The Twin lost to the Mariners in front of a good-sized crowd. Nearly 30,000 for a day game in the middle of the week. I expected significantly less. Some were drawn, apparently, by the prospect of this being the last professional baseball game played in the Twin Cities.
If the players strike later today (still no word as of this writing), it will kill the possibility of a new stadium for the Twins. Also, given the drop in attendance baseball suffered after the last strike, it will likely mean a significant drop in revenue for the Twins. These things combined could lead the league to disband ("contract") the Twins, leaving us without a professional team in the area.
I have heard rumor that the St. Paul Saints of the Northern League have contingency plans to boost their business if this happens and I'd probably be one to jump in that direction.
On the one hand, I'm not all that big a sports fan. If the Twins weren't doing so well this year, I likely would have attended only a handful of games throughout the season. But they put a good team on the field and are playing well so I dug up the cash for tickets to the remainder of the season. I haven't been disappointed. If there were no more Twins, I'd probably watch the odd game on television now and then (and would have to find a team to follow as I don't have the time to pay attention to the entire league).
On the other hand, professional sports brings a lot to a town. And for all the Metrodome's faults, having it downtown has to be a big boost for downtown commerce. Hotels and restaurants are sure to get a boost during the various seasons. Shops likely to better. The one thing that I'd like to see, however, is for the players and owners to make a decent living while bringing down the cost of tickets and concessions at the stadium. Tickets aren't too bad; $5 general admission seats. But you spend that same $5 for a bad beer or a bad hamburger. To help boost the commerce in the city, you have to leave the people that come to the game with some spare cash to buy things when the game's over.
I was heartily in the "let the billionaires build their own stadium" camp when the question came up a few years ago. Watching enough baseball at the 'dome this year, I have come to realize that it is really a bad building for baseball. The sight-lines are set up for football so you spend most of the time at a baseball game twisted in your seat towards the infield to watch the action; an uncomfortable proposition. There have been so many very nice parks built of late and so many others that are beautiful even after many years of service that it truly is a shame to watch the Twins in such an inferior park.
It's a typical slow night at work. I've loaded up on sugary treats to help keep me awake. Given my lack of sleep, I'm not sure how successful I'll be but we'll push on through.