Mess With the Best, Sing With the Rest
OFF BEAT WAS distractedly eyeballing an itinerary for Gov. Jesse Ventura's May 3 trip to Chicago (where he's pimping Minnesota tourism), when our eyes grew wide and our hands began to tremble. Yes indeedy, Ventura spokesman John Wodele confirmed when we stopped hyperventilating long enough to give him a holler, the governor will really, truly be singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" at the Cubs-Astros game at Wrigley Field that day. (If you've got cable, you can catch it live on WGN-TV.) Wodele acknowledges that Ventura's singing has come under criticism in the past. "Unfairly, I might add. I thought he did a great job, and I'm not just sucking up to him," says Wodele, in reference to the gube's inauguration-ball duet with Warren Zevon, which a Rolling Stone scribe described as "remarkably off key," and which created a mini-uproar after Ventura reacted angrily to a state capitol reporter's question about whether he intended to sign up for singing lessons. Wodele says he doesn't believe the governor has received any coaching to prepare for his upcoming gig. Could Off Beat perhaps get a preview of the governor's rendition of the classic baseball ditty to post on our Web site? Wodele politely declines, but adds, "We did not accept their invitation to the seventh-inning-stretch singing thing until we secured an invitation from the Minnesota Twins to do the same thing." The governor's office has drawn up a short list of possible Twins games at which Ventura might croon.
Mess With the Best, Dress Like the Rest
WE'RE KINDA PARTIAL to our carefully cultivated cravat-and-smoking-jacket look, but if Off Beat were the T-shirt type, we'd happily shell out $12.99 (plus shipping) for a little number we found on a Web site called T-Shirt Central: a classic white cotton shirt with the slogan "WWJD" emblazoned across the front in big, green block letters. Above that, in smaller type: "What Would Jesse Do?" And below: "God Only Knows..." Want one? Scope out www.tshirtcentral.com/
Take Us Out to the Ballgame...Please!
LAST WEEK STAR TRIBUNE editorial writer Steve Berg wrote a signed commentary headlined "The splendid stadium that the Giants built," praising the newly opened Pacific Bell Park as "magnificent" and deeming its setting "the most spectacular in sports." Pac Bell, of course, is most notable for being the only U.S. baseball stadium in the past four decades to have been constructed with mostly private funding: The project reportedly cost the Giants' ownership $319 million. San Francisco kicked in $15 million in tax-increment financing; according to a recent Los Angeles Times article, the city also spent some $11 million to assemble the 13-acre site it's leasing to the team. Back to Berg, who concludes by opining that "Minnesota, where the public remains firmly against any public money for a new Twins ballpark, should closely monitor the San Francisco experiment." Off Beat can't help but recall past Strib editorials that either pooh-poohed the San Francisco model, denigrated private financing in general, or simply ignored that entire issue in favor of agitating for a substantial public investment to build the Twins a new stadium. (For a summary of the Star Tribune's evolving take on the public-financing issue, see our story "The Rise and Fall of an Edifice Complex," October 20, 1999.) Just this past November, in fact, one editorial noted that "a privately funded ballpark isn't quite the solution it seems. A team that builds its own stadium won't be able to afford much of a roster. This is the situation San Francisco now faces."
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