Admittedly, the body is not yet cold, but there's a definite stench. This deal has gone sour faster and deeper than anyone probably could have imagined back in those halcyon bill-passing and signing days of just last May. Who would've guessed that, not even two months into the new tax, everything would be this close to going bust?
I'm starting to collect and document ideas for new ballpark sites -- assuming the Twins will eventually have to slink back to the Legislature. There are plenty of ideas, many of which are better than anything we ever heard during the years of debate. I'll get around to those in the next few days.
Meanwhile, let's consider how this all will end: in court, of course.
Representatives from Land Partners II have talked openly about their fear of being sued by some of their minority shareholders. They've said nothing, however, about the likelihood of being sued by someone else if the whole thing crumbles. Oh, there will be lawsuits. So, let's ponder for a moment just who may want to sue Land Partners II during the autopsy of this particular ballpark deal.
1. Hennepin County -- It's one thing to have a deal go bad, but quite another when you've invested months in engineering, EIS, site planning, and urban design based on good faith assumptions about your partners. I'm not sure what kind of documentation the county has, but I bet their lawyers can make a pretty good case for having LPII foot some of the bill for all of this work.
2. The Twins -- They may not have a dog in this ownership fight (at least technically), but they have already invested presumably millions in creating a design which is specific to that location. They were all ready to unveil their master plan when everything turned sour. If no stadium is built on the Rapid Park site, the team will have to discard almost everything -- even if a stadium is to be built somewhere else. Do you think they're just going to quietly eat those costs?
3. Metro Transit -- It's unclear how much they have spent, but planning any extension to the LRT can't be cheap. Though they'll probably want the extension someday anyway, they've been working under the assumption that everything (including changing the height of the bridge deck) was dependent on the ballpark. Without that, their plans will have to be scrapped. Who's going to pay for that?
4. Land Partners II Minority Shareholders -- They may want to sue no matter what happens. If they perceive that the sale price was too low, they can sue (the scenario currently being publicly dreaded). But if the deal doesn't happen at all, and their magical carriage ride to ballpark riches turns back into a parking pumpkin, they'll probably be pretty cranky about all the lost potential earnings. Realistically, without a stadium, the land probably will not be developed at all -- nor will any of the properties they own nearby. Who are they going to blame for that loss, and what will they do about it?
That's just a few to ponder. We probably should also mention the City of Minneapolis, the Met Council, Burlington Northern Railroad, MnDOT, the Ballpark Authority, Major League Baseball. the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, other landowners in the area, and who knows who else.
Maybe none of these parties has any basis for a lawsuit. After all, there's apparently nothing on paper anywhere. Everything was done based on assumptions and handshakes. But assumptions and handshakes have proven costly in other cases, and won't it be expensive for the LPII management to find out what a court thinks about it all? This should probably figure into their negotiations -- if they do decide to negotiate.
As fans of the Twins, and fans of ballparks in general, these could be the darkest days we've yet faced. The Metrodome is not a long-term option, which means that something else has to happen. Whenever I try to go through in my mind what that "something else" may be, I get the shivers. None of it looks good.
Last night I saw a clip on some crime show of the start of an autopsy during which the examiner discovered that the body (played by Ron Silver) was still -- just barely -- alive. It seemed like a laughably absurd premise, but it was riveting TV (for a couple of minutes, at least). Here's hoping this autopsy is likewise premature.
"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."
– Bernie Williams
Explore the Site
Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3037 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Sometime in the late 1980s: B ramp is under construction. Not yet built: Target Center, I-394 and the A ramp.
This is the trapezoid (for lack of a better name) in right center. Be sure to notice section of seats just below the pavilion and above the fence (which I hadn't noticed before). For those who are interested, what looks like an old-style scoreboard is in fact a high-def video board which will look, at times, like an old-fashioned scoreboard.
This view is from the roof of a warehouse which stood where the A ramp is today. The HERC is now located where the tracks turned north (toward the top).
Here's another view up Sixth Street toward where the plaza will meet First Avenue (it will hug Target Center all the way).
I suppose that one day my son will graduate from Mrs. Fields to Hooters. At least he won't have to travel too far. *Shudder*
(Click to enlarge.)
Go get 'em, boys!
The creative design of the admin building stands in stark contrast to the horribly pedestrian appearance of the LRT platform. This design looks like it came out of a public transportation manual.
Signage for the concession stand which is available from the plaza (plaques are up on the fencing)
...but you can get a feel for what it will be like.
Seventh Street circulation
Someone please get those poor people a drink of water. (Gate 34, after the game had started)
Yes, it's pretty tempting to just walk right in...
Here's the current overview from the south side of the B ramp (from which the banner at the top of this page was culled).
Poles through the gap
Click to enlarge. (Photo by Jared Wieseler)
A mini-freeway! (Police action in progress...)
I don't think this will remain a knothole, but the view is pretty cool.
These two sections are within a few feet of one another.
This looks from the base of the stairs, behind the big pillars, toward the street.
The gate has grown a row of sponsorship
Touring the Rapid Park site (L-R: Commissioners Wade, Vekich, Sykora, Cramer, and tour guide Chuck Ballentine, source: RP)
No offense, TC, but you're pointing exactly the wrong direction if you want people to use the ramp opening to your right...
Photo by Tyler Wycoff
A peek through a tiny gate.
From the TV camera platform -- the view you'll see on TV
Despite what those signs say, every one of these places was selling either snacks or Yankee memorabilia out of its front door. Do you suppose anything like this will spring up anywhere near the new Twins ballpark?
The circulation ramp on the north now has its louver framing.
A cold afternoon in 323, but we had our trusty Twins blanket -- made by my mom when Noah was born.
I had to hold the camera as far over my head as I could to get this shot, in which the infield is finally visible. It's a spot made for your average Timberwolves player.