Minnesota Twins update on potential contraction

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An update on the future of the Minnesota Twins and professional baseball in Minnesota.

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(00:00:00) With news from Minnesota Public Radio. I'm Greta Cunningham u.s. Customs agents this morning shut down too many apples businesses because they are on the Bush Administration list of suspected terrorist Associates 5, Minnesota entities, and one person are among those added to a White House list of those suspected of aiding Osama Bin Laden's Network to of the entities and the name Persinger are Jama share the same address on Riverside Avenue near the University of Minnesota campus, the Bush Administration list identifies the entities at that address as a Ron money wire service and Somali International relief organization signs of the building identify a business there as a mall Express Rochester Public Schools will see six point five million dollars in additional Revenue annually over the next six years after a close referendum vote Minnesota public radio's Laurel drooly reports Rochester voters passed the excess Levy proposal by just 185 votes out of about 24,000 votes cast last year Rochester voters turned down a For and I'm asking for a ten million dollars a year for 10 years after last year's referendum failed there were major budget cuts. They hit foreign languages the arts teacher planning time and support staff the hardest the school board return this year with a trimmed-down proposal turnout was higher than expected with about 40 percent of registered voters showing up at polls District officials will meet in the coming weeks to decide how to spend the money Laurel drooly Minnesota Public Radio Rochester is a chance of showers in Central and Southern Minnesota this afternoon high temperatures today will range from 45 in the north to 72 in the far south right now in Duluth. It's overcast and 39 in the Twin Cities Hayes with the temperature of 54 degrees. That's a news update. I'm Greta Cunningham six minutes past eleven (00:01:50) o'clock. (00:01:55) And good morning. Welcome to midday here on Minnesota Public Radio. I'm Gary eichten. Glad you could join us. Well after 41 years is a Minnesota institution two World Championships three World Series and three Hall of Famers. The Minnesota Twins may disappear faster than you can spell Doug men cabbage or maybe not Major League Baseball owners voted yesterday to eliminate two of its 30 teams before the start of play next spring. The specific franchises targeted for contraction have not been identified pending. What baseball commissioner Bud seelig says is the completion of negotiations with the clubs as well as the resolution of other details, but it is generally assumed that the two teams are Montreal and the Minnesota twins twins owner Carl polad would reportedly receive some 200 million dollars to shut down the team. However, as we said the two teams have not been publicly identified leading some twins supporters to our That the team might still be saved during this hour of. Midday. We are going to take a closer. Look at the Minnesota Twins story joining us. This hour is Star Tribune sportswriter in Minnesota public radio sports analyst J weiner J is the author of a book on past efforts to bring the twins to Minnesota and keep them here book titled Stadium games 50 years Big League greed and bush-league boondoggles. We will also be talking with several other folks involved in this story and in later this hour will be opening the phone lines for your questions and comments. So we hope you will be able to stay tuned Jay. Thanks for joining us this morning Major League Baseball has not identified which teams will actually be eliminated. Is it possible when all is said and done that the twins are not going to be one of the two that have been (00:03:39) targeted. I think that the answer is yes, although I believe that they are, you know, a top candidate commissioner Bud selig sit at his news conference yesterday that other owners really favored folding as many as four teams. Therefore there's there's a pool of other teams presumably the Miami Florida Marlins and the Tampa Bay team. And and so yeah, of course there is but I think it's I think it's fair to say that the Expos and the twins because they are at the bottom of the rung of teams to generate local revenues. And because the Twin Cities has refused to build a ballpark that all signs point to the (00:04:28) twins. Is it possible again, when all is said and done that Major League Baseball will back off and decide not to let eliminate any teams. (00:04:38) Well, the question of backing off really has to do with the process itself. Let's let's examine what really happened yesterday owners voted as part of the kickoff of their Collective talks with the players to fold two unnamed teams. The union clearly is going to weigh in on this. And in fact, I thought the statement yesterday made by a union president Union executive director. Donald fear was brilliantly crafted and if the players union is spending $100,000 for a big-time PR firm that PR firm earned their money last night because they really appeal to fans in the statement and and and I you know the opening Salvo in the pr campaign about the players owners New Deal occurred last night as part of this contraction. So will the owners back down my question is how hard will the union fight Not to retain necessarily the 50 or 80 jobs depending on how big the big league rosters are considered 25 or 40 players will the union fight to retain the teams and I think there's a big difference. It's clearly in the Union's interested to save jobs it may or not be and be in the Union's interest to save the teams. And so I believe that contraction will ultimately become one of the bargaining issues. It has just become one at the table for a new Union contract. And as we all know anything can happen there then of course, there are those who are holding out hope that