Monday, November 28, 2005

Sid's Scare Tactics Strike Again

Sid Hartman writes:

Memo to Gov. Tim Pawlenty and other politicians who are negative about building stadiums: The presence of the Browns in town to face the Vikings today is a reminder of how the Cleveland area lost the Browns to Baltimore when nobody thought it would happen, lost its pro hockey team in a merger with the North Stars and also would have lost the Indians to this area in the late 1950s if a lease hadn't prevented them from moving. I spoke with my friend Art Modell last week -- he moved the Browns to Baltimore -- and he talked of "how frustrated you get not being able to make it financially and finally you say to yourself, 'I've had it,' and make the move." Yes, one of these days Carl Pohlad will reach that frustration level and the Twins will be gone.

So Sid wants us Twins fans to be scared because the Indians almost moved (to either Minnesota or Milwaukee) about 50 years ago, and the NHL couldn't make a last-place expansion hockey team work in Cleveland in the '70s? Even by the standards of shameless scare tactics, that's really scraping the barrel.

OK, the Browns leaving Cleveland came as a shock; but the story is a lot more complicated than 'owner gets frustrated with uncooperative government officials and finally has to leave.'

For starters, that Modell quote about how he couldn't make it financially in Cleveland is a load of crap.

Modell had free rent in Cleveland Stadium, he owned the luxury suites, and he took the profits from sub-leasing the stadium to the Indians and other special events. The city had offered to build him a domed stadium as part of the Gateway Complex. He didn't want to be part of it. He liked his sweet deal in Cleveland Stadium, he just wanted the city to pay for improvements to the old place, but he got angry when he lost some profits from the luxury suites after the Indians and other events moved to Jacobs Field. Within a couple years of that happening, he broke his lease to go to Baltimore.

Art Modell was the bad guy. Everybody knew it, and the NFL recognized it by arranging the deal that let Cleveland keep the Browns name, colors, and history and gave the city a team in the next expansion. Is that a cautionary tale for Twins fans--vile owner takes team away, but state gets new team bearing the old team's name, colors, and history within a few years?

Anyway, Modell could bolt to Baltimore because he found a city willing and eager to fork over a stadium deal even richer than the one he had in Cleveland. There is nothing of the kind tempting Pohlad to move the Twins out of Minnesota right now.

Sid, your little games are not helping. Shut up.


At 11/29/2005 1:53 PM, Anonymous spycake said...

It seems that with the passage of time, a lot of people are softening up on ol' Art Modell, especially the Minnesota stadium backers.

It seems like a weird case... Modell didn't want a new stadium (since he wouldn't control it, presumably?), but rather improvements to the old stadium. And when the city was apparently ready to agree to those improvements... he left? Because without the Indians as tenants, and with competition from the new Gateway complex, his remodeled stadium wouldn't make as much money anyway?

I'll have to do more research, I suppose. The Strib article seemed really one-sided.

At 12/01/2005 10:56 PM, Anonymous Aaron (Spew) said...

I don't know if you ever had the misfortune of spinning past 'CCO on Sundays (I think that's when he has his little talk show on).

I swear, everytime I've happened upone the show, it's Sid being dense as ever, shouting down callers who are against the owner of a pro sports franchise essentially extorting money out of the taxpayers.

Sid looks like nothing more than a shill for his owner "pals", and it's tired.

He should stick to silly gossip, like Charley Walters.

At 12/03/2005 12:35 PM, Anonymous spycake said...

I love it when Sid shouts, "Pohlad wouldn't own the ballpark! The public would own the ballpark!" And he's right. Yes, the county (or whatever entity they set up to control it) would own the ballpark, the one proposed, designed, and built especially for its sole tenant, the Minnesota Twins.

At 12/04/2005 2:33 AM, Blogger frightwig said...

Pohlad wouldn't own the ballpark--he'd just take all the profits out of it.

Hey, Sid. Buy me a house by the lake. You won't live there. It'll be my vacation home, and I'll rent it out when I'm not there. I'll collect on all the rent and keep the profit when I sell the place someday. But you'll own it! To prove it, I'll even let you pay for a share of the upkeep. How's that sound?

At 4/06/2006 4:41 AM, Blogger Carnival said...

Hi, I was just wandering the blogosphere and here I am at your blog. I enjoy the style of how this all works.

This is one to watch.


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