ST. PAUL, Minn. Updated 10:41 p.m. November 13, 1997
It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings, they say. Tonight, she sang, loudly.
If you're a fan of the Minnesota Twins, it's not looking good for you.
The Minnesota House, by a substantial 84-47 margin, shot down a bill to finance a
stadium for the Twins that would have traded community ownership of the team for a
Then they adjourned. For good.
It is the death knell to the team, according to Rep. Loren Jennings, DFL-Harris, an
author of the defeated bill. Speaking to WCCO-Radio tonight, he said there is no Plan B.
"The citizens of Minnesota saw baseball die, professional baseball die, on Nov.
13, 1997," Jennings said in an interview with WCCO-Radio's Eric Eskola. "The
question is, Eric, will you live long enough to see it when it comes back?"
The Senate adjourned earlier in the evening without casting a vote on their version of
the bill. But they had intended to come back to work in the morning to try again. The
House's decision to give up the ghost effectively decides the issue for the entire
At this point, the only hope for keeping the Twins in Minnesota seems to be for Gov.
Arne Carlson to declare yet another special legislative session -- it would be the fourth
of the year. He could call lawmakers back a final time to hammer out a proposal to keep
the team here before the Twins are sold and move to the East Coast.
But he would have to do so quickly enough for the Legislature to meet, figure out a
plan and pass it, all by Nov. 30. That, the Twins have said, is the "drop-dead
date" on which they will sell the team to North Carolina businessman Don Beaver
unless a stadium funding plan is passed.
However, WCCO-TV reported at 10 p.m. tonight, the governor's chief of staff says
Carlson will not call the Legislature back to work again this year.
Another vague possibility is that the the Twins' self-declared Nov. 30 deadline could
be waived and the issue tackled again next year, during the regular legislative session in
the spring. In debates tonight, Rep. Dee Long suggested that the deadline was an
artificial one, and that it may not be a real deadline at all.
The Twins insist it is. So now, the issue is squarely in the hands of Twins owner Carl
But team officials told WCCO-TV tonight they are out of luck, out of time, and late
next year, almost certainly out of town.
"Forty-seven votes," mused a dejected Twins team President Jerry Bell.
"For a team that's been donated to the state, for a stadium that's clearly paid 100
percent with user fees. And if that's all the votes you can get, there comes a time when
you have to admit ... that it's over."
Asked directly whether the Twins are now moving to North Carolina, Bell would only say,
"No comment," WCCO-TV's Pat Kessler reported.
WCCO-Radio reported at 7 p.m. tonight that the state Senate had recessed until 9 a.m.
Friday, insuring that they would not pitch in with their part of the issue's resolution
However, the House's position is now abundantly clear.
The House could've decided to pick up the issue again tomorrow morning, but refused.
Now, barring the governor's successful intervention, the issue is dead and the Twins
appear on their way to becoming an historical footnote.