (which is what I meant by the RIAA/MPAA reference). There will come a moment when Hulu or Netflix will be able to become competitive with what cable companies are willing to pay sports teams.

I can't wait for that moment!

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 11:25 AM by Rick 437

Also, I meant to mention that in St. Louis and Cincinnati (where they tore down part of one stadium while building another), the sites were quite different from the Metrodome.

In each case, they had a viable location (the right place within the city to put the new facility), and no real reason to favor one corner of the site over another. They also had plenty of elbow room to work with, so that relocation of the team for even a short time was not an issue.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 11:28 AM by Rick 438

It was still a low-rent thing for the Twins to do, IMHO. As I've said, it's not a stunt they would have pulled when they had their hands out. And, if they want to be like the Red Sox, Texas, Yankees, etc. one other thing to try would be fielding a more competitive team rather than squeezing their fans.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 11:29 AM by Ben Highlight this comment 439

The countdown is hereby restored to wholeness.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 11:34 AM by Rick 440

Agreed, Ben.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 11:35 AM by Rick 441

I too agree about the MSFC. It is just another level of self serving bureaucracy that is no long needed. Also the only reason Ted Mondale has his job is his last name. Another example of Dayton's never ending nepotism.

As for this site, if they improve the infrastructure around the dome, freeway ramps and such, this location would be better than the FM. That being said it still pales in compairison to Arden Hills when you look at a metro area map and say where is the right place to put it. At least at this site there would be some surface parking, the FM would elmiate it almost completely.

Rick you talk about the location of Target Field being perfect for it. Is that because, as a baseball fan, you wanted an Urban setting for a ballpark? I recall the one post you had complaining about how Philly's and to an extent Baltimore's stadiums appear to be in a dense area but actually are not.

Well from a football fan's perspective Arden Hills is the perfect place for the football stadium.

I guess what I am asking is if you have never gone to a game, and don't plan on it, why do you really care where the stadium goes?

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 11:49 AM by Duffman Highlight this comment 442

Where did Rick say that he cares? Discussing the politics involved and giving a RA about ultimate siting are two VERY different things.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 12:02 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 443

Well from a football fan's perspective Arden Hills is the perfect place for the football stadium.

No, from your perspective AH is the perfect place. Not all football fans want it there, myself included.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 12:21 PM by Expectorate Highlight this comment 444

I also agree that AH is the better location from this fan's perspective....but I really don't care where it gets built, just as long as it gets built.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 12:39 PM by Fred Highlight this comment 445

As a football fan who loves tailgating I have to say that IMO there is no real reason besides tailgating or something personal (like live near AH, etc) for a "football fan" to prefer AH over any other location. I suppose you could put "Vikings HOF" on to that list as space concerns downtown could limit some of those options. But if you primary concern is to have a state of the art stadium to enjoy watching your fave team play in then any of the locations is going to fit the bill.

And if you are someone who prefers getting to the game by LRT/Northstar, or who likes options for parking, or who prefers to tailgate at a sportsbar or restaurant then you'll prefer a city location.

As Expectorate notes, there is no universal football fan's ideal stadium besides one that exists and keeps the team in MN.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 1:05 PM by GoAUpher Highlight this comment 446

"I have to say that IMO there is no real reason besides tailgating ... for a "football fan" to prefer AH over any other location"

---I agree and that's why I would prefer AH, because I enjoy the tailgating aspect as part of the overall experience. I've been to many NFL football games across the country and my two favorite game day experiences are Lambeau Field and Arrowhead Stadium....and building a downtown stadium will not allow us to have a similar feel. Just as urban ballparks like Ebbetts Field was a model for many MLB teams, I think Lambeau and Arrowhead should be a model for the NFL.

