Monday, May 22, 2006

 

Twinkies moving outdoors

Word comes from Minnesota that an outdoor stadium has finally been approved for the Twinkies. From the numbers I've seen, county property taxes will provide nearly $400 million of public money. The state also is going to be paying $248 million for a new Golden Gophers football stadium. That leaves only the Vikings playing in the HumptyDome. I always thought the dome was a horrible baseball "park" but an adequate football venue.

Of course the Vikings do not agree. They want $675 million for their own new stadium, but that proposal did not get through the legislative process this time around.

I'm a sports fan and have some connections to Minnesota. The first major league game I saw was at old Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington. I've been to baseball, college football and a Final Four in the dome, and I would vote it the worst stadium anywhere. But why should a Hennepin County property owner pay higher taxes to provide a better place for the Twinkies to play?

Massachusetts is legendary for the shenanigans perpetrated by its elected leaders, but at least in the state where I currently reside there has been very little response to attempted blackmail by major sports teams. The hockey/basketball arena in downtown Boston is owned by the Bruins and rented by the Celtics. Anytime the Celtics even think about asking for public money to build their own arena, they are quickly told to shut up. Fenway Park is owned by the Red Sox. Plans to build a new ballpark have been abandoned and the new owners are sinking money into improvements. The Patriots squeezed out a few public dollars for infrastructure improvements, but bore the cost of their new stadium privately.

I know the situation in each locale is unique, but if I were a Minnesota taxpayer I would be angry about so much money being confiscated from me to pay for stadiums.


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