somehow the Twin Cities and the state would respond somehow instantly to build a ballpark and that somehow would change things as well. I think that the political winds aren't there, but for those folks out there Skeptics who thought that this this is one final quote unquote ploy to get a Stadium built. Even though I think that it's in my view that you know, that's not going to happen certainly in the news papers today Stadium boosters are saying we have one more chance. So it has de facto turned into a stadium issue which again perhaps would allow the the owners to back out and I think the answer is yes, they can change their mind and the other answers is going to take forever. I mean, we know that over the last I believe it is 19 years there have been seven work stoppages strikes lockouts during spring training or during the season and the collective bargaining agreement generally doesn't come, you know to ahead until spring training starts. Well that puts us in a March and I find it hard to believe that they'd be able to kill two teams on March 15th, but you know, they can do whatever they want. (00:07:27) One other question for you Jay if Carl polad decided that he didn't want to sell the team to Major League Baseball and put up a scrap against having a Winds eliminated would that make any difference or could the Major League Baseball owners? The other ones just go ahead and do it. Anyway (00:07:45) now I have heard and read that in the case of Montreal. Anyway, the the owner has been told that the other owners can do what what they want. And so I think probably technically the answer is baseball's owners could could fold the team without the willingness of the individual owner of the team. I just don't think practically that would happen, you know, and and so the that's that's my view but you'd probably have to have somebody who's an expert on the on the way that the league by laws are set up to say for sure. (00:08:25) Jay weiner is with us Star Tribune sports Rider Minnesota public radio sports analyst and author of the book Stadium games that followed and sports facilities commission, which operates the Metrodome has gone to court to try to make sure that the twins At least one more season in Minnesota. They have asked the Hennepin County District Court to issue an immediate permanent injunction designed to prevent the team from being eliminated commission argues that the twins have an agreement to play in the dome next season an attorney for the twins those as the team would be under no obligation to play next year. If in fact Major League Baseball decides to eliminate the team well joining us now to talk about that aspect of the story is the executive director of the sports facilities commission Bill Lester morning Bill morning, Gary. How you doing? Just fine. Are you folks essentially tilting at windmills here just trying to to set up a few roadblocks to make the process more difficult or do you think you have a solid legal case? (00:09:21) We think we have a solid legal case. We think we have an enforceable contract that requires the twins to perform the obligations of that contract and that is to play all 81 games plus any playoff games in the Metrodome during the 2002 season that contract was Executed on October 1st of this year so barely a month ago. And we believe that we have a very strong case to keep the team here. Of course, the objective is still not only through the 2002 season, but this team is such an important asset to the state of Minnesota. We intend to exhaust any and every possibility to ensure that they're here for the long-term forever because there's such an important integral part of this (00:10:05) community the terms of the agreement the lease agreement seems certainly suggests that the twins couldn't go up and they'll often play their games in Omaha, but how can they be expected to play in the Metrodome if they don't (00:10:19) exist the that's very good. If they don't exist, they won't be playing there. But unlike a contract that just provides a damages provision if you and I have a contract to me for you to make mm widgets a year and you fail on the contract and the money exchanges hands and it's over this contract. As language about specifically performing the obligations and enjoying the Major League Baseball as well not to torturously interfere with a contract that exists between the commission and its tenant the twins. So we think we have a very strong case and we intend to pursue it vigorously that hearing by the way, is it 1:30 tomorrow afternoon before judge Diana Egan in Hennepin County District (00:11:02) Court Bill. I know the commission is held what are called listening sessions around the state to try to measure minnesotans support for a new ballpark for the Twins. And as I understand it you found a fair amount of support yet. All the polls seem to indicate that people are not willing to spend any public money on a new ballpark for the Minnesota Twins. There doesn't appear to be any political leadership for such an effort. How do you square those those two findings as it (00:11:32) were? Yeah. That's an excellent question. We went to over 20 cities talk to Mm a couple thousand minnesotans throughout every the far reaches of the state in there. These are ordinary citizens plus local leaders from all sectors government business religion and all of the overwhelming consensus was this is an important asset people do bulk at and will not support some new tax that goes to build a palace for team that enriches ownership that clearly especially in this state is not ever going to happen some a modest privately financed largely privately financed Stadium ballpark that also has a component of a public investment that is some public money that goes into it and you get some kind of a return on be it a financial return partially but also the use of that facility for other efforts for amateur baseball in high school championships. Um, Those kinds of things where you demonstrate a return for the community clearly resonated