Posted at 9:43 AM on November 27, 2007
by David Zingler
Remember when a new, taxpayer funded Twins stadium was supposed to make the team “competitive” and “viable” by “increasing revenue”? “Build it and our problems will be solved” was the message. Well, let’s look at the moves the Twins have made since breaking ground on that stadium last summer:
First, they dealt Luis Castillo to the Mets for some low-level minor leaguers. Next, they gave free-agent-to-be Torii Hunter a low-ball offer that no player in his situation would even consider taking. Hunter, of course, bolted to LA last week. Now they are shopping Johan Santana to the highest bidding, big market team. And, the one bargain-basement player the Twins have acquired this off-season – Craig Monroe – will likely be released if he doesn’t take a pay cut.
Is this what we had in mind when we signed onto the stadium deal? The way things are going; the Twins will be less competitive when they enter Pohlad Park in 2010 than they have been the last 7 years in the Metrodome. Let’s also remember that Twins tickets will be scarcer and more expensive and out-state fans will be turned away by the dozens every April because of rainouts. But, I bet those luxury suites will be nice – Cambria countertops and all.
Let’s face it Minnesota, we are victims of a high class hustle.
Does anyone else get the feeling that the Twins are on the verge of declaring a fire sale? I don't even get the feeling the Twins are making an effort to retain their core veteran talent. Have they even made a SERIOUS effort to resign Nathan, Cuddyer or Morneau? Or even Santana for that matter? Now I've been reading that the Twins have entertained offers for Baker, Garza, Bonser and Nathan. If the Twins continue to wheel and deal in this fashion, players that will be free agents shortly will be counting the days until they can abandon this ship.
I believe I speak for a lot of fans when I say that it's really tough to swallow the possibility of losing the core of this team a few months after ground is broken on the new stadium. I know the revenue from the stadium hasn't been realized yet, but I'm sure the Pohlads could stand to run in the red for a few years. If not, I'm afraid to say we have been the victims of a 'bait and switch' by the owners of this team.
Can you really call it a hustle though? Raise your hand if you actually thought that a new ballpark would translate directly to increased spending on the roster. Anyone? Anyone?
This just in - rich people make decisions that make them richer. They generally get wealthy by making smart choices, like say getting someone else to pay for their stadium. I'm okay with this. It's par for the course in 2007. I'm just shocked anyone feels like they were taken advantage of. This is what happens.
By the way I love the Twins and am pro stadium. I'm happy they're building the stadium and I'm okay paying for it (thru my taxes). I want the stadium, I don't care if Pohlad profits from it. I do too. I don't have to watch a game in a crappy dome anymore.
Had the new Twins stadium been opened last year, we might not even be discussing losing Hunter or trading Santana. (Operative word here is "might"). Every mid-market team has declared the same when attempting to get a new stadium that payroll money will increase. The front office does increase the hype in order to pander to the tax-paying fan base. It does raise revenue in the short-term, however it does not give a team a blank check. Prior to the opening of Safeco, Seattle was unable to sign Randy Johnson or Ken Griffey Jr to a long term contract. Even after Safeco opened, they could not afford A-Rod. The Mariners have been able to lock down Ichiro to a lucrative contract which the increased revenue stream is partly responsible for. Another example is Cleveland. They opened Jacobs Field and immediately raised their payroll and fielded a winning team for several years. The economic realities of operating out of a market their size set in and they had to scale back selling off key members of the team (Bartolo Colon, Jim Thome). They rebuilt from within and are once again highly competitive. There will always be an ebb and flow to the teams that are not in New York, Chicago, Boston or LA regardless of your stadium.
Pohlad played the politicians, not me.
Mike Opat will be this decade's Worst Person in the World!