Team Relocation

From Fair Pay, Fair Play pages 94-98.

When Bud Selig announced MLB’s plan to contract two teams in 2001 there was understandable concern in Minnesota about the future of its My Team, the Minnesota Twins. Former Governor Arne Carlson told the Star Tribune (Minneapolis) “If you were to make a list of 10 or 15 of the most prized possessions of the state, this would probably be one of them. And you never want to lose one of your prized possessions. Never.” Former Metropolitan Council Chairman Curtis Johnson noted the role of pro-team sports in creating social harmony. “Major sports are one of the few year-to-year unifying forces we have,” he told the Star Tribune (Minneapolis) , “It’s one of the few chances we get for people of different races, classes and occupations and interests to show up in one place and for one reason. And if we win and win big, everybody is talking to one another, strangers hugging each other. … And we don’t need to lose anything that succeeds in bringing us together and makes us feel good about the community.”

In a lawsuit filed in Minnesota to block the contraction of the Twins, Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch cited Selig’s testimony before Congress in 1992: “I was deeply offended and personally affected by what I consider to be a flagrant breach of that special covenant baseball had with its fans when the Braves were allowed to move from Milwaukee to Atlanta in 1966.”

That was then, in 2001, Selig was willing to disregard that “special trust,” and more than willing to blame Minnesotans for their plight: “I’ve always said that the road of responsibility runs two ways. I know there are people in the Twin Cities who want to blame Carl [Twin’s owner Carl Pohlad], baseball, me, the owners or all of the above. But at some point in the past decade, despite 26 or so stadium proposals, there were chances to do something, and nothing got done. So there are a lot of people up there who have to look themselves in the mirror.”

After a referendum to replace a 13-year-old arena for the Charlotte Hornets failed by a large majority in 2001, the team moved forward with relocation to New Orleans. Team co-owner Ray Wooldridge was adamant about who was responsible for the move: “Everybody keeps asking what me and my partner could have done differently. No one asked, ‘What could the community have done differently, what could the political leaders have done differently?”

It’s time for you to join the team and get into the game. Share with the team your concerns/frustrations on this issue. Do you have a current example? Share it. Below the comment box you can see what the team is saying on this issue.

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