with the people that we spoke to in the people that have visited our website at msfc.com. And we think that the elements are components for our solution are out there. Now that being said it's important to note that new ballpark in and out of itself is not a Panacea. It will increase the twins abilities to raise the greater revenues and thereby someone increase their ability to feel a higher payroll or better team but it does nothing to address the competitive imbalance that exists in Major League Baseball the real way to do that. If you want to get at that imbalances to contract the Yankees and the Dodgers and of course, that's not going to happen. You are still going to have teams that perform poorly on the field and draw few fans and they're in the brand new ballpark Detroit is an example of a Team that did that Pittsburgh is an example of a team that did that high payroll low attendance. So there's no Panacea here, but I but in the Commissioners remarks yesterday, he clearly left some hope that if you could put together some kind of a deal here that that involved a new ballpark in the commission has supported for over a year the construction of a new ballpark for the Twins and outdoor one was a able to the capacity of adding a roof some later date that there might be some opportunities here to do this. (00:14:14) Thank you, sir. Appreciate you joining us sure. My pleasure molester who is executive director of the Metropolitan sports facilities commission. If you're just joining us this hour. Midday, we are focusing on the Minnesota Twins the future of the Minnesota Twins and Major League Baseball in the state of Minnesota Major League Baseball owners voted yesterday to eliminate two of the 30 teams that play Major League. Ball the owners however have not identified which two teams they would be presumably however, one of those teams would be the Minnesota Twins Minneapolis attorney former US Senate candidate and possible gubernatorial candidate. Michael Cera see is part of a group of Business Leaders trying to put together a bid to buy the twins from Carl polad and he joins us now morning. Mr. Suri see, good morning Gary. Is there any evidence? First of all at Carl polad is willing to sell the team to anybody other than his fellow Major League Baseball (00:15:08) owners. Well, if you look in the past he has been willing to sell in the past and I think that the action of Major League Baseball has really accelerated the decision-making process for everyone and I think that guess he's going to have to look at either a sale or maybe a sale of a part of the club (00:15:28) but sealing the baseball commissioner said yesterday that really new ownership just won't make any difference unless these low Revenue teams like the twins can In a way to make to generate more revenue and presumably that would mean a new ballpark. Would you agree with the commissioner? (00:15:46) Well, I think there's a number of things your you've mentioned one. And that is the ownership of the team itself. And then of course, there's baseball economics itself. And the third thing is a new stadium here in Minnesota. I don't think is any question but that we need a baseball stadium anyone who looks at it objectively, I think would support the fact that we do need a baseball stadium question is how to finance it. I think that when you look at what the commissioner says, you have to look at baseball economics the Arizona Diamondbacks just won the World Series there was a large article concerning their financial woes in the USA Today couple days ago because of the large amounts of money that they had spent deferred player salaries Etc. You look back over the last five years and you see only a very Market teams or those with a very high payroll making it what does that say? Put the competitiveness of baseball in a long term scale. So I think that baseball itself has to take a look at its own house. That's absolutely essential and I think they're going to start seeing a realization of that but we in Minnesota must find a way to get a Stadium built. I think that's essential. I've noticed the three C's of Jay weiner With The Star Tribune and NPR quick question. Well, bud seelig says that new ownership won't change anything. What's your assessment of the political equation here in the state if Mike's receive ants Offerman Glen Taylor come together and say you want to somehow by the team. Does that alter the political winds or is it just three more Rich guys who want to Stadium? Well, let's first of all, I don't think it serves any any useful purpose to say that, you know, I'm not going to help out billionaires. To pay baseball players that make millions. I mean that's not solving the problem. I think that Jay if you take a look at broad-based ownership regardless of the names, I think that that will help the situation politically the broader base ownership. You have the more you have the ability to communicate with all of the players that need to be involved in this and it has to be on the state level the local level. It has to be not just Minneapolis or not just st. Paul. We need a broader based approach to this in one that is very vigorous to get this done. Otherwise, we won't have major league baseball and I agree with what Bill Lester was saying. We've got a lot of issues here in Minnesota affordable housing Transportation Healthcare education, Major League Baseball or Major League Sports is another one they enhance the quality of life in the state. And we need to be able to find a way to build the stadium and I believe that there can be a Minnesota solution for it. And I think the broader based input you have in it the better chance you'll (00:18:46) have mr. Suri c-could you or you could your group or any group for that matter both by the team and build a stadium with private money. They get basically no (00:18:59) public money at all. I think that's unlikely and I think you're not talking about public money without any return. I agree with Bill again on this. I look at it as