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Coleman's loss could become Twins' gain
by Bob Sansevere

There's this one question Norm Coleman just had to be asked. Do you believe in destiny?

``Yeah, I do,'' Coleman said.

His answer led to another question.

Do you think it was your destiny to lose the governor's race so you could remain mayor of St. Paul and get a stadium built that would keep the Twins in Minnesota?

``I don't know about that,'' he said. ``I do know hockey was destiny, because it was dead. It was lifeless. Breathless.''

Coleman resurrected the idea of the National Hockey League playing in St. Paul, and if you happen to drive by the site of the old Civic Center, you would see a state-of-the-art arena going up that will house the Minnesota Wild.

The Wild exist because Coleman didn't give up, because he had a termite's determination to bring the NHL back to Minnesota and have it in his city. He truly believes it was destined.

Perhaps destiny is playing a part again now.

If Coleman were governor, it would be a tougher sell to build a stadium for the Twins. He would have to go through the Legislature, which he'll still need to, to get a stadium built in St. Paul, but he can get a lot more done as mayor.

He can go into neighborhoods, his neighborhoods, where there are potential stadium sites, and talk to people. His people.

``You want to ask them, `What do you want to see,' '' Coleman said.

Do you want housing around the stadium? Do you want restaurants? Office buildings?

Wherever this new stadium would go, and the preferred location is adjacent the Mississippi River, Coleman wants to be sure the folks who live nearby approve.

``You have to start from the bottom up,'' he said. ``If it came from the top down, it would die. This is grass roots. If you started it as governor, it would be top down again.''

Top down failed the last time the Twins went looking for a new place to play. Carl Pohlad behaved as though the state owed it to him to fund a stadium. All he did was increase the number of people who thought he was nothing more than a skinflinty, corporate blackmailing, pain-in-the-rump billionaire.

Coleman is the point man on this attempt. Which is smart. You want to keep Pohlad as far from the forefront as possible.

Coleman's plan is quite simple. If St. Paul, the state and the Twins all agree to kick in money, the stadium would get built.

``I need Jesse. I know that,'' Coleman said of the man who beat him for governor, Jesse ``The Self-Promoter'' Ventura.

When Ventura is done flitting around the country hawking his book, Coleman wants to get together with him and explain why a stadium in St. Paul is a good idea and why the state should help build it.

Ventura has said he doesn't want the state to finance the building of stadiums, but Coleman believes he can make a persuasive enough argument to sway the governor. (Coleman might want to look into T-shirt and action figure tie-ins; Ventura is a sucker for those.)

``It's a great opportunity for the governor to team up with me,'' Coleman said. ``He can use his bully pulpit to get baseball to deal with small-market teams like the Twins.''

In other words, the next time Ventura is Jay Leno's guest he can call baseball owners such as George Steinbrenner all sorts of nasty names for their unwillingness to share the wealth with the cheapskate billionaires such as Pohlad who have small-market teams.

``I'd work hand in hand with Jesse. This has got to be close to his heart. He can speak up for the little guy,'' Coleman said. ``It's a great opportunity for him.''

Who knows, maybe Jesse Ventura's destiny is to help Norm Coleman fulfill his destiny and get a stadium built.