Column: A few words about the Twins new stadium

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 27, 2006

Jon Laging, Sports Talk

The world has had many ongoing disputes ranging from World War II to a neighbor’s fence. While there has been no bloodshed, Minnesota has had its own fight for about 10 years. It has traveled beyond sports fans and affected all citizens. In fact, if you took a poll, I bet that almost every Minnesotan would have an opinion one way or the other. Stadium issues have been blown out of proportion, gone further than the presentation of facts and have become a political football. A controversial subject that politicians tried to ignore for fear of losing votes has finally come to a head and become polarized. There is no gray anymore. The stadium bill is either very bad or very good.

There have been actions and non-actions that have offended observers. Staunch Republicans are angry with Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty for indicating he would be somewhat in favor of a stadium bill after giving the impression while campaigning that he was against a new Twins stadium. I’m surprised at their attitude. Pawlenty did not have much impact on the stadium issue. He has done a good job of straddling the fence and not using his office as a &8220;bully pulpit&8221; to encourage or discourage building the stadium. He mostly gave the impression he would bow to the will of the people no matter what that will was.

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The centuries old Northern Ireland dispute came about primarily because of nationalism, politics and religion. Thank God there is only politics tied up in whether to build a stadium.

The seven Hennepin County legislators of the House Tax Committee voted against approving the bill as is. I guess because of the tax of 15 cents on every $100 bill spent in Hennepin County. Why is the project such a negative? It seems to me that if a businessman appeared before the Hennepin legislators and told them he had a half billion dollar project that would employ the trade unions for a couple of years, provide a lynchpin to help rebuild the warehouse district, bring a million more visitors a year spending at least a hundred dollars apiece for such a small tax, the legislators would approve it in a heartbeat. Why not the stadium?

It is true Carl Pohlad would benefit from the stadium and I am no big booster of Pohlad. Not after the &8220;sell the Twins to North Carolina fiasco&8221; and his and the baseball owners’ contraction effort, but Pohlad is contributing about $135 million which is about $135 million more than some owners.

Another plus is he is our Carl Pohlad. He lives in Minnesota making his money here, turning many of his dollars over in our state as opposed to the Viking’s Zigy Wilf who although investing in Minnesota is from another state. And make no mistake, much of Wilf’s profit will wind up in New Jersey.

Carl Pohlad to my way of thinking does not have any long term Machiavellian scheme for the Twins and the stadium. The man is 90 years old.

One can go on and on about the stadium and many have, but I am in favor of building the stadium.

I know a lot of people are saying that we should spend the money for education, roads or whatever. I understand that, but if we don’t build the stadium, will that mean better roads or better education? I don’t think so.

I suppose I am influenced by personal reasons. I would like to go to a Twins game outside in a new stadium before I die. So build it for an old baseball fan.