financing rather than funding it look at it as financing and how can you finance a stadium? The majority has to come from private funds. I think that's a given but there can be a public component as long as it's an investment and I think that you know, the the last proposal that was before the legislature was a great proposal. We got no leadership from the governor's office on that one. And that's not a criticism of it is it's just an observation. I think he needs to be involved in this also and he certainly has the support of many people in this state. So if he speaks out on the issue in a rational and reason way I think that helps Advance the debate he was pretty critical of you yesterday when he was on the midday program talking about this issue. I'm shocked, (00:20:01) but he posed the question and he said now Somebody should ask Suri see where would the money come from would it come from education? Would it come from Transportation where if you're going to give money to Major League Baseball? Who do you take it away (00:20:16) from right and you know I could get in that debate with Jesse and I'd go back to the tax rebate how large it should have been funds we had here where we were doing very very well as an economy and whether or not we should invest in people I talked about that Gary is you know at length during the campaign last year and but I don't want to get into that debate with them because that's not what this is about. The fact is I believe we can find the funds and and also address the other needs of this state if it's done appropriately and I'm not talking about, you know, giving money away to wealthy people. That's not what we're talking about. We're talking about what is a private investment but also has a significant Community aspect to it the twins or the Vikings. They are part of the community. They enhance the quality of life for Dino but for a lot of people, yes those of us who have traveled the state and talk to seniors throughout the state asked them how many times they listen to the twins on the radio ask them for how many of them that's the only real entertainment they get families that go to the game. I mean baseball is still probably the best and most affordable package to watch Major League Sports. I just don't think you can you can look at it just on a dollar and cents basis you have to look at what it does to the quality of life in the community. Mr. Suri sir. Your Law Firm has won some important cases with some interesting ideas is your Law Firm helping the Attorney General's office or do you right now have any ideas on how to keep the twins here in town other than the lawsuit that the bill collectors group has put together. Well, I think let me answer this directly. We are we looking at other avenues. Yes his litigation the answer this no we have to To find I think another solution but if it comes to that, I think there's some creative ways to look at using the courts to help us in finding a solution is but see leagues potential conflict of interest want one of the issues that helped. It's an interesting question Gary. I mean it Georgie. I mean you look at them and you say, you know, here he is the commissioner of baseball and yet he's an owner and if he contracts its to his benefit and yet under the baseball Constitution, he supposed to do everything he can to protect the Integrity of the game. I mean that that raises some really interesting issues very briefly. Mr. Tracy should twins fans. (00:22:43) Hold out any hope that you or somebody else will actually save the team from elimination or is are you largely tilting at (00:22:51) windmills here? Well, you know people have accused me of tilting at windmills in the past Carrie and we've tended to get some things done. I hold out hope as a twins fan and I think twins Should hold out hope but they had to do more than that because can't just hope they should get on you know, their computers or get on the phone lines. They should call the governor. Tell Meg of got to leave in this situation don't just criticize other people and engage in debates that may be more appropriate for the playground and suppose the State House. Get out and lead. I mean, that's all I've said about the governor and I think he has a tremendous ability to do that in any act out leading on this and if we all pull together, I think we can find a solution but it's going to take a lot of people a lot of politicians stating up and willing to take some of the heat from the people you're talking about who say, you know, we shouldn't have major league sports receive any type of financing, you know, they're going to have to stand up and take a little bit of heat and say this this is an investment. We're going to get something back for this here's how and then go to the people with it. I mean, that's I think that's very important. All right. Thanks for joining us. Thanks a lot quicker (00:23:59) and the opposite Ernie Michael Cera see who is part of a group that is trying. To become more of more than just a group that actually perhaps by the team and save the team for the state of Minnesota. Tim pawlenty joins us now House Majority Leader Republican candidate for governor morning. Mr. Plenty. Good morning Gary. Is there any from as far as you can tell any appetite whatsoever at the Minnesota Legislature for spending any public money on the Minnesota Twins? (00:24:30) Well in general, no, although you do have the leadership in the Senate somewhat interested in the issue and there was at least some pulse on the issue in the house towards the end of last session where least some of the Advocates thought maybe they could start to Cobble together a coalition or some momentum or some energy around the issue and that kind of fell apart and of course since then now you have a war and a recession and instead of a budget surplus you have a budget deficit and so the situation has gotten much more (00:24:58) complicated. Where would the money come from the the question that the governor (00:25:04) poses? I think in the last