Can you believe it? Yes, Monday (May 26) marks the second anniversary of Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty signing the Twins-Hennepin County ballpark legislation into law.
What a difference two years can make!!! The spring of 2006 marked the conclusion of a decade-long struggle aimed at finding a workable ballpark solution. Meanwhile, the spring of 2008 finds America’s best ballpark fully under construction and building anticipation for Opening Day 2010.
With that juxtaposition in mind, I couldn’t help but think of Representative Brad Finstad (Comfrey) as the 2008 legislative session drew to a close last week in St. Paul. Yes, it was refreshing to watch the annual session-closing negotiations take place knowing the ballpark was no longer an issue up for discussion. However, I found myself focused on one of Southwestern Minnesota’s finest legislators – Brad Finstad.
Savvy Twins fans may remember that Rep. Finstad served as the author of the Twins-Hennepin County ballpark legislation. He did what so many before him could not do. He did what so many of the experts said could not be done. He ran the gauntlet and ensured the successful passage of a workable ballpark bill. From the hundreds of hours spent in committee to the floor debate to the late-night negotiations, Rep. Finstad was unflappable in his effort to resolve the ballpark debate and build a new world-class facility for the region’s fans.
While Rep. Finstad provided leadership on so many important issues – all of which much more important than baseball – the new downtown Minneapolis ballpark will certainly be an important part of his legacy. You see, as the 2008 legislative session drew to a close, the curtain also dropped on Rep. Finstad’s political career. He has decided not to run for re-election in the fall – and at least for the time being – step away from public service.
Millions of baseball fans across the region should stand as one to salute Rep. Finstad for his courage, leadership and determination in making Minnesota’s new ballpark a reality. He along with our Senate author Steve Kelley, Governor Tim Pawlenty and of course – Hennepin County Commissioners Mike Opat, Peter McLaughlin, Mark Stenglein and Randy Johnson – will forever be remembered as the leaders who preserved Twins baseball for future generations.
Best of luck to you and your family Rep. Finstad. We can’t wait to see you on Opening Day 2010!!!!
Twins Ballpark Notes: The first week of May represented a huge milestone on the Twins ballpark project when HOK Sport delivered “Bid Pack 7″ to M.A. Mortenson. Said “Bid Pack” will serve as the basis for roughly $100 million worth of ballpark work to be awarded over the next few months including interior finishes, technology, scoreboard and graphics … The team now has sold 70% of the 3,400 Legend’s and Champion’s Club seats in the new ballpark … Look for a second New Ballpark Webcam to be installed in the weeks to come … Twins fans were among the big winners with the recent legislative approval of the Central Corridor. It won’t be long until fans will be able to jump on a LRT train in downtown St. Paul and travel to the doorstep of the new ballpark … Mortenson and the team will soon award the bid relating to installation of the playing field. The grass making up the playing field will be planted soon.