Anyone who bothers to read the Star Tribune has known for decades that when it comes to building new baseball stadiums in downtown Minneapolis, the paper is editorially biased and financially beholden to the concept. (The bottom line would be less robust if there weren't Twins-related stories in the Strib's sports pages at least 200 days per year.)
Of all the stadium frothers on the Strib's editorial board, Steve Berg evinces the greatest symptoms of hoof-and-mouth disease on the subject. Today, apparently not satisfied with getting his say over on the editorial page, Berg trekked to the op-ed side and perched his latest bit of disinformation astride an anti-stadium column by Minnesota Monthly's Craig Bowron for maximum visibility.
The headline of Berg's piece was "More than a ballpark at stake." The gist of it was that any blocking of the latest stadium proposal would "also place in doubt an impressive design for North Loop Village, a new transit-oriented neighborhood that would flank the stadium."
And what solid evidence did Berg have that losing the stadium would likewise torpedo North Loop Village? One quote: "The timing of all this is really important," says Robert Pfefferle, the project manager for the developer, Hines Interests.
Sure it is--but only because Hines has to figure out whether to build North Loop Village with or without a ballpark. Perhaps Berg should read his own newspaper, because that's where Hines VP Bill Chopp is quoted last summer as saying, "The site's primary focus is as a transit oriented destination. The stadium is number two." And as I wrote in a story for this paper last September that, "Even absent the ballpark, Hines claimed it will build up to 3000 housing units worth $800 million at and around the site." Oh, and exactly seven days ago a story in the Strib's business section read, "Twin Cities officials of Houston-based Hines Interests said the work they have done for the past several months on the Minneapolis mixed-use development they now call North Loop Village hasn't hinged on getting a stadium built in the area...From the start, Hines has said the main attraction of the site is its future as a transportation hub through the planned convergence of the Northstar commuter rail and the Hiawatha light rail lines." Pfefferle is one of the Hines officials interviewed for the story by reporter Susan Feyder.
Mr. Berg, please recognize that your passion to get this stadium built is overwhelming whatever credibility you enjoyed as a journalist. Carl Pohlad and the Twins learned the hard way that making false threats is ultimately counter-productive to their cause. Now it's your turn.