proposal that was at the legislature that was floating around. They proposed to have $100,000,000 interest-free loan which by the way the the market value of that to the beneficiary is probably you know, a multiple of a hundred million dollars, but the mark of the interest interest free loan. The money for would have come out of either bonding bill or the reserve fund depending on which legislators proposals. You would listen Luke looking at (00:25:33) Governor Ventura also said yesterday that if when all is said and done he would agree to some kind of Stadium package which included public money next day the headlines would blare Ventura backs billionaire owner turns back on children. (00:25:51) Would you agree? Well, you know you nobody wants to see the twins go it's a sad moment for baseball. The door isn't completely closed yet. So there is some hope either for private solution or maybe The Advocates can find a way to Cobble something together. They're in the time that remains between now and when this contraction is actually implemented and who knows when that's going to be but there's no question that this is a hot-button issue. There's a flash point that comes for anybody who's going to be on either side of it and there's no doubt that whether it's me or Governor Ventura anyone else who's saying they're opposed to whatever proposal comes forward. They're going to be accused of misplaced (00:26:26) priorities in retrospect. Do you have any regrets that this that some kind of a stadium Bill wasn't past several years ago. Maybe when the economy was a little more (00:26:36) flush. Well, I personally don't that maybe some others are legislators other legislators who do but, you know, we're talking here about even a marginal solution. I think one of your other guests at it just a few minutes ago the New York Yankees have a hundred ninety million dollars or so and annual revenues the twins have of 40 or 50 and even if you build a new stadium and increase that by 10 or 20, they're still going to be in the bottom Barrel bottom of the barrel and revenues and five years from now. They're going to have basically the same problems and then we're You saying what's the real problem? The real problem is you have a industry that is sick and whose economics is in are insane and the owners are unwilling to do anything about it. Thanks for joining us. Appreciate it. Okay, Tim pawlenty House Majority Leader (00:27:19) and one of the Republicans who is running for governor next year dfl Senate Majority Leader Roger Mo joins us now Center Mo you have at least express some openness to the idea of trying to work out a ballpark plan. But other than you and a few of the folks who share your thoughts on this is there much appetite at all for a ballpark bill at (00:27:43) the Capitol. Previous speakers have indicated that there's certainly has been a reshuffling of the issues and we have other issues that are very important, but I don't know how much new you add to this issue other than the recent news of course and it's not good news for Minnesota. I'm not sure exactly what to take of it. All I I think of a number of different scenarios that that could come to mind on on all of this as to why they did what they did but no matter how you cut it. It's not I guess it's not good news from Minnesota, but I still view my opinion on it hasn't changed. I believe that the twins are an asset to not only Minnesota, but to the Midwest region and an asset is worth protecting (00:28:39) the governor says any money spent on this issue takes money out of out of Education. money out of Roads highways all the things that government should properly be concerned with (00:28:52) well The governor course has his opinions on things. You could say that about anything. I guess you could say that if you spend a dollar on Transportation, it's at the expense of Education. If you spend a dollar on education at the expense of health care, you could you could play that game. If you want to cop out on the issue the fact the matter is that that the twins do generate income to the state treasury. There is a quantifiable economic benefit based upon the taxes that the players pay the jobs that are created and then there's intangible benefits. So I think that you have to kind of look at it in the in a total picture as to what it adds to the state you either major State or your minor league State and I think Minnesota is Major League State and either you either think that way or you can you pack up and and then be content that kind of in second place and I don't think minnesotans really feel that (00:30:11) way very briefly Senator. Do you think there's any realistic hope that that the team will be around the next few (00:30:20) years? Well, it's obviously the news is not good, but I don't think you give up. I think one thing that has to be investigated and I it's probably very difficult to find out but if you recall the legislation that we advanced in the Senate, I think it was last year the year before I can't really remember right now. They are kind of running together. But one of the provisions in the bill was that there's going to be no Stadium until baseball reforms itself. I don't know is anybody raise the question as to maybe that's why Minnesota is on the hit list for contraction. Maybe the other baseball owners don't write the thought that gosh we're going to be now. We're having legislation in a state that's demanding that we before my sales. Let's get rid of this problem before it gets any worse. I don't know. I think that's something that deserves looking into and but the bottom line is it's not Good news, but I don't think you give up. Hope thank you Senator. Appreciate your joining us. Thank you. (00:31:27) You fell Senate Majority Leader Roger Mo. We're focusing this hour on the Major League Baseball owners vote yesterday to eliminate two teams. Presumably one of them the Minnesota Twins, the teams would be eliminated prior according to the owners plan prior to the start of the 2002 season J