This is an archived version of a Field of Schemes article. Comments on this page are closed. To find the current version of the article with updated comments, click here.
February 12, 2009
Vikings, A's owners: Where is the love?
Sports team owners appear to have decided on a strategy for responding to the effects of the economic downturn on stadium prospects: whining.
- Oakland A's owner Lew Wolff, caught between a rock in Fremont and a hard place in San Jose, lashed out at opponents of his stadium plans this week. "I didn't think it would be this difficult," Wolff told local business leaders, calling those opposed to a stadium in their neighborhoods "self-interested and absurd" and complaining, "we're not building a rendering plant." He also griped about the lengthy process that has now dragged out for two and a half years: "We think those issues should be fully aired, but not forever. Somebody needs to put a timeline on it." Which would sound less whiny if not for the fact that it's also been two and a half years waiting for Wolff to produce the promised details of how his proposed stadium would be paid for.
- Not to be outdone, Minnesota Vikings VP Lester Bagley attacked Gov. Tim Pawlenty yesterday for not doing enough to land his team public funds for a $954 million stadium: "With all due respect, he's been governor for six years, and he hasn't done anything. He hasn't lifted a finger to engage in a problem-solving discussion to help us on our issue." (Well, maybe one finger.) "We've addressed this in times of surplus, in times of deficit, in election years and non-election years and they've chosen to put it off. Now, they've put it off to a point where the risk is significant to the state." The risk of what, exactly? "We have 30 games left at the Metrodome, and the issue isn't what the Wilfs will or won't do. It's that other NFL owners, other potential NFL markets and potential owners will come after this team." I know it's de rigueur for teams to deny they're making move threats even as they make them, but does Bagley really want us to believe that Ed Roski is going to stage a hostile takeover?