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Socrates' Stadium Philosophy Unveiled
by Mark Zdechlik
January 7, 2000
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An East coast man with a history of unrealized stadium plans around the country has unveiled another, this time for the Minnesota Twins and the Vikings. Socrates Babacas says he has a plan to build a $350 million retractable roof stadium in the northern Twin Cities suburb of Lino Lakes.

BEFORE REVEALING any details of his stadium plans, Massachusetts businessman Socrates Babacas enlisted the services of a cleric for a rather unusual beginning to a news conference that seemed to get stranger as it dragged on.

Babacas says he has brought his stadium plan to Minnesota because the Metrodome is not suitable for the Twins, the Vikings or for Minnesotans.
Babacas:You need me badly. You have the worst stadium in America. You have to walk 60 steps for a hot dog, which is stupid. You ought to have a level where you can just walk in and get some food.
Babacas' solution: a new stadium in Lino Lakes with natural grass and a retractable-dome roof. He calls it the Stardome.
Babacus: The project will take 24 months to build. The height of the dome will be 24 stories. The sports complex will soon be known as the sports capital of the world.
Perhaps the best part, according to Babacas, is all of it would be built at no expense to taxpayers.
Babacus: The taxpayers are sick and tired of paying for private enterprise.
Babacas says he has purchased a 363-acre plot of farmland in Lino Lakes for his stadium complex. He says he has raised $600 million to build the facility and to buy the Minnesota Twins. But he became angry when reporters sought specifics about his finances.
Babacus: It's none of your business.
Babacas did say there would be free parking for 25,000 cars; that advertising on light poles would cover that cost. He also said hot dogs would cost no more than $2.

Babacas says he's serious and plans to buy the Minnesota Twins within 60 days and to break ground on his stadium by June first. He even met with Governor Ventura last week.
Babacus: And I'm giving a lot of credit to your great governor who thinks like I do. He loved me dearly. In fact I've got a letter here in which he gives me his endorsement.
Actually, according to the governor's office, Babacas does not have Ventura's Endorsement. It was more of a gubernatorial blessing - a wish of good luck, according to spokesman John Woedele.

A man who identified himself as the owner of the proposed stadium site in Lino Lakes said Babacas has not bought the land but has an option to buy it. An official with the Vikings says the team met with Babacas 10 days ago as a courtesy, but will not meet with him again unless he can prove he has the financial wherewithal to undertake the project.

Twins President Jerry Bell has called Babacas' ideas a "joke." Lino Lakes Economic Development official Mary Ellis says it's unrealistic that there will be any groundbreaking of a $350 million stadium in her community this spring.
Ellis:I don't know if he's uninformed or just optimistic.
Ellis says Lino Lakes first heard from Babacas just a few days ago. She says the city's official position is that it's too early to pass judgment.
Ellis: Do we take it seriously? It's too early to even say whether we take it seriously or not. We certainly find it somewhat interesting.
Lino Lakes Economic Development Official Mary Ellis.

Socrates Babacas has a history unfulfilled stadium promises. According to news reports, he's brought proposals that materialized to Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Chicago and New England.