Twins President Jerry Bell met privately Wednesday with Gov. Jesse Ventura, discussing
the economics of baseball and the Twins desire for a new stadium, but sought no commitment
from the governor and got none.
After the half-hour meeting in the governor's office, Bell told reporters, "We
talked a lot about the problems of baseball. The governor was very interested. He told me
he was open-minded."
John Wodele, the governor's chief spokesman, who attended the meeting, called it
"very constructive. The governor asked a lot of questions. Mr. Bell did not ask for
anything. The governor made no commitments. The governor expressed to Mr. Bell that he is
receptive to listening to new ideas."
Wodele also said the governor told Bell that his focus is on his budget and tax
overhaul proposals. "He made it very clear that there isn't going to be a lot of time
to deal with stadium issues," Wodele said.
The Twins sought the meeting with Ventura, Wodele said.
Twins representatives have been meeting with legislators, soft-selling a concept that
- Team Owner Carl Pohlad contributing up to $150 million for a $300 million stadium.
Pohlad's contribution could include donations from the business community.
- The state providing an interest-free loan of $100 million to $150 million, similar to
the loan it gave to St. Paul for part of the $130 million hockey arena where the NHL's
- A host city agreeing to ante up $50 million for infrastructure and site preparation.
- Making the package contingent on Major League Baseball making basic economic changes
that include limits on players' salaries. Such limits probably would reduce the pressure
for new stadiums and the higher revenues they bring to teams.
Sen. Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon, chairman of the Senate Capital Investment Committee,
said he hasn't met with any Twins officials but doubts the Legislature would approve a
funding package this year.
"If there's the word 'stadium' in a bill, most guys will run from it," he
said. "I would be very surprised if anything happens this session."