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 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
This is the Carew gate covered in plastic.
Click to enlarge. (Photo by Jared Wieseler)
The view from the corner of Ford Centre. (Feel free to tie up your boats here.)
Looking from near the entry doors toward the center, the atrium is just visible at the far right.
Staging for the next section (Home Plate Box)
The main concourse is a very busy place at all times.
No arches. No brick. No girders. Classic.
An ice cream salad cone -- er, Walk-a-Taco
Home Plate Box, Section 111, Row 8 or 9-ish (Click to enlarge greatly.)
Ready for action.
The wall of brands at General Mills headquarters in Golden Valley (Source: RP)
Detail enclosing the main ticket window area
This is what I was working on while my photo was taken (click to see a VERY BIG version).
A walkway begins to form (this is as close as you can get right now)
Bag checking at Ball Park Lanes was incredibly simple, as was the pick up later. The line was short and fast-moving.
They help create a psychological safe area along the plaza edge, and help you forget that cars are zipping by directly beneath you.
(Click to enlarge.)
Some details are visible here, like the back of an escalator.
Circulation ramps: Wrigley (classic, integrated) and Kauffman (modern, external)
This little pathway snakes between the LRT tracks and the Environmental Services Building, emptying into the parking area surrounding the HERC. It could be for maintenance, but it looks more like it's for convenience.
This is as close as I could get to a pedestrian-eye view of the main entrance. This is what you'll see as you enter by coming down Sixth Street.
The Northstar station at night
The Metrodome hot dog vendor. (Source: RP)
Dan Kenney provided this alternate shot of a walkway behind the view level
Having fun. Installing limestone. Good gig.
Spring of 1982 (click to enlarge greatly -- can you pick out Kent Hrbek?)