weiner is with us and we'll get to some of your calls and comments. It's more comments from Jay right after news headlines has got a Cunningham Greta. Thanks Gary. Good morning. Police are cracking down on Osama. Bin Laden's Financial Network sources say police raided businesses in Washington, Boston Minneapolis Seattle and other cities officials say Warren's have been executed in Washington Boston in Minneapolis u.s. Customs agents have shut down for Minneapolis businesses and taken at least one man into custody because they are suspected terrorist Associates. The US has also asked allies to freeze assets that Aid Bin Laden and his organization and Is nine countries in Switzerland police have detained two Arab financiers. Allegedly linked to Bin Laden and ABC spokesman confirms that traces of Anthrax were found in two tests in a small second floor mail room at the Network's New York headquarters. The room has been disinfected earlier tests had found no evidence of Anthrax in the building authorities had been trying to find out how an eight month old boy whose mother works at ABC had been infected with Anthrax the boy had visited the second and third floors of the ABC building in September. The FBI is continuing its investigation of the anthrax attacks Homeland Security director. Tom Ridge says agents are now questioning people who work at the 80 or 90 labs and research centers that have access to the deadly bacteria, which is comments come after a top FBI official acknowledged yesterday. The agents have few clues about the source of the anthrax attacks four people have died and more than a dozen others became ill after being exposed to the bacteria in Regional News Saint Paul. Mayoral candidate Jeb. Off is deciding whether to ask for a recount after his close loss to state. Senator Randy Kelly in yesterday's election. Unofficial return show bad enough losing to state senator Andy Kelly by 403 votes Kelly and dfl her like been enough has already declared Victory the forecast for Minnesota today calls for a chance of showers in Central and Southern Minnesota this afternoon high temperatures today will range from 45 in the north to 72 in the South right now in Duluth. It's overcast and 39 and in the Twin Cities some scattered clouds with a temperature of 54 Gary. That's a look at the latest news. Thanks Greta 22 minutes before 12:00. Midday coming to you on Minnesota Public Radio this hour, we're focusing on the future of the Minnesota Twins and Major League Baseball in Minnesota baseball owners voted yesterday to eliminate two of the 30 teams playing Major League Baseball on the premise that such a contraction would improve the imbalance between the wealthiest teams in the poorest teams. And while the owners did not publicly identify which teams are on The Hit List. It's widely presumed that the, Minnesota Winds would be one of the two Minneapolis Star Tribune sports writer and Minnesota public radio sports analyst J weiner the author of a book on pass Stadium efforts title Stadium games has joined us and we invite you to join our conversation as well. Not a lot of time here, but we'd like to get some of your comments on six five. One two, two seven six thousand or 1-800 to for 22828 J. The owners did not publicly identify which teams would be eliminated was that as the commissioner says just so they can work out some final details or as the cynics have suggested. I should say the Skeptics have suggested that what major league baseball is really interested in is for all the potential teams to rush off build new stadiums essentially set off a bidding war. (00:35:10) Wow, I would guess that it's probably a little bit of both and and also I believe it's because this will become a bargaining chip with the union and so it just it it probably makes it better for the owners to be somewhat vague on this you other cynics could say that, you know, bud selig in the owners just can't make up their mind on anything. Anyway, it just seems to me to be a mechanical problem of trying to figure out exactly how to undo the expose the twins or the Marlins or the Tampa Bay team and then it does have the consequence of getting people as we are here in town to (00:35:51) scramble. Mmm. We heard several comments the first half hour about the need for baseball to get its economic house in order that a stadium in and of itself would not solve the twins problems or anybody else's problems for that matter, but isn't that discussion fairly or Point fairly moot at this at this level at this point because apparently the two are the the baseball owners have already decided that the one thing they are going to do is eliminate a couple of teams, maybe down the road they'll change their economics to but as far as the twins go that's a it's a it's a it's a moot point whether they change their (00:36:29) economics. Yeah. Well, yes, it is mood. But I think that Senator Moe was was some we know was correct in stating that the bills last year that said that there would be no Stadium built short of reform in the game. Where a supported by the twins. The twins said that was a good idea and be a de facto created somewhat of a public policy here in the state in which you know over time many officials have been saying until baseball cleans up its house. We're not going to build a stadium. Well, then it was actually written on paper that that is what our policy was and so it could be Moot but it is our policy and I think it's a good one because let's say Gary this contraction you she didn't come up this week and let's say we were now in April of next year and let's say the players are on strike or the owners have have locked them out and baseball's economics of not been reformed. Would there be any reason to build a ballpark in this town knowing that the season might be dark until June? You know, I think that it's a very reasonable principle to to retain in a market of our size because as big as build Esther and others point out Pittsburgh new stadium still going to have some problems Detroit a bigger