Pat Borzi here for Day 3 the Mariners-Minnesota Twins series, filling in for again Geoff Baker. If you’re just joining us, Geoff posted on the blog earlier, with audio of his weekly Talkin’ Baseball appearance with Mitch Levy.
(Spoiler alert: This is NOT the game blog. That’s coming shortly.)
This hasn’t been a huge secret in Minneapolis, but Commissioner Bud Selig officially announced today that Target Field has been awarded the 2014 All-Star Game. The Twins made the announcement on the plaza behind the right-field stands, which was fine except they made Selig, assorted local politicians and former Twins All-Stars like Rod Carew and Tony Oliva stand in the broiling mid-afternoon sun, a worry for Selig since he’s had melanoma issues.
Selig got choked up after the press conference talking about the late Twins owner Carl Pohlad, a longtime pal who died 14 months before the stadium opened in March 2010. For more than 15 years, Pohlad and Selig spoke by phone every Saturday morning at 11:30. “And if I didn’t call him at 11:30, by quarter to 12 he was having a fit, calling me, wondering where I was,” Selig said.
But Pohlad, a billionaire with banking interests, also secretly arranged a $3 million loan to Selig’s Milwaukee Brewers in 1995 while Selig was acting commissioner. That caused a stir when word leaked in 2002, around the time baseball considered contracting the Twins and the Montreal Expos. In Minnesota’s case, the contraction threat was a ploy to help Pohlad get a new stadium. It didn’t work, but Pohlad kept at it. A stadium bill finally passed the state legislature in 2006.
“Carl wanted this done so badly, and it was frustrating,” Selig said. “I understand. Every stadium debate everywhere is frustrating. Sometimes people misunderstand the frustration. But he wanted to keep a team here.
“I can still remember at the groundbreaking. I went over to his office, and on his way over he said to me, `Buddy, It’s finally happening.’ And he was very emotional. I wish he was here….All’s well that ends well. In 2014, I’ll toast a few to Carl.”