While Carlson meets with Selig, Griffith readies Twins bid
Oct. 07, 1997
ST. PAUL (AP) _ Major League Baseball's acting commissioner gave Gov. Arne Carlson no reason to believe baseball owners would prevent the Minnesota Twins from becoming the North Carolina Triplets.
Carlson and a group of legislators flew to Milwaukee on Monday to ask Bud Selig how Twins owner Carl Pohlad's deal to sell the team to North Carolina businessman Don Beaver would fare with team owners. Beaver wants to move the team to the Triad area of North Carolina, which includes Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and High Point.
``There will be permission for Carl Pohlad to leave if a stadium is not built,'' Carlson said after a meeting with Selig, owner of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe, who took part in the meeting in Milwaukee, said Selig's response to the possible move seemed ``choreographed'' to put pressure on legislators to approve a new stadium.
Three-fourths of the American League's owners and half the owners in the National League must approve a team sale and relocation.
``For anybody to think in this day and age you can consign an owner to either uncompetitiveness or bankruptcy is sheer folly,'' Selig said at a Milwaukee news conference.
Selig also urged a quick resolution, saying ``further delay is just patently unfair to the Twins. That's who gets hurt.''
Pohlad has said he can't afford to lose any more money in the Metrodome, and that the team must have a baseball-only stadium with revenue from suites, club seating and other amenities.
But a local rival for the team, Clark Griffith, said he's confident it's not in the league's interest to move the team south where it's likely to lose even more money than in the Twin Cities.
``Selig should ... explain how moving a lame duck team, placing the team in a bandbox ballpark for a number of years, then moving it to a smaller market is a solution,'' he said.
Griffith, son of former Twins owner Calvin Griffith, said he expects to have his investment group's bid ready to present to Pohlad by the end of next week.
At about $80 million, it probably falls about $50 million to $70 million below Beaver's undisclosed offer.
But Griffith said the local deal likely involves less debt than Beaver's offer, an arrangement he contends should appeal to the league and fans because it would allow new owners to put more money into talent.
``You want people dealing with baseball players, not bankers,'' he said.
Griffith said the team would still need a new stadium under his group's ownership, but could survive financially for several more years in the Metrodome.
Pohlad signed a letter of intent Friday to sell the team to Beaver, but the Minnesota Legislature can void the sale by approving a publicly subsidized ballpark before Nov. 30.
Carlson plans to call a special session the week of Oct. 20 to deal with the issue.
``November 30th will be enforced,'' Carlson said. ``The Legislature has two choices: build and keep the Twins or don't build and let them go.''