Market than ours new stadium still going to have some problems after the Twins and the Expos of the Marlins get contracted which team is next. There will always be a bottom to or a bottom for until there is a fundamental change in the way that revenues are shared in the game. And so it may be a moot point, but I think it's one that if we're going to go down it's a worthy point to to retain. (00:38:19) Let's get some listener comments on Bath here. First. Go ahead, please. (00:38:22) Hi. Thanks for taking my call. I would just you know, I feel like I'm living in some sort of a Time Warp or something here, you know with the events that have happened recently. I really thought people would understand priorities and especially the function of government and what its core responsibilities are and you know quality of life and all those things that just drives me crazy when we don't have adequate health care when we don't pay our firemen and and nurses and teachers and our education system is just a shambles, you know, regardless of the money these issues require our legislators to work long and hard on just these things alone things that they are obligated to do not the freely fun stuff. Like baseball, I just am just furious. I wish this issue would go away and I just am furious that any legislator would spend any amount of time even talking about this, you know, when you live in Utopia and we get all these other things in order then we can talk about baseball, you know, where we have Billionaire's making more billions and players making millions. I just I just don't understand what is going on here at (00:39:35) all. Thank you Beth. Let's move on to Bill who joins us from Chanhassen your comment Bellow. (00:39:42) Thanks just a comment. And I had two questions for J. 1 is I mean nobody's a bigger baseball fan than me, but I think somebody's eventually got a call the bluff here and it's unfortunate that we re at this point my questions for Jays are you know, he's done a lot of Investigation. I wonder what is the mentality of owners in the profitability of state of teams? Because obviously they didn't get to be billionaires making money on baseball. So once you reach the point of being a billionaire and you've decided to own Team it what is it about them that thinks that they have to make money on baseball as opposed to just sort of breaking even and having it continued to be the national sport of which then they're supporting and that satisfies their ego presumably second question just really is about the this we're 15. So I think it's eyes Minneapolis st. Paul metropolitan area. I mean, there's 30 teams today you just touched on it briefly about the you know, Detroit and the people like that, you know, how many other major league cities currently do not have new ballparks? And you know, I just don't see any place for Major League Baseball to go. I just see continued contraction happening and it's unfortunate that we probably got to be the first one, you know, and we're such a large area to say no. So what's the future for other major league cities that don't have new stadiums. I'll start with the second question first right now of the middle sized markets. Um, we pretty much stand alone. If you subtract Montreal in Canada here in the US the Twin Cities is is the last stronghold St. Louis does not have a new ballpark. There's a battle over over that they did redo their multi-purpose Stadium for the Cardinals when the football team left Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees York Mets don't have new stadiums, but there are large markets and they've been you know, trying particularly the Red Sox for a long time to basically blow up Fenway, which is more than a political issue. It's a spiritual issue in Boston. But right now we're the last of that. I think that you raised a good point and this was one that came up during really the twins alleged moved to North Carolina. Is that and Bud selig agreed with this yesterday. They have run out of cities. There are no cities a that are going to build stadiums. On the come as it were on spec and and be the size of markets that can support a big league team just they're not out there football is a lot easier to support pro football that is with 10 home games one game on a Sunday people can get in their car and drive for a couple hours make the game and drive home. That isn't the same on a Tuesday night in August. And so you really do need a dense population Market in order to support, you know, a team like the twins to get to your first question of what our owners seeking from teams. I think we're now into the issue of pop psychology quite a bit and in Carl pullets case, which is the one that I know the the most I would say that in 1984 when he bought the team. This is my own psychological Viewpoint. It was an attempt to raise his profile in the community. He was someone a somewhat unknown Banker no, Within his own circles thought that buying the twins would be a good investment and good for him. And and as Years War on it raised his profile it served its purpose and depending on how you look at his taxes being paid and taxes being saved on operating losses on the team's he has lost maybe some money. Maybe I'm not quite sure but certainly not so much that he no longer has the two billion that he's got. So I believe it's the psychology of wealthy people who want to get richer and who may not understand, you know, they're kind of community there their obligations, but you know, maybe I'm being too harsh. I'm not quite sure I think at its basest level a team does become somewhat of a toy and a vehicle for egotism. For some owners others take it as a social responsibility, but I think as I've said before this week that we are at a moment of truth on two issues one is if anyone has ever felt the teams Were Somehow Community assets, which they are we're beginning to see that they actually do belong to real people real men with real money. And secondly, I think the moment of truth is that we are now in at