With all the bootleg T-shirts citing everything from "piranhas" to "smells" for the bandwagon-jumping Twins fans, while the rest of us slept, serious discussions concerning who has precedence to the Metrodome next Sunday remains a 13th-hour topic of debate.
A final call is likely due later today, but it begs the question, "Who's your Daddy?" Prior to the Tigers' unprecedented weekend collapse to the Royals – who came into town with 100 losses and left with just as many – the lease question at the Metrodome was a moot point.
Now it may be something. Not because of the Vikings' rightful ownership to the Dome for Sunday's scheduled game with the Lions, but because a lot of goodwill could be sacrificed to prove a point.
By virtue of the Twins winning the American League Central Division Sunday, a potential Game 5 matchup with Oakland looms on Sunday. Seeing as if you're an A's fan and have a problem with Games 1 and 2 of the ALDS starting at 10 a.m. local time, that's tough. Major League Baseball wasn't expecting two teams from New York and two teams from Southern California to make the playoffs in the same year. Oops. If the Yankees have a Game 5 with the Tigers, it is listed as "TBA" on the league's website. Translation? Prime time.
That would mean, if the fly-over Twins and the "wrong side of the Bay Bridge" A's should happen to have a Game 5 on the same day as affiliates in New York and Detroit, the afternoon schedule applies. The NFL has one late game on FOX – Terrell Owens' return to Philly. Think that may draw some interest, especially in light of events where a publicist should have hired a publicist? Albert Haynesworth may be viewed as Gandhi after T.O. comes back the Land of Whine and Cheesesteaks. Smells like a noon start for a Twins-A's Game 5 to the untrained nose – much less noses capable of smelling ratings points.
Turns out, that's the same time the Vikings and Lions are scheduled to play in the Metrodome Sunday. Vikings officials have been in discussions with officials from the Twins, MLB, NFL and the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission for the last couple of weeks. Much in the same way BCS officials sweat out a potential worst-case scenario, it has already been discussed what would happen in the event of a baseball-football stadium conflict. A plan is in place. The question now should be which should take precedence?
The irony of the question is really quite sad. In the Vikings, you have a team that has accepted every bad revenue turn as a Metrodome tenant – from letting Mike Lynn pimp team revenue to giving the Twins a taste of their concession money. When Major League Baseball was willing to opt for the euthanasia of two franchises, the Twins willingly shaved their own paw to insert the hypodermic. Only then did the baseball purists in Minnesota profess their love. For all his bluster, Red McCombs sold the Vikings before moving them to a stadium closer to a basketball team that calls itself the Lakers. Zygi Wilf bought the team and has kept quiet while a stadium for his self-annihilating baseball counterparts was approved.
It shouldn't be lost that Wilf spearheaded a movement to get the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis. When was the last time Minnesota voted for a Republican presidential candidate? And they got it. Kudos, sir. Job well done. Perhaps not fully appreciated, but well done.
It is perhaps that same cordiality that will most likely see the Vikings and Lions play next Monday. Behind the doors of power, the Wilfs have done their best to be a good tenant – both to the Metrodome and to the State of Minnesota. The Vikings franchise is currently the trailer trash of the NFL when it comes to revenue streams, but Zygi has played by the "Minnesota Nice" rules. Don't rock the boat.
The Twins had a trump card when they had a lease with the Metrodome, but that original agreement was allowed to lapse in 2004. If the Vikings wanted to be salty about it, they could. If they wanted to be hard core, the strict legal interpretation of the leases is that the Vikings would step aside in the event of a World Series conflict. This isn't the World Series. But, expect to see the Vikings step aside if needed.
As it stands now, there are three options – two of which are virtually moot. The first is for the NFL to mandate the Vikings and Lions switch home games. Even though Detroit is 0-4, such a move would mean that four of their last five games and five of their last seven would be on the road. Big problem in Motown over that. The second is to have the Lions come to town on Saturday and, if a Game 4 requires a Game 5, wait until the result to determine whether to play game as scheduled at noon local time Sunday or not. That, too, likely won't sit well with the Lions brass. Third is to play the game on Monday – the only scenario that makes sense, even though it likely means that only Minnesota and Michigan sees the game.
If the Vikings want to push the issue, they could likely use legalese to prove a point. But, there is nothing to gain and a lot to lose if the team makes a claim to what might rightfully be theirs. Expect to see Zygi say "Go Twins" and let the schedule be changed. He's built up a lot of goodwill in the chambers of power in this state. No sense letting all that get shot down when baseball fever has returned. The Twins and the Gophers have their new stadiums on the horizon. The Vikings don't. Being "Minnesota Nice" would serve them well right now.
Who's Your Dome Daddy?
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