Like I said, I prefer AH, but if it's downtown - I can live with it.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 1:37 PM by Fred Highlight this comment 447

I only have time for a quick response right now, but it's interesting to me that "gameday experience" always seems to be code for "tailgating", which seems to be code for "partying", which seems to be code for "drinking". Is that really why people dream about AH? Because it's a good place to drink?

And apparently no one knows that there is a whole bunch of tailgating which goes on before every single Twins home game very near the stadium -- some of it at the actual Farmer's Market!

In other words, I cannot fathom why "tailgating" has to be code for "big parking lot", which is then code for "suburbs".

People will find a way to tailgate no matter where the Vikings end up -- even if the Vikings don't give a rat's ass about it (which it appears they don't unless they can get paid -- and handsomely -- for facilitating it).

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 2:08 PM by Rick 448

As someone who gave up drinking about 20 years ago, I take a little umbrage that you think the only reason fans like to tailgate is so they can get lit up drunk....actually, when I speak of the tailgating "experience", I'm talking about setting up the grill, throwing a football and hanging out with family and friends. It's a great way for family, friends, and fans to meet up before the game and socialize without having to crowd into a bar and try and find a table to sit at. $25 - $40 for tailgating is chump change compared to what you pay at Champs or Huberts or wherever.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 2:22 PM by Fred Highlight this comment 449

Rick~
I can only share that in my experience it isn't universal. Quick backstory disclaimer: All of my current tailgating happens before Gopher football because I live in Madison, WI and a Saturday game is much easier for me to attend/tailgate for then a Vikings game is. Plus, I hate the Dome and vowed never to return there once the Gophers and Twins left. Once the Vikings have a new stadium I'll definitely catch some games and tailgate if I can. I "tailgate" before Twins games at various downtown sportsbars.

...but it's interesting to me that "gameday experience" always seems to be code for "tailgating", which seems to be code for "partying", which seems to be code for "drinking". Is that really why people dream about AH? Because it's a good place to drink?

While this may be true for lots of folks, I think that sort of characterization generalizes tailgaters as folks who want to be drunk. I'd say "drinking" is a huge part of tailgating, but that "drinking" doesn't automatically equal "wasted/binge drinking/etc". The folks who get wasted tailgating would likely get just as wasted at a downtown bar before the game. The rest of us will eat or drink at a tailgate the same we would elsewhere, though the ability to do so more inexpensively can make it easier to stuff yourself with both brats and libations.

Basically, in my experience the joy of tailgating is that you can 1) be outside when it's nice (and have "war stories" to share when it isn't), 2) eat and drink good food/beer for less then it would cost at a bar, 3) hang out with a large group of friends/family easily, 4) have space to do other things like play bags or throw a football. Tailgating also has the effect of extending the gameday experience out into the whole day (something that isn't practical to do cost wise at a bar typically). This is especially enjoyable on a crisp fall afternoon IMO.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 2:27 PM by GoAUpher Highlight this comment 450

Geez Rick --- even I write "RA" instead of "rat's ass". :-)

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 2:27 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 451

Fred,

I apologize for the offense. It was not intended. Thanks for adding a dimension to the "gameday experience" argument.

I still don't think it follows, however, that only a large suburban parking lot will work for such an experience. And I think the amount the Vikings would charge you to party in such a lot might make you want to take a second look at the restaurant experience.

Right now I'm wondering why I'm expending any energy talking about AH again. They stopped CPR on that plan months ago (despite the media chatter -- which is just that: chatter).

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 2:28 PM by Rick 452

Does anybody else remember the movie "Reanimator"? That's AH.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 2:30 PM by Rick 453

In the end, I don't think tailgating alone is a good reason to pick a site for a stadium. While I find it to be immensely enjoyable, I know that many others don't care. Also, I don't think a state/local contribution of approx $600 million dollars should use "fan's ability to tailgate" as the primary deciding factor in that spending decision. That's why I'll support any site that gets a stadium built.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 2:32 PM by GoAUpher Highlight this comment 454

I think the "large suburban parking lot " is preferred because you can fit more fans into a single area...more festive. If you've ever been to Lambeau or Arrowhead, you would probably know what I'm talking aobut.

