The Same Rowdy Crowd

Ruminations and Fulminations on Communication


Minnesota Twins

Bad Neighbor

First, it was Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s smack down in the Iowa Straw Poll, which prompted his premature evacuation.

Then it was Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann going from first to worst in the blink of an Iowa eye, followed by her Iowegian Chairman stabbing her in the back yesterday.

We Minnesotans have met our Waterloo, Iowa.

Iowa, oh Iowa. We’ve given you Minnesota’s very finest, and you’ve rejected them, for what? A farm subsidy hating Texan? A Bay Stater? Really?

We’ll grant you, our Governor is deadly boring, even to a citizenry that regards boring as a high virtue. And Bachmann’s act — Palin but dumber and meaner — is wearing thin on us too.

But still, we’re freaking neighbors. Does a 275-mile shared border mean nothing to you people?

Maybe it’s Floyd of Rosedale envy. Maybe it’s because we didn’t send enough buses of Minnesotans down to pay your Straw Poll ransom. Or maybe it’s because you’re tired of driving all the way up here only to see our Vikings, Twins, Wild and Timberwolves stink up the joint like an overflowing hog confinement in July.

But come on now, you still have the Food Court at the Mall of America, right?

Whatever it is, we just have to say, it hurts.

– Loveland

Confession of a Bandwagon Fan

I mostly subscribe to the adage “a bad day at the ballpark is better than a good day anyplace else.” And I have been known to get too wrapped up in sports. For instance, I spent some quality time getting ulcer treatment at the George Washington University Hospital ER after Game 7 of the 1991 World Series.

But I have a confession to make. Bless me, Father Gardenhire, for I have sinned. Please don’t tell the fellas I share season tickets with, but I’m not watching the Twins games much these days. I also haven’t been watching much of the slumping Wolves, Wild or Gophers. I must admit, I’ve evolved into what I once loathed – a bandwagon fan.

The face paintin’, tail gatin’, trash talkin’, blog readin’ Real Fans despise bandwagon fans. They view switching the channel to a movie while your team is getting thrashed as akin to cheating on your terminally ill spouse. The look Real Fans give you when you leave in the 8th inning with your team seven runs behind is the same look of contempt chicken hawks give flag burners. Real Fans call into sports talk radio shows to admonish bandwagoners to “man up!” They do what loyal fans do, stay and heckle your beloved team mercilessly!

Continue reading “Confession of a Bandwagon Fan”

Back to the Future: Listen to the ’65 Twins


– The Mgmt.


Field of Mostly Dreams


Vikings Stadium and Target Field Value Propositions Differ


Ice Whine

It starts roughly the day after Valentines Day – the upper midwest’s snow and ice whining season. This is the time of year when typically upbeat midwesterners complain bitterly and incessantly about, of all things, snow in the winter.

To outsiders, complaining about snow in February and March in the upper midwest might seem about as logical as complaining about sunsets at days end. Or Vikings collapses in January. After all, these are statistically inevitable occurrences. But still we whine.

Actually, we’re not always this unstable. There are distinct snow psyche seasons in the upper midwest. From mid-October to Thanksgiving is the Giddy Season. If it snows in the Giddy Season, we frolic. We also wrap our SUVs around telephone poles. After all, it’s been six whole months since we’ve driven in the stuff.

Continue reading “Ice Whine”

Minnesota Vice

How rude. Yesterday, our Minnesota Vikings were playing host to some nice young men from Texas, and were comfortably ahead by 24 points with less than two minutes left in the game. They could have taken a knee and ended the contest the Minnesota way, by passively aggressively killing them with disingenuous kindness.

Or they could go for it on fourth down and superciliously celebrate seven more unnecessary, humiliating points.

Continue reading “Minnesota Vice”

Minnesota Nice

Twins shaking handsWhen homeruns are hit, other teams’ fans get a little excitable. Truthfully, it can be a little embarassing for a modest Minnesotan to watch. Other teams’ fans high five and bump their painted man-chests together. They spill adult beverages on their neighbors. They taunt the opposing pitcher with naughty words and suggestions about uncomfortable places a baseball could be theoretically stored.

But not in Minnesota. In Minnesota, we will celebrate our homeruns with…a polite handshake.

That’s the word from the Minnesota Twins front office, who announced that a new lightly animated sign in Target Field will show the Twin Dudes from the original 1961 logo modestly exchanging a conventional handshake as our hometown heroes touch ’em all.

Photo from Minnposts' Braublog
Photo from
Take that Bernie Brewer!

Actually, I like it. Just as legendary Vikings Coach Bud Grant instructed his players who score a touchdown to “act like you’ve been there before” and shun unseemly celebrations, our Twins will kill ’em with kindness, and a tinge of self-confident passive aggressivism. Very Minnesotan indeed.

