These days, neither the Twins nor the Vikings see much of a future in the Metrodome. But a report released by the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission says the dome can still be the home of the Twins or Vikings, but not both.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig visited the Twin Cities in the wake of a report calling for baseball's "haves" to give more to the "have-nots." Appearing before the Twins-sponsored group Minnesotans for Major League Baseball, Selig promised changes will be implemented to ease the disparities between rich and poor teams and to make the game more competitive. Read more.
COMMISSIONER JOHN PACHECO says despite its critics, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome is still a viable facility.
"The Metrodome, with proper investment, can and should be the centerpiece of any overall sports facility solution," says Pacheco.
Pacheco presented the findings of a report that says for a couple-hundred million dollars, the dome can serve the needs of the Vikings or the Twins. However, he says the dome will work best for one sport. "The Metrodome can be renovated for baseball, however the best long-term baseball solution is the construction of a new ballpark in Minneapolis. The most logical and best future for the Metrodome is as a football-focused stadium that can still serve as the community's home for a variety of events both large and small."
That conclusion did not sit well with Lester Bagley, a stadium consultant for the Minnesota Vikings. He said he was blindsided by the recommendations presented by Commissioner Pacheco.
"We had no idea that the commission was going to make this report today, that this was their conclusion, that they would support a privately-financed baseball construction and that they would support a renovated Metrodome for football," he said.
Bagley said the Vikings have known about proposals to renovate the Metrodome for football, and communicated their concerns about the plans. Team owner Red McCombs has stated repeatedly that the Vikings cannot survive financially, even in an improved dome.
According to Bagley, the commission reached its conclusion without sufficient information. "It's premature to take this step until the ecomonic analysis and economic feasibility study has been completed," he said.
"If we believe this could be a quality football stadium into the future, let's put the money behind it and put the model together."
- John Pacheco
Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission
The report didn't offer any economic analysis of how the renovation would affect the Vikings or the Twins. And there was no vote on the proposal by commission members.
But Commissioner John Pacheco enthusiastically presented the findings of the report. As though anticipating criticism, he said doubters just need help to see what the dome can become. "We ought to build the model, just as the Vikings did, or the Twins did. They actually put this model together to show the people what it looked like. We need to do that. If we believe this could be a quality football stadium into the future, let's put the money behind it and put the model together."
The report is a revision of a study released in June of last year. In the report, the commission lists how the dome would take shape to accommodate the needs of the Twins, the Vikings and how that would affect the University of Minnesota. The U of M holds football, baseball and softball games in the dome. Under the football plan, the Gopher men's baseball games could not be played in the dome. Under the baseball plan, the Gophers football team would need a new home.