I agree, though, that AH is probably D.O.A. I was just agreeing with someone else who would've preferred a suburban stadium over a downtown one....I'm sure it will be downtown and I'm sure it will be state of the art.

On a different note....since it will be a Domed stadium, any chance that the roof could be completely see through (ie "glass")? If we can't have an open air, the next best thing would be to at least SEE the sky.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 2:37 PM by Fred Highlight this comment 455

Yes a lot of times tailgating involves drinking, but it's more than just drinking.

Its getting your buddies or family together, firing up the grill, cooking some good food, chips, salsa, dips, etc. Throwing a football around the parking lot, playing bean bag toss, etc. Talking about the current season and especially the upcoming game in a few hours.

The reason a lot of fans want a big parking lot because of the fun it brings. It's more fun and just adds to the experience when there is a huge parking lot full of your own fans, the smell of food cooking everywhere, and everyone just having a good time.

I know tailgating can be done anywhere, but the smaller the lot, the less fans, and the overall experience just isn't the same. I understand tailgating isn't for everyone, I'm not saying it is, but tailgating on a few surface lots scattered around downtown, just isn't fun.

Hell a few years ago before Target Field, the official tailgating lot was at Rapid Park. Vikings fans would tailgate there, then take a bus to the Metrodome for the game.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 2:39 PM by Vikeologist Highlight this comment 456

I still don't think it follows, however, that only a large suburban parking lot will work for such an experience. And I think the amount the Vikings would charge you to party in such a lot might make you want to take a second look at the restaurant experience.

I agree, but it's worth noting that for many folks, that's the scenario that comes to mind when they think of tailgating.

Again, speaking from my own personal experience I can say that all the Gopher fans I knew were very upset when the U instituted yearly donation levels that made tailgating on the East Bank near TCF very expensive. However, my group took the time to think hard about our other options and we now have a lot on the West Bank that WE LOVE tailgating in. The "Gopher" experience isn't totally translatable though because the West Bank lots don't feel super urban and allow you to take a great walk through campus on the way to the game. Scattered tailgating downtown.

Had you told me before TCF was built what would be coming I probably would have put up a stink based on my idealized vision of tailgating on campus. I think that's what we're all seeing a lot of now.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 2:40 PM by GoAUpher Highlight this comment 457

The reason a lot of fans want a big parking lot because of the fun it brings. It's more fun and just adds to the experience when there is a huge parking lot full of your own fans, the smell of food cooking everywhere, and everyone just having a good time.

I know tailgating can be done anywhere, but the smaller the lot, the less fans, and the overall experience just isn't the same. I understand tailgating isn't for everyone, I'm not saying it is, but tailgating on a few surface lots scattered around downtown, just isn't fun.

Personally, I disagree with this sentiment. I would have agreed before 2009, but my subsequent 3 seasons of tailgating in a small lot (click link for Google map of the one I'm talking about) has changed my mind. I don't have anything against larger lots, I've just come to appreciate that a smaller lot can be just as enjoyable. The size of the lot doesn't change my friends, the food, the weather, etc.

Now, to be fair part of this is due to the fact that the U sells spots in the lots as part of your STH package. Which means in addition to "my group" I can still count on seeing the same groups of folks near me because it's not a first come first served parking situation. But IMO it's more about the people you're with then the size of the lot. I don't expect that to be universal though, as I'm sure others feed of the energy of the lot more than I do.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 2:45 PM by GoAUpher Highlight this comment 458

