Despite extensive security preparations, during the third inning of last night's All-Star Game -- right before the retiring Derek Jeter's final ever at-bat during the Midsummer Classic -- someone managed to place a banner over Target Field's right field video board that said, "Love Water Not Oil."
The slogan appears to be a reference to Honor the Earth, a Native-led environmental organization established by Winona LaDuke and the Indigo Girls. In May, the organization held a "Love Water Not Oil" benefit concert in Duluth and on Madeline Island, with all proceeds going "to defend our waters, lands and communities from pipelines and practices of dangerous resource extraction."
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As you'd expect, before too long the banner was removed:
We called the Minneapolis Police Department and Twins officials to get more information. Our calls weren't immediately returned (see update below), but witness accounts indicate the protester pulled off a death-defying stunt worthy of a Hollywood film.
Sign has been removed. Police and security teamed up to climb ramp behind the scoreboard and get it.-- Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) July 16, 2014
The protester jumped across a 7-foot gap between a parking ramp and a ladder that provides access to the top of the video board, hung the banner, and then jumped back to the ramp, the Star Tribune reports. Had they not made it either coming or going, the protester would've fallen all the way down to the street, likely to their death.
The banner was later removed by experienced stadium employees using full safety harnesses, the Strib adds.
Was it worth it? It certainly wouldn't have been had either of the protester's jumps fallen short. But they made it, and we did devote a paragraph to talking about Honor the Earth, didn't we?
:::: UPDATE ::::
Matt Hoy, Twins senior VP for operations, says there's no precedent for last night's risky stunt.
"Nobody has ever tried to jump across that gap before," Hoy tells us. "The older I get, the more fragile I realize life is, and I can't believe somebody would do that just to put up a banner. I'm sure he touched a nerve with people who support the protest, but there's more rational ways to get a point across than taking your life in your hands."
Hoy says the protester's jumps were witnessed by people who were hanging out on the plaza below, but nobody was able to provide a detailed description.
MnDOT owns the parking ramp the protester jumped from. Hoy says he anticipates the Twins will speak with MnDOT officials about ways to make a repeat performance of last night's stunt impossible.
"I see it mostly as a safety issue," he continues. "If people really want to put up a banner, they're going to do that, but we don't want them to get hurt in the process."
Other than the banner incident, the All-Star Game festivities "went remarkably smooth," Hoy says.
"It was a great showcase not only for the Twins and Target Field but for the community as a whole," he adds.
Send your story tips to the author, Aaron Rupar. Follow him on Twitter @atrupar.