Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Minnesota Twins hit for lack of diversity

New Mayo plan shaping up; Children’s Museum hopeful for funds; researchers to share Iron Range study; outstate rallies to oppose gay marriage; chilly Twins games; and more.

On the day a new movie about Jackie Robinson opens, Charles Hallman, appearing on TC Daily Planet, rips the Twins: “The first of several Minnesota Twins “Diversity Days” will be Monday April 15, the day Major League Baseball (MLB) annually honors Robinson’s major league debut in 1947. “It was an important and powerful moment in baseball when Jackie Robinson broke in with the Brooklyn Dodgers,” recalls Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. Is Minnesota practicing backwards diversity? Sadly, it wasn’t an April Fools’ joke that the Twins, at their April 1 season opener this year, looked more like a team back in Robinson’s day with a total of four players of color, including the team’s only American Black player — rookie outfielder Aaron Hicks. Two Black players were traded away, and the team’s only Black coach was let go during the off-season. … Although this year’s MLB racial report card isn’t out yet, by simply looking at the photos in the team’s official yearbook we can confirm that there are no off-field diversity changes with the Twins. As of last year, there are zero Blacks in executive management and only one Black season sales director among the other 122 front-office positions.” Big-time sports aren’t exactly about affirmative action, and fewer and fewer mainland black kids are pursuing baseball, but still …

The “Mayo Plan” du jour … At MPR, Tom Scheck says: “Mayo Clinic is dropping a complicated tax plan that relies on more than $500 million in state funds to make improvements in Rochester in favor of a plan that would rely on a direct contribution from the state. The emergence of the new plan is a signal that House and Senate leaders are moving in the same direction when it comes to the subsidy for what the clinic calls the Destination Medical Center. … DFL House Tax Chair Ann Lenczewski said the House and Senate are now moving in the same direction regarding financing but hinted at differences. She says they include which entity oversees the financing, how much Rochester contributes and when public funding kicks in.”

Also queued up … Frederick Melo of the PiPress says: “The president of the Minnesota Children’s Museum is feeling “cautiously optimistic” about landing funding this year for its expansion project. Both Gov. Mark Dayton and House lawmakers have released bonding proposals that would dedicate $14 million to increase program, gallery and cafe space by about 50 percent, allowing the museum to serve 550,000 visitors annually at its downtown St. Paul museum. After a new Lowertown ballpark received state funding last year, the museum request moved to the top of the city of St. Paul’s legislative wish list.” And after that … Stan and Mavis’ backyard patio renovation in Frogtown …

Meanwhile, you gotta have cash to cover all this stuff, so … Says Baird Helgeson in the Strib: “Taxes on clothing, over-the-counter drugs, and even dance lessons and tattoos could be back in play at the Capitol as Minnesota Senate DFLers continue to look for ways to raise revenue and reform the state’s tax system. The Senate plan, released Thursday, resurrects pieces of a controversial tax proposal abandoned earlier this year by Gov. Mark Dayton. It would broaden the sales tax but also lower the overall rate to its lowest level in decades. Corporate income taxes would be trimmed … while he seldom tries to snuff out legislative proposals early in the process, Dayton staffers said Thursday that he will not embrace crucial components of the Senate’s tax overhaul. ‘We don’t have any interest in the sales tax piece,’ said Bob Hume, a Dayton spokesman.”

Article continues after advertisement

If they’re going to prevail, they have to rally ’em outstate. So … the AP is telling us: “The chief political group opposed to legal gay marriage in Minnesota is taking its case on the road with a series of greater Minnesota rallies. The first by the group, Minnesota for Marriage, is Friday evening, April 12, at Tobie’s Restaurant in Hinckley. Similar events are planned in upcoming days in Hermantown, Grand Rapids, Brainerd, Detroit Lakes, Morris, Eden Prairie, Owatonna, Austin and Montevideo. A flyer advertising the rallies argues that ‘the metro area shouldn’t be allowed to force gay marriage on the rest of the state’.” Montevideo … I gotta see that …

The GleanAlso going on the road … The AP says: “University of Minnesota researchers will travel to the Iron Range to share their findings of a lengthy study into possible links between asbestos exposure in taconite mines and a rare cancer that has taken the lives of 82 miners in recent years. The nearly $5 million study, which began five years ago, has focused on whether exposure to dust in the mines and processing plants makes workers more susceptible to mesothelioma and other respiratory diseases.”

They’ll take one look and hit the snooze alarm … Another AP story: “Minnesota’s bears are emerging from hibernation, but wildlife managers say there’s no need for alarm — just preparation. The Department of Natural Resources says bear sightings are most common in northern Minnesota, but bears can also be spotted in some cities farther south. Spring can be tough for bears, DNR bear researcher Karen Noyce said. With berries and vegetation scarce, bears may be tempted by dog food, livestock feed, bird seed, compost or garbage.”

And what do Mets fans think of playing baseball in a slush storm? Chris McShane at SB Nation says: “If you’re a Mets fan with an Internet connection, you’ve undoubtedly heard how bad the weather is in Minnesota, where the Mets will play a three-game series at outdoor Target Field this weekend. Perhaps you’re wondering what the Mets are doing playing baseball in Minnesota in April and why the Twins are playing in a stadium without a retractable roof. … Domed baseball is the worst, and the Twins aren’t any crazier to play their games outdoors than their northern counterparts. The fact that the Mets just happen to be visiting Minnesota this weekend does not mean the Twins’ decision to build an outdoor stadium was a bad one.” You only have to go to a midsummer night game in Phoenix to remember how right he is.

There was a power outage in downtown Minneapolis Friday morning. Paul Walsh of the Strib says: “Electricity was out for more than 90 minutes Friday morning in several blocks of downtown Minneapolis, darkening City Hall and police headquarters as well as many office buildings, officials said. Offices went dark at about 6:20 a.m., and power was restored to all customers at 7:55 a.m., an Xcel Energy spokesman said. The affected area was mainly east of Marquette Av. and near 5th St. Signal lights were out at many intersections.  … Xcel Energy spokeswoman Patti Nystuen said an electrical vault fire occurred about 11:30 p.m. Thursday at the U.S. West building, darkening that location, 215 S. 5th St. As workers tackled that, ‘additional problems’ forced the utility to ‘deenergize’ several nearby blocks, she said.” That’s some pretty opaque explainin’.