Wow rick I have to say it's pretty lame to make a deduction that tailgating = drinking. I mean that is really a ridiculous statement to make and deduce it to that just to make a point. Tailgating is NOT just about drinking. It is arguably more about spending time together as a group of fans. It is about cooking out and the lead up to the game. It's about thousands of people getting together and having a good time 8-10 weeks out of the year. And yes people drink beer which as I recall prohibition ended in this country quite a while back and it is widely accepted. The notion that anyone that tailgates is so blasted and drunk that they can't walk is a joke. It's a statement that people use to get their pointed opinion across. The fact of the matter is that I don't think there is a disproportionate amount of people that get drunk solely because of tailgating. those people that need to get drunk will do so at a bar even if there is no tailgating. There are alcoholics that live among us. Alert the news media. Hell I've seen drunks and puke and lewd behavior at Target Field so it isn't something that is related to football and talgaiting only.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 3:58 PM by moda Highlight this comment 459

Breaking News: Sources: Vikings, state, Minneapolis have preliminary stadium deal

The preliminary agreement, according to multiple sources Friday, would have the Minnesota Vikings pay $427 million toward a $975 million stadium located at or adjacent to the Metrodome.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 5:20 PM by tk Highlight this comment 460

If they're going to build a stadium near the 'dome, why don't they build it just north of the 'dome? There are eight city blocks (looking at google.maps) with just a few buildings on them, they're mostly parking lots. Yea, we'd have to tear down a few buildings, and some companies would have to move - but that's going to happen just about anywhere they try to build. (except AH, for you folks still holding out for that!)

(click the linky, I hope google maps gets you to the right spot!)

Build a new stadium on those mostly empty blocks, keep the dome (downsize it by removing the upper deck), and use the dome for high school games, college games, trade shows, MLS for the round football, the 'official Viking's practice field', etc...

Trying to squeeze a new state of the art stadium south and east of the existing Metrodome will simply not work.

(The blocks I'm referring to are surrounded by Washington Ave, 5th Ave, 5th Street and Chicago Ave.)

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 5:53 PM by F_T_K Highlight this comment 461

Sorry I didn't mean to bring up the discussion of AH again, but when you say look at a map and find the best place, we'll that is it.

As for tailgating I am obviously for it, it definately make the game more fun. And I have said tailgating does not mean drinking, I can drink in a bar before a game but it is not the same.

Also if you are against tailgating are you against this stupid plaza idea? All that would be is a money grab by the Vikings, which so far is seems to be your reasoning against AH.

Let see would I rather pay $10 for parking 5 blocks from the stadium then walk to the stadium and then pay $5 a brat, $6.50 a pop or $8 for a beer then stand around before the game, or would it be nice to park in a big parking lot near the stadium for $30 bring all my food and drink of choice, sit, grill and have fun with friends and other fans?

They allow tailgating at Farmers Market before Twins Games? I was unaware, but I will probably start parking there after constructing a Twins cornhole(bags) set. And if that is the case, Twins games just got a lot cheaper.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 5:55 PM by Duffman Highlight this comment 462

I think the tailgating depends on the crowd attending the event. I remember tailgating at the Met before Vikings games and it was an awesome family atmosphere. During that same time period, I remember tailgating before Kicks games - that was a totally different experience!

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 6:47 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 463

Rick- I do not have cable or satellite, just an antenna on the roof, so I don't get to see any Twins games on tv either and it stinks. Kevin in AZ is right about tailgating at the Old Met. When I was in 11th grade at Edina-West just about our whole graduating class of 500 people would party before games in the California lot. Those were some fun times.

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 8:25 PM by Tom D. Highlight this comment 464

I'm catching up here...

Fred,

I think there would be issues with glare and the greenhouse effect if you had a clear roof -- not to mention maintenance and cleaning. The best you could probably do is what they have at the MOA amusement park.

Vikeologist,

I didn't know that people used to tailgate at Rapid Park. What a cool connection to Target Field -- to know that you used to cook burgers down there where Major Leaguers now play. (The elevation of the playing field is essentially identical to the old elevation of the parking lot.)

