I'll say this up front: I'm not a football fan. (I volunteered to work during the Super Bowl, and the copy desk TV will be tuned to the Puppy Bowl.) I am, obviously, a baseball fan. And I dislike, from a public policy standpoint, the public financing component for the coming Vikings stadium.
So it's not surprising that in the brewing fight between the Vikings and amateur baseball over the dimensions of the new "Taj Ma Zigi" (thank you, Patrick Reusse), I'm on the baseball guys' side.
I understand the Vikings argument that they're competing with HDTV. I've been to a few NFL games. They've been well spaced apart, because it takes about a decade for me to forget how miserable I find the experience of actually attending a NFL game. There's no question in my mind — if I cared enough about football to want to watch it regularly, it's far better to do so at home.
And if the Vikings were paying for the new arena themselves, fine; they pay for it, they can set the rules.
They aren't. The public financing for this facility — sold to the state by Gov. Mark Dayton as a "people's stadium" — dwarfs the entire cost of Target Field. True, this one has a roof, and Target Field does not, and that's bound to add to the expense.
As I see it, the justification for the roof is the non-football uses the facility is expected to bear, and the extra costs of the enclosing the stadium is the justification for the state money. And now the Vikings are clearly out to undermine the non-football purposes.
I doubt the Vikings' good faith in this. The "people's stadium" idea wasn't theirs; they just accepted it as a means to get the stadium. Once they have it, their goal will be to get everybody else out. Especially those pesky college, high school and amateur baseball teams.