Taxpayers need to wake up and build Twins a stadium

On June 22, 1984, Calvin Griffith sold the Minnesota Twins to Carl Pohlad. The Twins were competitive in 1984 through September, a far cry from their constant ineptitude of most of the ’70s and early ’80s.
Pohlad officially took control in September of 1984. The Twinkies had spent only two years under the Teflon Bag, but if a local buyer hadn’t been found, Griffith was set on breaking the lease and moving.
Pohlad was a Minnesota hero then. Pohlad and general manager Andy MacPhail turned the disasters of ’85 and ’86 into a World Championship in 1987. Then they turned the misery of ’89 and ’90 into a World Championship in 1991.
The end of the 1999 season is approaching, making it eight years since I’ve actually planned more than 15 minutes before game time to go to a game. And they’re still talking about moving the Twins.
The stadium debate has been circulating around for a few years now. The taxpayers have resoundingly said ‘hell no,’ to Pohlad and co. and don’t appear likely to change their minds.
Maybe it’s time for taxpayers to take another look at the issue.
My theory used to be that a new stadium wouldn’t be an issue if the team was competitive, but Red McCombs has just eliminated that notion. Despite the economic setup of baseball (which I think is also disgusting), 75 percent of the blame goes to the organization itself.
Forget that Kevin Brown will make $105 million for Los Angeles. Oakland and Toronto are both competing for a wild-card spot on small budgets. Why? Because they’ve produced enough legitimate players from their farm systems and spent some money on a couple of free agents.
The Twins haven’t done that in at least six years, but it is baseball’s bigger picture that has me twitching.
St. Paul is expected to vote on a tax to help raise money for a ballpark in November. It’s a very good bet that this vote will go down as nothing but a waste of time. If all pans out like expected, it leaves the Twins with no options remaining to stay in Minnesota.
The Minnesota taxpayers believe they are taking a stand by refusing to give any money to the Twins or the Vikings. This is where the irrationality and naiveness of Minnesotans kicks in.
There is no question that Pohlad and McCombs should have to front a majority of the money for their own little huts. But it’s been proven that letting these teams go doesn’t take a stand against anything. This same scenario is taking place in Montreal. It sent the Houston Oilers to Tennessee (huh?) and has allowed the Rev. Al Davis to jump ship for the umpteenth time from Los Angeles.
Get it? Allowing either team to leave doesn’t say anything except that Minnesota doesn’t care enough about what the Twins and Vikings bring to this community and state, which is a crock. The same people whining are the same ones who bragged on and on about how great 1987 and 1991 were: bandwagoners.
All it does is force the owners to move their teams to a place that would care, and Pohlad has given this state several chances to prove itself.
Haven’t we bailed out Northwest Airlines and Target on multiple occasions? Didn’t Honeywell just leave? Didn’t I hear something about a hockey team coming in 2000?
Minnesotans need to cut the pretentious and outraged act. But for those of you who still think baseball and football aren’t worthy of spit in Minnesota, than live in Omaha and let us know how it is.
And while you’re there, you might want to start thinking about what you’re going to say to your kids when they ask what the hell the Twins and Vikings were.
Mark Heller covers soccer as a sports reporter for the Daily. He welcomes comments at [email protected]