Thursday, April 27, 2006
Both the Minnesota Vikings and the University of Minnesota Gopher Football team are standing in line, at the state welfare Office of Stadiums for Millionaires and Universities With Endowments In The Bank, waiting for their stadium bills to be approved with taxpayers - in some manner - contributing to the cost of building their palaces.
There was a time when people thought the Metrodome, with its Teflon roof and heated interior, was the cat's pajamas in terms of modernity. No longer did people have to sit shivering in their seat while taking in a football game during the winter months. No longer did people have to worry about getting soaked from rain while watching baseball. There was a time when the Gophers, college football players, were honored - flattered! - to be playing football in The Dome.
Was The Dome perfect? Not by any means. The seating was primarily designed for a football field and baseball fans griped about the seating pattern, but, the Twins did well financially with that seating, and managed to win two World Series in 1987 and 1991.
Somewhere along the line Billionaire Twins Owner Carl Pohlad and his henchmen decided they wanted a new stadium. They weren't willing to build and pay for it entirely on their own, they wanted - not NEEDED - the taxpayer to fund their Taj Mahal.
The Minnesota Vikings, formerly owned by Car Salesman Extraordinaire and Multi-Millionaire "Texas Red" McComb, also got the idea in their collective minds that they wanted -not NEEDED - a new Taj Mahal. And, like Pohlad, they certainly didn't want to have to pay for its construction all on their own.
Now, Vikings Owner and Real Estate Mega-Mogul Ziggy Wilf, carrying on the fine tradition of his Car Salesman Predecessor, also wants - not NEEDS - a new football stadium. And the Real Estate Mogul insists that the taxpayer kick in for the cost of their Football Mansion.
And somewhere along the line, the University of Minnesota, (an overrated university, in my opinion), decided that playing football in the Metrodome was beneath their beloved Gophers.
Not too many years ago the U of MN had, in the bank, a BILLION DOLLAR ENDOWMENT sitting in an account and investments earning interest. I checked to see if that endowment is still in place or if they had spent it. I was told by the person I spoke with on the telephone that they would have to check and call me back.
Gee, I sure would know if I had a Billion Dollar Endowment earning interest in the bank(s). You mean the U of MN isn't sure if that's still the case. Don't make me choke while I laugh.
I've seen both the Twins and the Vikings play at The Dome. I like it, it's a nice place. Is the greatest place on the face of the earth to watch professional sports? Probably not. But what stadium is? Well, the Xcel Center in St. Paul for the NHL's Minnesota Wild is a state of the art facility.
Could it be that the Twins, the Vikings, and the Gophers, after seeing Xcel Center, simply have a grand case of Stadium Envy? Hmmmm, I kinda think that's what the problem is.
One of Pohlad's henchmen, Twins 'El Presidente' Jerry Bell, clasped his hands and became ecstatic when the MN House approved the Twin's stadium bill. This guy has been lobbying year after year after year, doing the bidding of Pohlad for a new baseball park. Bell may well indeed have spent more time at the state legislature than most of the elected politicians!
Pohlad's "Igor": Jerry "As Far As We're Concerned [this stadium] is Critical" Bell
All fans of the Twins, Vikings, and Gophers are most vocal in their support of getting others to help pay for their pet project. They're not willing to take the cost on themselves. That would be wrong. Why, the quality of life in Minnesota depends on, and is so enhanced, by having these teams in Minnesota, don't-cha-know.
Forget about Pohlad's idle threat, in cahoots with Baseball Kommissar Bud Selig, a few years back of contraction, selling the Twins and moving them out of state. Forget about the threat to sell and move the Vikings by "Texas Red" a few years ago. Man, how quickly people forget.
Now we are being bullied and intimidated by billionaire and millionaire owners to help pay for their new playgrounds. Now we are being bullied and intimidated by the University of Minnesota, who - as far as I can tell - still has a BILLION Dollars in the bank that they refuse to tap.
I can't help but think how soon will the time come for the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves to lobby for a new stadium? Their home, Target Center, is approaching sixteen years old. Why, that's the Rome Coliseum in terms of age in the minds of the Twins and the Vikings!
The Twins, the Vikings, and the Gophers have the nerve to lobby that the public be forced to contribute to their new homes instead of paying out of pocket for them. And make no mistake about it, we're talking only about a game. Sure, it's a big business game and they do employ others, but not at any real LIVING WORKING WAGE, a term bandied about by the Left so often, but they fail to even mention it when talking about stadium jobs.
The Twins, the Vikings, and the Gophers aren't out there researching or curing cancer, heart disease, strokes, AIDS or the common cold. They're playing games. Games!
Huh, playing games. Imagine that.
Thanks for writing.
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