– Loveland

Off Target

Citizen’s Stadium. Public Park. Taxpayer Grounds. Bubbas’ Ballpark. Fans’ Field. Any of these names would have been more apt and fair for the Twins new ballpark than the official name announced yesterday, Target Field.

I’ve got nothing against Target. I regularly choose it as my favored place to buy loads of worthless crap. But really, should Target get all the glory?

After all, Target didn’t make the Twins new baseball playground possible. The taxpayers of Hennepin County did. When no one else, including Target, would step forward to fund the ballpark, the taxpayers of Hennepin County ended a bitter decade-long ballpark financing stalemate by shelling out $392 million, in the form of a 0.15 sales tax increase…often paid at Target. Without our Hennepin heroes, we’d still be suffering through faux relocation threats from our favorite subsidy starved billionaire.

But Target, not taxpayers, will get the glory. Gone are the days when we named community-funded stadiums after soldiers’ sacrifices, visionary leaders or the community’s team. No more Soldier’s Field, Memorial Stadium, Humphrey Metrodome or Yankee Stadium. Pucket Park and other quaint suggestions to name it after Twins heroes never stood a chance.

No, now we do with the name what we do with everything else in society, sell it to the highest bidder. Between Target Center and Target Field, we also learned yesterday that we will have Target Plaza. In coming months, expect to learn that the Target Light Rail will be delivering fans to the freshly rebranded Targetapolis. The aisles promise to be nice and wide.

Look, I’m a big boy. I know corporate-branded, community-funded assets are the way of the world these days. Hard to put the Genie back into that bottle. And goodness knows, it could have been way worse. Haliburton Grounds. Waste Management Field. Penthouse Park. 800-588-2300 Empire Stadium. But then again, perhaps if that could have yielded another million per year for Carl…

– Loveland

payroll systems fine

Consumer Weather Perceptions Argue for Twins Stadium Roof, Not Weather Data

One of the most persistent water cooler topics in the Twins Cities over the last few years has been this: “Should the Twins put a roof on their new outdoor stadium?”

On the Opening Day of the Twins season, Jay Wiener at the online news publication MinnPost (anyone reading it?) had some typically insightful reporting on this subject. The crux of his analysis:

So, including today, since 1961, that’s seven home openers out of 48 — or about 15 percent – that would have been problematic. But, if Opening Day were pushed each time beyond April 15, it looks like all but one of those snow/rain/cold days would have been avoided.

Interesting. But if these are the data the Twins used for their their roof decision, their analysis was incomplete. To me, the sales loss associated with going lidless goes beyond ACTUAL weather cancellations. Losses also will be associated with something else, the consumer’s perception that there is a constantly LOOMING THREAT of weather cancellations, or, just as importantly, a miserable experience.

After all, in marketing consumer perceptions about the product matter more than the actual product attributes. If buyers are convinced Yugos are lemons, it doesn’t really matter all that much if the reliability data actually tells a different story. And if Twins fans are convinced that the chances of cancellation or a bad experience are high, it really doesn’t matter if the weather data tell a sunnier story.

For this reason, I hope the roof decision was viewed through the prism of surveys and focus groups deeply probing consumer perceptions and concerns about weather, not just historic weather charts. The number of Opening Day weather-related cancellations is interesting and partially relevant, but it strikes me you have to go much deeper into consumer angst about Minnesota weather.

• APRIL/SEPTEMBER BOYCOTTS. How many families will boycott individual tickets in April and September in anticipation of the higher liklihood for cancellations and bad experiences?

• PREEMPTIVE DOWNSIZING. How many families will opt for PARTIAL season ticket packages, rather than FULL season packages, in order to avoid the weeks when the perception is that cancellations and bad experiences are likely?

• FROZEN OUT. How many families ultimately will not renew their ticket packages with the memory of a miserable experience(s) frozen into their brain?

• NON-METRO NO SHOWS. How many non-metro Twins fans and their families will eliminate or severely limit their Twins road trips because a multi-ticket forfeiture due to a weather cancellation seems too possible to risk the cash?

OK, I realize the following “analysis” is ridiculously back of the envelope. But I kinda sorta have a real job, so this is the best I can do between conference calls and emails. Here goes: If the Twins stadium is used for 30 years, the $200 million cost of a roof spreads out to about $6.6 million per year. Let’s say the average amount a fan dumps at the park per game — tickets, food, beer, trinkets — over those 30 years is $75. I have no idea if this number is reasonable, but remember MLB inflation rate is not exactly the same as the normal inflation rate. Given all that, it would take the loss of just 88,000 fans over 81 home games per year (3.4 million total annual capacity in the new stadium) to justify the cost of the roof.

For all of the aforementioned reasons related to consumer weather-related perceptions, might that be possible?

– Loveland

adp paystatements kind

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