this post expansion era if people have always been thinking of pro sports as expanding new teams new League's new markets. I think that we're at the end of that and we're in some new historical zone of pro sports and you know, the Twins and the expos in the Marlins or whoever might be the sacrificial Lambs might be as we begin to see not only in baseball but perhaps in the NHL the reduction of teams over the next two to five years and that I don't know what it means for pro sports, but it means something (00:45:08) let me ask you this Jay. Already Carl pole at has been criticized severely for even thinking about allowing. The twins to be eliminated is that in your mind a fair criticism given the fact that there's no apparent public will to put up any money to help him that being the case shouldn't he be allowed to do whatever he wants with the team. (00:45:29) Well first part is that yes, we as a community are responsible for our actions as well. It is a community where people vote and elect people and we've made our choices. And so if we don't build a ballpark, there will be consequences and actually if I can counter I think her name was Beth a couple calls ago. If you look at the amount of money that we might be spent on a twins ballpark over time based on the state budget. I believe in the 1997 deal. I wrote about it. It would have been about one one-thousandth of our annual or biannual budget. So it might have been about the thousandth. I already have things that's that's point one. But point to is that I think relocating a team is one thing and people would be angry with mr. Polat for that and they were in 97 when that looked like it may or may not happen. But simply taking the money and running has a whole nother connotation to it it just kind of folding it and so I guess it's politicians say there's enough blame to go around but my politics are my view is that if you've got two billion dollars, there's probably a way to make a stadium work and while people have been praising the bill of last session. It still was not perfect. It's still didn't have enough and I see I didn't buy the fact that the team was going to pay for 85% of the stadium. I didn't think those numbers added up that way that's not to say it wasn't a better deal than we had seen in your years before so I think some of the criticism frankly has been extremely personal and you know, maybe that's maybe that's where we're at these days but I think the criticism has been fair at the same time. We as a community can either be proud or mad at ourselves for not having done what other communities have (00:47:25) done Paul quick comment here before we wrap (00:47:28) up. Yeah. I think it's great that we haven't fallen into the stadium scam and allowed these billionaires to extort us into providing for them the A theater to make more money for themselves and I think that to those minnesotans who would like to us to keep our teams and to have teams that maybe if they can drum up enough support to publicly owned teams like Green Bay, then that might cut any threat in the future of these billionaires being allowed to extort us the way that they have and that I think would go for people who also want to build like the Target store in Downtown Minneapolis, you know that you have to stop allowing these people for reasons of quality of life, you know to to take from our quality of life so that there's can be (00:48:18) better Jay. Is it too late for those kind of big picture approaches to the Minnesota Twins? (00:48:27) Well, you know, I've always argued that when a new stadium is built and the value of the team increases that the community should retain some of that upside some of that profit that a car pull had might have gotten when he saw The team the value goes from a hundred million 200 million suddenly. He sells the team and he captures all the hundred million Meanwhile. We're the ones who have built the thing for him that increase the value. So the Green Bay model is not going to happen. Again. It's been grandfathered in the NFL but it just won't happen unless we're in it really another era in Pro Sports the big picture philosophical stuff. I think I think it probably is a little too late but I don't believe that we should negate that cause that Senator mole talked about that baseball's economics should be reformed. I think that should be a guiding principle. And otherwise, we really do get into a spot in which we have built a new stadium and the new owners come in and things don't really change and I think that there would be just as much screaming and hollering about that as there might be if and when the twins actually don't exist (00:49:33) anymore back to where we started very briefly for folks who've been trying desperately. Lila learn how to spell Doug mencave it should they continue that effort or just give it up as a something from our past part of our history? (00:49:47) I would continue studying because there are a lot of moving Parts in this thing and the players and the owners are just about to sit down and talk about contract. The season is not that far away the twins have to hire a manager Carl pull that changes find a lot. It's you know, it's not over I guess until it's over. I'm sorry. I had to say that but but it's probably true which is not to say that the nuclear clock isn't ticking here, but I would just keep learning how to spell his name (00:50:18) Jay Winter. Thanks for joining us Shir say weiner sports analyst for Minnesota Public Radio sportswriter for the Star Tribune. I'm Krista Tippett, please join me for a new first person speaking of Faith as US military action unfolds in Afghanistan will explore religious reflection on Justice and War all wars morally ambiguous. We can't get away from that join me for justice and adjust War Friday at noon and 9 p.m. And again on Sunday at 9 p.m. On Minnesota Public Radio coming up over the noon hour conversation with the new mayors elect here in Minneapolis and st. Paul.


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