Thursday, May 25, 2006

Links of the Day for 5/25/06

by Intern Snarky

The Twins stadium bill is expected to be signed Friday at the Metrodome. Is it just me or does this seem a little like using your girl/boyfriend's phone to ask someone else out?

On June 1st, a number of "Greet Machiners" are holding a New Ballpark Celebration at Summit Brewing. There will be free root beer for the kids and there will be a special guest appearance by TC bear! They had me at free beer.

The mood about the new ball park seems to be less than enthusiastic in the rest of the blogosphere. Recent postings by Frightwig, Maury Brown , John Brattain and Brian Broawski provide some evidence of this malcontent. Where's the contrarian bias when we need it?

Kelly Thesier wrote an article about how Torrii is abandoning his free-swinging ways this season. I, for one, am not getting my hopes up. This reminds me an awful lot of some talk last year about another free-swinger (Jacque Jones), and we know how that turned out.


Twins fan said...

The negativity @ Pohlad & Selig aren't surprising - they're rich guys, and if there's one thing that you can count on, it's that some people will be pissed when something good happens & a rich guy benefits.

As for the "spend it on schools, roads, etc. - things that matter" claptrap - please, spare me.

First, there is no amount of money which will ever be "enough" for them, so the idea that building a ballpark stands in the way of quality education, etc. is garbage. EVERYTHING stands in the way of quality eduction, etc. for those folks.

Second, stadium funding will not squeeze out "quality education, etc." funding - there's not a politician alive who's that stupid.

O.K., maybe there are some, but they don't add up to a majority in any legislative body in the U.S. ....

If anything gets squeezed by stadium funding - and that's a big "IF" - it will be the stuff at the other end of the budget. You know, the stuff that probably shouldn't be in the budget in the first place ... the stuff that's done because it enhance someone's re-election prospects first & foremost.

Finally, to those angry that a "bluff" has worked (p.s. that's an opinion, boys, not a 'fact' - we're not going to find out what would've happened if the stadium bill had been defeated):

The Twins are not championship contenders under the current economics & revenue stream. Ownership has demonstrated it wants to operate within its revenues & isn't going to carry a payroll in excess of what revenues will support.

Winning baseball is more fun to watch than either mediocre or lousy baseball (see, e.g., attendance figures). If the Twins are going to continue to exist, I daresay most Twins fans would like them to contend for championships. Given current ownership's philosophy, that requires an increase in revenues.

Maybe I missed it, but I can't recall those so aggravated about the stadium ever calling on the Dome Commission and/or the Vikings to give up some portion of the revenue stream in favor of the Twins.

Seems that would've been an alternative means - probably ultimately unworkable, but an alternative nevertheless - to address the revenue issues.

Instead, the attitude of so many of the critics seemed to be "No new stadium, no new revenues, let Pohlad sink his own money into making the team better - he has enough of it."

In short, they wanted something for nothing.

David Wintheiser said...

"Where's the contrarian bias when we need it?"

Much as I appreciate the shout-out, I don't think I can be much help here. First, because I can't really bend my brain enough to get behind a concept that I so publicly opposed for the past three years or so. Second, because I agree with a lot of those disappointed posts. I particularly agree with John Brattain's predictions, though partly it's because I've made similar predictions in Contrarian Bias over the past couple of years. The bellwether, of course, is the roof: the Twins appeared to abandon the retractable roof idea early on, and many stadium backers persisted in the belief that the Twins would be as good as their word that they'd be able to figure out how to get along without one. Yet one of the first Twins announcements following the Senate passage of the combined bill mentioned a "5% chance" that funding for a roof could in fact be found - a comment that was dutifully repeated by Dick and Bert during the next Twins telecast.

I do have one good thing to say about the deal, though - I hope the Twins are serious about their willingness to commit to a 30-year tenancy in the new ballpark, if only because that will become their longest tenancy in any facility they've played in here in Minnesota. (They played at Metropolitan Stadium for 21 seasons from 1961-1981, and will have played in the Metrodome for roughly 28 seasons, from 1982-2009, assuming the new park is completed on time.)

I've had some (largely) good-natured discussion and debate with folks about the stadium over the past few years, most notably Shane at the Greet Machine and TT.commer freealonzo, and I'm happy for them that their dream has finally come true. I just can't get all that excited about it myself. One person I do feel sorry for, though, is Mike Opat - as the designated negotiator between the Twins and the county on the stadium deal, I'm not sure he realizes that the next three years waiting for the ballpark to actually be built are going to see a lot more hardball negotiation than anything that was agreed to back in January of 2005. By the time the ballpark finally opens, I expect Opat to feel a lot like Lando Calrissian in "The Empire Strikes Back".

Finally, as to where Contrarian Bias itself went - well, that's not so funny a story. As an example of the sort of stuff I've been dealing with, I got mugged back in December. The culprits got away with only three bucks in cash, but they left me with a fairly serious head injury and a passel of hospital bills. (On the bright side, since I have no memory of the actual event itself, I haven't been bothered by nightmares of it as some other folks who've been through similar situations have - though because the culprits were also at least smart enough to avoid using my debit card, there's pretty much zero chance of them ever being caught.)

That's just one of the things I've been dealing with of late, and I wouldn't even call it the worst - though to spare you a long litany of self-piteous whining, I'll keep the rest of my troubles to myself, thanks.

I'll just take one more chance to give a shout-out to John Bonnes, who always seemed to enjoy my posts in his Strib web column and on even when other folks didn't seem to much care for what I had to say. He was invariably encouraging and supportive, and I appreciated it then and even more in retrospect now.

Thanks for the ride, folks. Take care and have fun.

David Wintheiser