BEGGAR THE QUESTION

Last Friday, on a balmy afternoon in downtown Minneapolis, our thoughts turned to spring,

then to baseball, then, as they will, to a new, retractable-dome stadium. But where would the money come from? The Minnesota Wins organization is being far too slow, we think, in capitalizing on Minneapolis's gnawing hunger for a new ballpark, and so we at City Pages took matters into our own hands. Dressed in our finest business livery (coat and tie, parka, Sorels) we went downtown and did what no captain of industry would ever do in an effort to raise public funds: We walked up to people and asked them for their money face-to-face. We talked to people all over downtown, people of all races, sexes, ages, and apparent athletic ability. Over 50 people were approached. What follows are the reactions of some of the sports-crazed citizens of Minneapolis.

On Nicollet Mall (by Dayton's):

CP: Excuse me, ma'am. I'm trying to help the Twins raise enough money to build a new stadium. Could you spare a quarter to get things going?

Citizen A: Not interested.

CP: Excuse me, ladies. Could you spare a dollar or two to get the ball rolling on a new stadium for the Twins?

Citizen B: I'm not sure I agree with that facility.

CP: Hello, sir. I'm trying to get the people of Minneapolis to show their support of the Twins by gathering money to help them build that stadium they need so badly. Could you give me 50 cents?

Citizen C: (before walking into Crate & Barrel): No thank you.

On Second Avenue (near WCCO Radio and Nick's Sporting Goods):

CP: Excuse me, sir. I think we all know the future of our city is intimately tied to sports teams like the Twins. Could you spare a quarter to help me help them? They really need a new stadium.

Citizen D: I don't like the Twins.

CP: Do you think you'd like them in a new stadium?

Citizen D: I doubt it.

CP: Hi. I'm walking the streets of downtown trying to help the Twins raise money for a new stadium. Is there anything you could do to help?

Citizen E: (a young woman, and the only person who showed even a glimmer of interest): I'd love to help. I love the Twins. I just don't have any money on me right now.

CP: (Sure.)

Around the Federal Building:

CP: Hey guys, I'm trying to raise money downtown today because the Twins could use a new stadium. What do you say we all pitch in a few bucks to help them out.

Citizen F: They get too much money anyway.

Citizen G: No.

Citizen H: Nope. No way.

CP: Hey ladies, I really need some help. We're trying to raise a lot of money to get the Twins a new stadium so they'll stay in town and not leave us for another city. I'm trying to build some grassroots support. How about it?

Citizen I: I don't know.

Citizen J: The Twins? I don't like having them here in the first place.

CP: Excuse me, sir. I'm out here doing every little thing I can to make sure the Twins have a new stadium. Could you spare a quarter to help the cause?

Citizen K (stops cold): You're asking me for a quarter to build a stadium?

CP: Yes.

Citizen K (angry): Well either you're an idiot or you think I'm an idiot.

CP: I'm not an idiot, sir. Just a sports fan.

Citizen K (walks off): Jesus fucking Christ!

The Warehouse District:

CP (to a man walking out of Sex World): Excuse me, sir. I think we all appreciate the resources this city has to offer, and I'm out here today trying to protect one of those resources. Can I have a quarter?

Citizen L walks away without answering.

CP: (to a skater practicing his ollies outside the library): Whassup. Say, do you have a quarter you can give me so I can give it to the Twins to help them build a new stadium.

Citizen M: I don't have a quarter. I used it all on the bus.

CP: Thanks anyway. See you later.

Citizen M: (shouting after us): I'll give you a quarter if you build a skate park. We need that more than we need a new stadium.

Total funds amassed for new
stadium: $0.00

In examining our efforts, it's unclear why more money wasn't raised. We were dressed nicely; we were polite; we were asking for money for a cause we all support. Many of the people we approached were smokers outside on break, people who one would think would welcome an open-air, possibly smoker-friendly sports arena. We covered every part of downtown, including the heart of the warehouse district, where they serve their porn neat, no chaser, and where the porn-sports connection should have yielded ample coin. Who knows what to conclude? Maybe we should have asked for money for light-rail.

-- Dennis Cass

PUBLICDOMAIN

It's safe to say that the newspapers have never done anything for the homeless except to provide a little practical insulation from the cold. Yet every year around this time the papers (not to mention the television stations) publish reams of stories about the plight of the homeless. It's as much a tradition of the season as the Christmas Carol and the Holidazzle Parade. We wanted to determine the scope of this phenomenon, so we dialed up our trusty online database of regional American newspapers and plugged in "homeless,"which resulted in 13,103 articles since 1989 (3,096 less than "weather," 33,800 less than "food," 84,073 less than "television," and 85,229 less than "home"). We narrowed our search to "homeless and the United States" and true to our hypothesis, found the month of December peaks the season of stories:

MONTH: NUMBER OF ARTICLES ABOUT THE HOMELESS

January: 25

February: 17

March: 25

April: 19

May: 29

June: 16

July: 12

August: 9

September: 20

October: 18

November: 22

December: 44

 
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