GoAUpher,

Your West Bank tailgating situation is instructive. It sounds like there is a "critical mass" component that some people are looking for, and that will have to be communicated to those who will make the decisions when the time comes. (There is lots of room in the North Loop. Finding space will not be a problem.)

moda,

I asked, "Is that really why people dream about AH? Because it's a good place to drink?" Some have answered that it is not. Fair enough. I've learned something.

But I didn't invent that particular method of decoding. Those who hold up the "gameday experience" as a central feature of their football stadium experience would be wise to consider how it is viewed by those making the decisions. Stories of drunken tailgaters are legion, and don't help the cause very much. (The descriptions above, on the other hand, very definitely DO help the cause. Gee, it's almost as if I thought that might happen...)

tk,

Thanks for mentioning the "news" story. It's all smoke and mirrors, however. As far as I can tell, there's nothing new and less-than-nothing solid about anything being discussed.

By now, one would think that everyone involved would realize that using the media in this way always backfires. (The Strib story has Bagley issuing a genuine denial, and one key legislator pissed that he heard about it first through the press. Ouch for those who thought this might work.)

F_T_K,

You're reading my mind. That's one of the many better configuration options if you've decided to use the Dome location and are willing to drop buildings and blow up streets. (Oh, and the Strib would totally love your idea...)

Tom D.,

I just spent a couple of hours in front of a TV with basic cable (which includes FSN). What a F-ing wasteland. I'm even more resolved now than ever to keep my money and try to figure out a way to put pressure on the Twins.

I'm thinking about some sort of rider in the Vikings stadium legislation that would require all local professional sports teams to provide a certain percentage of games on over-the-air channels (even as simulcasts) -- the equivalent of TV cheap seats.

Can you imagine if the Vikings moved all their games to cable? Then you would hear the roar of the antenna-only folks.

---

There. I think I'm caught up.

Posted on February 18, 2012 at 12:04 AM by Rick 465

Rick,

Here are some links to stories about tailgating at Rapid Park. Looks like it started around 2004. I tailgated there many times, the parking lot was fine, but the distance from the dome made it a pain in the ass.

http://min.scout.com/2/282276.html

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5303/5891487605_7c52b995bf_m.jpg

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5267/5891488453_0f78020533_m.jpg

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5023/5891489591_99a56ff42d_m.jpg

Posted on February 18, 2012 at 07:47 AM by Vikeologist Highlight this comment 466

Only one story, the others are just some pics of tailgating there, as you can see the HERC in the background of the last pic.

If this dome plan goes through, which it might not, I wonder how many lots Zygi can buy in the future to expand the area a bit? The stadium will obviously be where its built, but if he could buy some land around the area that would help a lot.

Plazas, Parking, etc... Just a thought

Posted on February 18, 2012 at 07:50 AM by Vikeologist Highlight this comment 467

Rick about 6 months ago I was just surfing the web and came across a soccer stadium that held about 25,000 fans somewhere in Europe that was going to face south and have a completely glass roof and was going to use a grass field. I'm not very computer savvy but I'm sure any of you guys on here could find it. It looked very cool.

Posted on February 18, 2012 at 08:23 AM by Tom D. Highlight this comment 468

"Owners of other private lots around the Metrodome were allowed to apply to the City of Minneapolis for a tailgating permit, but very few of them elected to do that --- "

Anyone wonder why?

Posted on February 18, 2012 at 10:34 AM by Ben Highlight this comment 469

I guess you could look at this current proposal as a compromise for tailgaters. In AH you had a tailgater's paradise, at the Farmers market, it punished tailgaters by having no easily accessible surface parking close to the stadium. This site has mixture, less than I or many tailgaters want, but still some.

To be fair I have not tailgated for a Vikings game since the Washington Ave. parking lots went away. When they were there I was too young to even want to drink. While I like to tailgate I don't want to have to get there 8 hours early to get a good spot.

