Despite today’s weather, a roof for the new stadium is hard to justify

OK, you ask, so why didn’t the Twins, Hennepin County, the state, Tim Pawlenty and anyone else who had a chance put some sort of a roof on the new Twins ballpark?

Besides the $200 million price tag, you mean? And the tight space on the stadium’s site?

For gosh sakes, it’s Opening Day, and it’s snowing. Think how embarrassing it’ll be in two years when Hennepin County Taxpayers Park opens and the wet, white stuff is coming down.

Carl, open that checkbook!

As Bill Clinton would say, “Chill out, folks.”

And let’s go to the stats, which I did this morning.

Way back in 1996, at the start of the Twins ballpark debate, Twins officials put together a top-secret document about rainouts and snowouts at Met Stadium between 1961 and 1981. They also compiled a report on the “high probability” of certain games being canceled, postponed or stopped since 1982 … had the Metrodome not had a roof.

MinnPost has obtained those reports. (They were neatly filed in a box in my attic. That’s how secret they were.)

Here’s what our investigators uncovered:

Between 1961 and 1981, the most games ever canceled by weather in a season at the old Met was seven, in 1980. According to the handwritten spreadsheet, the 1962, 1964 and 1970 Openers were the only ones affected. Three Openers in 21 seasons.

Between 1982 and 1996 — about the time the Twins ballpark argument commenced at the Legislature — only 1983, 1991 and 1992 would have been Dome openers when snow/rain/cold would have canceled games, had they been forced to play outdoors.

So, including today, since 1961, that’s seven home openers out of 48 — or about 15 percent – that would have been problematic. But, if Opening Day were pushed each time beyond April 15, it looks like all but one of those snow/rain/cold days would have been avoided.

Therefore, when the new ballpark opens, Twins officials and the state must lobby to make sure all home Openers occur no earlier than April 16. And, as you look out your window today, shake your head and say, “Why didn’t those dingdongs put a roof on the new place?” remember this: It was hard enough to get a $544 million stadium approved without a roof.

And a half-billion is a lot easier to say than $750 million.

As for 2010: Save up, and buy a coat. It’s cheaper.

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by David Lawler on 03/31/2008 - 01:19 pm.

    Jay…Please check on the dates of the home openers…they are starting these seasons 2 weeks earlier than back in the Old Met days…I went to a home opener on April 13th…and it seemed early…
    This is the time of the year where it is hard to know what season it is…yesterday was nice…today, not so much…

  2. Submitted by William Jewell on 03/31/2008 - 11:23 pm.

    The $200 Million cost to Carl was not worth it but with even a 20 life of the Ballpark the $10 million a year would be more than recovered in tourism dollars to say nothing of the “related” tourism brought about by the image of a better downtown and state’s image.

    The tourism effect also will have an impact in the selection of a site for a new Vikings stadium, the Vikings in an “unusual” tactic got the MSFC to bank roll $1 Million on top of another $350,000 for a “study” which includes a “stadium design” but the real “ploy” was the “defacto” selection of the Metrodome Site instead of letting the public have a choice.

    The Mall of America, during informal disscussions, has had 90% of the people smiling to the suggestion that is the where the stadium should go. The Metrodome with an “event only” draw will have limited tourism value where-as a MOA site, between Killabrew and 86th St., will leveragle the investment and the event draw to include tourism and, of course, shopping at MOA.

    Another major factor is image and the message we will present to the Republican National Convention, at present we are going with the slogan, “Minneapolis Saint Paul, more to life.” Mayor Chris Coleman talked about the 15,000 media that will be here for the RNC and matching that slogan up against the news that a Vikings Stadium, along with a “upgraded” Phase II, would make the World’s Most Famous Mall the World’s Largest Mall will be a message that the 5 Billion people will remember. If you get only a .003% return on tourism during the next 5 years it amounts to a conservative $15 Billion tourism influx, 10% in tax revenue and 15,000 new jobs plus an image that the states is, again, moving forward.

    So there is more to stadium cost’s than the cost itself, it’s what you do to leverage the business aspect of the investment. Had a “writer,” Jay, suggest the name of a Sports Business Magazine, which I forgot, but bet the subject is covered there-in. More details on stadiums and tourism at my web site,

    While on the subject of the Metrodome site, the StarTribune, any Minnpost writers heard of that paper, have a vested interest in not doing a survey on where the people would like the Vikings stadium as they would like to sell $45 Million worth of land as part of the package. Their coverage of that Vikings Study at the Capitol was watered down compared to the Pioneer Press coverage. Governor Pawlenty’s role might have “interest” and I think that Lori Swanson as Attorney General should take a look and see if the people should have a say in this matter.

    KSTP-TV mentioned on its 10:00 newscast and I must say the quality of writing on your site is fantastic. Will be writting a piece for the Strib. to see how they handle a “suggestion” for a Mall of America Site, or a survey on same, so if someone would like to include these thoughts in a Minnpost story, or you want to post it, it would be welcomed. A trade, Pioneer Press is a little weak on content, Minnpost is not, a Minnpost Section in the Press?, legal for ex-strib’s to do so? Keep up the good work.

    Bill Jewell

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