Stadium Task Force to discuss Twins elimination from MLB

by Justin Ware

As state and national governments race to devise a plan that will save the Minnesota Twins, support for the baseball team pours in from fans statewide.

The state’s Stadium Task Force will meet Tuesday to provide details on what options Minnesota has for keeping professional baseball in the state. The task force will also look at the Gopher and Viking football stadium issues.

On Wednesday, Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., introduced a bill that would force professional baseball to comply with federal antitrust laws.

“The decision by Major League Baseball owners to eliminate two teams – with the prospect of at least two more eliminations to come – is a betrayal by owners who have put their own profits before loyalty to fans and their communities,” Wellstone said in a written statement.

Allison Dobson, Wellstone’s press secretary, said the bill has drawn bipartisan support in the Senate.

“I think we’re seeing a good, energetic response,” Dobson said.

But time is an obstacle Minnesota baseball supporters face, as league owners could vote to contract the Twins within the next month.

Congressional proponents of the bill are trying to balance expedience with good decision-making, she said.

Despite staunch efforts to stop MLB from contracting two teams, Minnesota’s legislative leaders have promised not to make stadium issues a topic of debate in upcoming elections.

“Decisions about a new ballpark and facilities for pro and University sports teams should be made in the best interests of all Minnesotans, not based on fear of retaliation from opposing political leaders,” said Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe, DFL-Erskine, in a written statement. “This is a time when we need to work cooperatively.”

House Leader Tom Pugh, DFL-South St. Paul, said the issue will not leave the discussion table, just the campaigns.

“This issue will stay in the spotlight without partisan bickering,” Pugh said.

The legislation Minnesota’s lawmakers put forth this week could become part of the agenda for the task force’s meeting Tuesday.

Justin Ware welcomes comments at [email protected]