I have recently tailgated at Auburn, UK, and Notre Dame games and it most definately adds to the football experience. I think most of the people here are letting their false assumptions and prejudices about tailgating weigh their opinions.

Posted on February 18, 2012 at 11:58 AM by Duffman Highlight this comment 470

" --- letting their false assumptions --- "

Assumptions are not necessarily false, especially not due to the simple fact that they are assumptions. Stereotypes do not evolve out of thin air either. While I am convinced that a great many tailgaters are out for the atmosphere, food, fellowship, etc. I am also quite certain that a relatively significant % of those who refer to themselves as tailgaters might also be referred to as drunken louts by those in better condition to make observations. Getting from 83rd and Cedar to the entrance of the Met (and back) was often an adventure and educational opportunity.

Posted on February 18, 2012 at 1:08 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 471

"at the Farmers market, it punished tailgaters by having no easily accessible surface parking close to the stadium"

This just isn't true. Opportunities abound already, and will only get better when there is another stadium there.

"I think most of the people here are letting their false assumptions and prejudices about tailgating weigh their opinions."

Speaking only for myself, I have absolutely no bias against tailgating (even if it was actually all about drinking). I'm quite convinced that it will be accommodated in the new stadium, no matter where it goes.

But I hope it helps to understand that the decision-making world out there does let such things affect what they do.

Posted on February 18, 2012 at 9:18 PM by Rick 472


This page was last modified on January 24, 2012.



"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."

– Bernie Williams

Explore the Site

Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3045 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.





This is where the plaza meets First Avenue












Here's an idea of what these Loge Boxes are all about. That guy is a waiter with no fans to serve. They seemed to have one server for about every four boxes.






Concept drawing for the fan/player appreciation wall. (Click to enlarge.)









Not from Moose's tour, but it's an image you need to see. (Click to enlarge greatly.)









Just to the right, more ticket machines. These things are everywhere.



More flowers, more pennants.






A little higher angle shows how the two stations are close to one another but distinctly separate. The oval, glass-enclosed area is the entrance from the Northstar platform below into the ballpark. The LRT platform is comparable to the other stations along that route.



Panels arriving on flatbed trailers in front of the Twins' dugout.



Nathan greeting the other pitchers on the all-Metrodome team (October 4, 2009)






This is one complicated streetscape.















The knothole (sans view of anything interesting)



They help create a psychological safe area along the plaza edge, and help you forget that cars are zipping by directly beneath you.



Looking through it, you can see the outfield pavilion (upper deck at least).



The electronic sign has been corrected (and never forget that ballpark is one word, not two)



Fencing is going up all along the plaza



I would put on this face.



Once again, Noah is holding his ears because of the traffic noise.



Solution for a hot night, just inside Gate 34 (that's a cool mist, by the way, not hot steam, which would be kind of cruel)



At TF, you never know when you may bump into a Pohlad



Photo by Jared Wieseler









Best view available from the "B" ramp.



This guy at the Puckett atrium chef stand caught me taking the picture and said I should stop back later because he was "just getting started." I still don't know what he meant.






Those two empty seats in the front row are where we started the game.



That's some scary-ass scaffolding, if you ask me.



Free views!



Here we are waiting for the first train to arrive at the station (Nov 14).



I'll admit that this makes me nervous. It's pretty easy to step into the path of a train (which is true at various points along the line, but still...)



I finally found the corner of TF dedicated to the Senators. What a wonderful sight.






Our host points to the Puckett Atrium on the diagram.



That's Jacque Jones looking up in awe at the Great Greenness.





Glossary

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
 


(1993)
 


First Edition (1992)
 


Second Edition (2006)
 


(2008)
 

Selected Bibliography - Surveys
 


(1975)
 


Second Edition (1987)
 


Not a "Third Edition" exactly,
but it replaced the above title
(2000)
 


(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
 


(1992)
 


Book and six ballpark miniatures
(2004)
 

Complete Bibliography

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