September 2008

NO HAT FOR MARY, NO ROOF FOR YOU!!

A REMINDER:  CLICK ON ANY PHOTO TO ENLARGE
 
The Royals finish the 2008 season at the Metrodome.  They will also finish 2009 there, in what will be the last regular season game the Twins ever play in the building that’s been their home since 1982.  Just a matter of blocks from the Metrodome, construction of a $517 million OUTDOOR ballpark is well underway. Scheduled to open in April, 2010, Target Field will offer fans all the modern amenities the new generation of ballparks have spawned:  great site lines, wonderful concessions, close proximity to the field….and….oh yeah….MINNESOTA WEATHER!!
 
Twins Ballpark.jpg
It was a long battle to get a new ballpark, and securing all that public money was very difficult. But getting the additional $100 million for a retractable roof proved to be impossible.  So even though a generation (or more) of Twin Cities fans have come to know baseball as (at times) an indoor refuge from the elements, they’ll find out what their parents and grandparents learned before them:  It gets cold in Minneapolis!!
 
Centerfield Construction.jpgBefore you ask “if they couldn’t get a roof, why not just stay in the Metrodome?” let me stop you right there.  New ballparks are, of course about fans, but they’re also about money.  The new ballpark, even with the occasional snow-out and/or rainout, will generate a LOT more revenue.  For example, the Vikings get all luxury suite revenue in the Dome, the Twins get none of it.  The Twins will be in much better financial shape in their new home. 
 
Of course, those of you old enough will remember that Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington (on the site where the Mall of America now sits) was the home of the Twins and Vikings through 1981, so it has been proven that a full baseball season CAN happen in the elements.
 
Rendering.jpg
 

Here’s what it will look like when it’s completed in 2010.  Looks beautiful.  Royals VP Mike Swanson tells us the Royals played in the last baseball game in the old outdooor stadium and the Chiefs played in the last game of any type at “The Met.”Bob with Rendering.jpg 

 
 
Bob Davis pointing to the (heated, we hope) broadcast booths.  With Minneapolis-based Target buying the naming rights, it’ll be called Target Field, which means they won’t have batting practice, they’ll have..anyone? anyone?  yes… TARGET PRACTICE!Mary Tyler Moore Statue.jpg
 
 
 
 
 
Between the old ballpark and the new one underconstruction, you can find Mary Richards (aka Mary Tyler Moore) throwing away her hat in Midtown Minneapolis.  The Twins will follow suit in 2010.  All kidding aside, it looks like a beautiful ballpark, and I look forward to seeing itMary Tyler Moore Plaque.jpg.
 
 
 
 
Nice to remember the great Mary Tyler Moore show from the 1970′s in her fictitious hometown.

LARGE AND IN-CHARGE

Olathe resident and former NBA player Manute Bol is big.  As Rodney Dangerfield once described Jimmy Carter (played by Dan Akroyd) in a 70′s Saturday Night Live skit, in which the President had become a giant after being exposed to radiation at the leaking 3 Mile Island plant, “He’s so big, he could sit on the Brooklyn Bridge and dangle his feet in the water!”  OK, that’s one of my all-time reaches, but it is, afterall, my blog.
 
Manute is 7 feet 7, and he’s got a heart to match.  At a recent Royals game he sat in the Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat (he deserves a medal for being able to squeeze into a normal-sized ballpark chair!).  The Royals recognized him for all the work he does to help raise money and awareness about the plight of his native country, Sudan.  He’s actively involved in Sudan Sunrise, a non-profit, non-denominational organization that helps facilitate the efforts in South Sudan in education, health, community development and church planting.  He plans to return to Sudan in the next few weeks…as he’s heading an effort to build a school in his home village.

Manute Bol.jpg  
  

Manute can call anybody “Shorty.”  I’m 5′ 11″ by the way.  Manute played for Washington back when they were the “Bullets.”  He also played for Golden State, Philadelphia and Miami.  As you might guess, he was an all-world shot-blocker in his day.   He twice blocked EIGHT shots in a single quarter!  He played in the NBA from 1985 through 1994.

 

Maunte Bol in Dugout.jpg
 

 

 

 Trey Hillman has a chat with Manute Bol.  Too bad the Royals aren’t in need of a first baseman.  It would be almost impossible to “sail” a throw over his head!  7 feet 7 inches, but just 220 pounds.  That’s lean.  At one point he was a teammate of five-foot-three-inch Muggsy Bogues.  They were the tallest and shortest NBA players in history, and on the same team!  Besides his athleticism and his big heart, he’s also known for having a great sense of humor.
 

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