Wither, Rapid Park
February 26, 2007 1:07 PM
Ah, Rapid Park, we hardly knew ye.
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.
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This page was last modified on January 21, 2010.
"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.
The Metropolitan Club (click to enlarge)
A distinct misstep, ostensibly to guard against missteps. But methinks I smell a lawyer...
A walkway begins to form (this is as close as you can get right now)
This is during halftime.
A seating bowl comes into focus. Note that the netting has been installed on the foul pole. (Field Box)
Loading docks to the right, VIP entrances to the left.
The east wall of the building looks like it will be the first part completed. These are probably supports for the plaza, and they hug the very edge of the site.
Some baseball legends (and Ron Coomer)
B ramp at left, ballpark at right (and visible far away through the tiny crack)
Our host points to the Puckett Atrium on the diagram.
The gate has grown a row of sponsorship
Section 101, Row 34
Footings for the Seventh Street walkway from the A ramp.
Ballark Authority members listen to the LEED introduction
Emergency access viewed in context
You write the caption...
Pile driving in progress
Bag checking at Ball Park Lanes was incredibly simple, as was the pick up later. The line was short and fast-moving.
Ballpark elevation viewed from Seventh Street. (Click to enlarge.)
This is where you will put out your butts -- I mean enjoy some pretty flowers.
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.
Auxiliary scoreboard (note to TF principles: this is a very good idea)
Viewed from an A ramp elevator lobby.
At left, across the tracks by that pile of dirt is where the Northstar commuter train platform will be built, and where Twins fans will apparently NOT be able to get a train after night games. (For reference, that's the Fifth Street bridge, with the ballpark site just beyond it. The east corner of Ford Centre is just visible at the right edge of the picture.)
I meant to include this shot the other day. It's the new LRT bridge being built next to the remaining half of the Fifth Street bridge. The new half is almost TWICE the width of the portion torn down. And the other end runs right into a HERC administration building! (Click to see the view from nearly the same spot about 85 years ago.)
Looking northeast from the ballpark site (Source: LP)
The right field foul pole seen against a backdrop of Butler Square (itself a site of great significance in the history of professional baseball in Minneapolis)
Work in progress.
The right field overhang is in place, and the first base stands are starting to go in.
The model still shows the Batters Eye Club, which is no longer part of the design.
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...)
The pouring is taking place at the very bottom of this photo.
Yes, TC is smiling.
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
First Edition (1992)
Second Edition (2006)
Selected Bibliography - Surveys
Second Edition (1987)
Not a "Third Edition" exactly,
but it replaced the above title
(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
Book and six ballpark miniatures