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.
Secret entrance exposed!
A view into the park down Sixth Street from just beyond Hennepin. Note that one side of the street contains century-old, classic buildings -- structures which are likely to last another century or more. The other side, not so much. (Click the image to see what it looked like from exactly the same spot 97 years ago.)
As mentioned earlier, one of the best climate-controlled views of construction is from the 7th floor elevator lobby in the A ramp. (That's Noah getting his first glimpse of the new ballpark.)
A cross section of the field construction. (Click to enlarge.)
If you want, you can ask those folks how the game is going -- and even get a little bit of info from the big screen (Grandstand)
Work has begun on the plaza, and the activity has started to impact I-394 traffic.
Handshakes all around (there's gonna be a lot of that over the next few weeks)
This is the HERC Premonade with railroad tracks snaking beneath. (I think this should be named the Halsey Hall Premonade. Seriously.)
The canopy as viewed through the outfield stands. The lighting approach, despite what you may have heard, is actually very traditional.
Ballpark elevation viewed from the promenade (HERC plant) side. (Click to enlarge.)
No griping here.
The Puckett Atrium
Earl Santee, principle architect for HOK Sport, presents some concepts while Mike Opat listens
Here's the field of posts which will support the third base side of the grandstand. Some walls have started to appear about where the Northstar riders will enter the park.
Just to the right, more ticket machines. These things are everywhere.
(Click to enlarge)
The Metropolitan Club (click to enlarge)
A close-up of the rooftop party deck.
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.
Catwalks provide access to the View Level seats (from the Ballpark Authority July update)
Who Owns What (Click for larger version. Source: Ballpark Authority)
OK, just how many servings per container?
A cold afternoon in 323, but we had our trusty Twins blanket -- made by my mom when Noah was born.
In the top of the 9th, the sun hit our backs and summer took one last long look.