I’m sitting in the press box at Target Field in Minneapolis right now, getting ready to cover the Rangers vs. Twins game and Yu Darvish’s second career start.
I guess now is as good a time as any to bring Packers fans up to speed on the stadium fight happening across the border in Minnesota.
Target Field is a beautiful stadium. It’s quaint, it’s comfortable, the sightlines are excellent and there are very few silly gimmicks. Like most stadiums, Target Field received a sizeable public subsidy in order to get built.
This made people angry. Why should the billionaire owner of a sports franchise get public money to build a stadium for his millionaire players?
Of course, once it was built, you didn’t hear much complaining. It’s tough to complain when you’re watching outdoor baseball in a beautiful stadium while sipping on a cold beverage. Or maybe everyone who was mad at first realized their anger didn’t stop the stadium from being built so they might as well try and enjoy it.
I don’t know where I stand on public funding for sports stadiums. Deep down, I know it’s wrong, and I should be outraged. But I never really am.
Maybe it’s because I love sports too much and I’m biased. Maybe it’s because I understand that we don’t live in a utopia, and sometimes the American process of making major projects a reality is ugly and unfair. Or maybe I truly am anti-sports stadium subsidies, but realize I’m powerless to do anything about it so I’ve become indifferent.
Either way, we’re in the middle of the another such debate here in Minnesota. It’s the Vikings turn for a new stadium, and owner Zygi Wilf wants the public to pick up the tab for a sizable portion of a new $975 million Vikings palace.
As a Packers fan, I’d rather stab myself in the groin with a fork than pay for a Vikings stadium. As a taxpayer, I become nauseous just thinking about giving Wilf, a billionaire, some of my hard-earned money. As a Minnesotan, I don’t like everyone’s attention focused on paying for a new Vikings stadium when this state has other issues to deal with.
But in the end, it comes down to this: As a Packers fan, taxpayer and Minnesotan, would I be fine with the Vikings moving to another state? Because that’s what will probably happen if a new stadium isn’t built.
My answer to that question is no.
As a Packers fan, I’d have to find a new team to be Green Bay’s second biggest rival. Detroit just doesn’t fit the bill quite yet.
As a taxpayer, I’d miss the state income taxes paid by players and coaches and the economic development in the immediate vicinity of the stadium.
As a Minnesotan…well I’d be fine if the Vikings left because they truly are a disgrace and embarrassment to this state. Two out of three isn’t bad, I guess.
So bottom line, will the stadium get built? I think so. They always do, don’t they?
If the process doesn’t speed up, Wilf will likely threaten to move the team, the politicians will cave, the stadium will get built, and rube Vikings fans in Helga horns will continue annoy Packers fans for the foreseeable future.
As nice as it is watching a baseball game under the sun at Target Field, it wouldn’t feel right watching the Packers play the Los Angeles Vikings under the Hollywood sun in California.
Nick Collins, Hard Knocks and Offseason Workouts
- Tom Silverstein had the story of the week with his in-depth report on Nick Collins’ injury and the prospects of him returning to the Packers. Our own Matthew J. Stein also weighed in on the issue. Collins wants to play, and if the doctors clear him to do so, I hope he plays. Obviously, my main concern is Collins’ health, and what better way to show that he’s truly healthy than to take the field again.
- Kevin McCauley at Acme Packing Company says don’t get your hopes up for the Packers appearing on HBO’s Hard Knocks. Good. You can’t capture all that is the Green Bay Packers in an hour television show. You’d need a book, maybe several. I still wish Ted Thompson would give someone access to write the Packers version of Moneyball, to be published long after Thompson retires, of course.
- Remember when NFL teams could conduct offseason programs? If you need a reminder, read this from Rob Demovsky. The new collective bargaining agreement limits what teams can do in the offseason, but as Aaron Rodgers and the Packers taught us last season, offseason workouts might not be such a huge deal after all.
In Case you Missed It
- Aaron Rodgers is in the final four for the Madden 13 cover. Go here to vote. Just to be safe, vote for anybody but Rodgers.
- Bill Huber from Packer Report has the Packers picking Wisconsin G Kevin Zeitler at No. 28 in a mock draft. Oh boy, that’ll get Packers fans riled up. Those of you who read me regularly know I abide 100 percent by the best player available draft philosophy, but in this case, I’m not sure I agree that Zeitler is a better player than Boise State LB Shea McClellin.
- I’d like to also be in the stands for No. 2 on John Rehor’s Packers bucket list.
- If you enjoyed Aaron Nagler’s insight and perspective on the Packers when he was at CheeseheadTV, make sure you read his work on the entire NFL over at The Go Route.
- This is a must read from Chris Brown over at Smart Football. The topic: No huddle and up-tempo offenses.
- I guess Axl Rose won’t be re-uniting with his original Guns ‘n Roses bandmates any time soon. Damn.
Non-Packers Thought of the Week
How about the balance of power shifting to the American league in baseball?
The Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Tigers, Angels and Rangers all have the talent to win it all. Teams like the Blue Jays and Indians are young enough to also make some noise with a few breaks.
I don’t think there are any teams in the National League that can match the tops teams in the AL.
Of course, anything can happen in a seven game series, but right now, my money is on an American League team winning it all this season.——————