Friday, April 29, 2005

Talk of the Town

Once again, I'm sorry for the relative lack of posts the past couple of weeks. I got the season started on the right foot, but events have picked up a bit lately around here and time has been a little short. No matter... I'm here today, and that's all that matters.

First of all, a quick rant about yesterday's 6-5 win over the Royals: What in the heck was Luis Rivas thinking!?! By now I'm sure most of you know the play about which I currently rant: Rivas (pinch-running for Morneau) is at second and Hunter is on first with no one out in the 10th. Jacque Jones misses on his bunt attempt (which was bad, I'll admit) but then the worst happens - Rivas strays too far off second base and is picked off by the catcher!!

This was a baseball gaffe that rivals Pat Borders' inexplicable non-block in game four of last year's ALDS (with the go-ahead run on third), far eclipsing it in terms of utter stupidity. Luis Rivas is in the game for one reason: he is fast and (supposedly) a good baserunner. Instead, he almost singlehanded crushes a potential game-winning rally simply because he lost focus. If any of the high school kids my dad or I coach ever committed such a boneheaded mistake, they would get an earful in the dugout and deservedly so! But here Rivas is, making $1.2 million, and he does something that even 12 and 13-year olds know not to do - never go too far off the base until you see the bunt hit the ground! It's just common sense Luis - stop thinking about the clubhouse card game and get your a** in gear.

Okay, I just had to get that rant off my chest. On to the real topic of today: the stadium.

Now I know many of you out there aren't particularly fond of this issue. A good portion of you don't live near the Twin Cities metro area and thus can rarely attend Twins games at the Metrodome. Most of you (including myself) do not live in/frequent Hennepin County often and thus would be unaffected by the sales tax increase.

I also suspect that a large percentage of you have become so disenfranchised by the stadium movement's complete lack of success over the past nine years that you have officially given up. I'm here to tell you this: Don't.

I've been searching for a way to vocalize my thoughts on this subject for a few days, but Jimmy Souhan over at the Strib actually beat me to the punch on Tuesday with this article. Here are a couple of my favorite lines:

-In response to those who say we should instead use this money to fund other things:
"Most taxes provide temporary or incremental relief to complex and persistent problems. If you told me raising $1 billion would end homelessness or eradicate traffic jams, I'd happily donate more than my share. In real life, most societal ills seem as impervious to cash as the common cold is to medication."

-For those who think the deal benefits Pohlad too much (from Souhan):
"Yes, this is a great deal for Pohlad, but that's the way the world works -- rich people make good deals for themselves, whether they own sports teams or computer companies.

The rich will always get richer, with or without our help. Think of the Twins as our team, and Pohlad as a caretaker. We're the ones who will watch the sunset from the bleacher seats, while our kids wear those timeless TC caps."

-And another equally well-stated point from Shane over at Greet Machine the other day:
"[I]n the nine years this debate has been raging how much extra money has any of these issues [education, healthcare, etc.] received as a result of our not building a new Twins stadium? That's right. Nothing. Nada. Zip. In other words, for nine years our illustrious state legislators have used this argument against building a new Twins stadium. At the same time they have never actually said, "Well, now that we aren't building a stadium let's use that money for education!" Bzzzz! This has never happened! To put it another way, our legislators talk and talk, and argue and argue, but they never actually do anything to fix either problem! So, time's up! Get off the swing set, it is our turn to take it for a ride."

Shane has been doing some excellent work about the most recent stadium proposal, and I thoroughly enjoy reading what he has to say every day. This issue hasn't gotten a lot of mention in the Twins blogs for a variety of reasons (and I can't say that I blame them... it's much easier to write about baseball than politics) but I vow to stay informed and keep you up-to-date on what I think. I'm glad the Strib has ran a few articles about this issue over the past week, because a number of them (including Souhan's and this one by Doug Grow) have been excellent. I encourage you to follow this ever-developing story, because like it or not, it trumps the on-the-field action right now in terms of overall importance.

Lastly, I'm a bit curious: Do you, the readers of this (and the other) Twins blogs care about this issue? Wouldn't you like to see a stadium built? Would you agree to pay the miniscule sales tax if you bought a lot of things in Hennepin County? Are you just so frustrated with the whole situation that you don't care? If you'd like to share your opinion on this issue over the course of the weekend, please do so in the comments section. A couple people did the other day, and I appreciate that. What about the rest of you?

-Ryan M.