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05/21/06 6:30 PM ET
Selig enthusiastic about Twins ballpark
Commissioner says stadium will lend stability to Minnesota team
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- The smile spread wide across Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig's face on Sunday afternoon as he discussed the new Twins ballpark. Having been a part of the fight for the club's new stadium over the last decade, Selig couldn't help but burst with the good news that it was finally going to become a reality. The plan for the ballpark was approved earlier Sunday morning by the Minnesota legislature. "I can't tell you how happy I was today," Selig said of the news. "I'm happy for a lot of people." The Commissioner said that he kept in constant contact with the Twins during the stadium process and even checked in on the results of the legislative vote until around midnight on Saturday. The good news of the stadium's approval finally broke to Selig at around 8 a.m. on Sunday. Speaking with the media during the early innings of the Twins-Brewers game at Miller Park later that afternoon, Selig said he was only on hand at the game to help commemorate the big day for the Twins. Selig commended Twins Sports Inc. president Jerry Bell on his "courageous" battle to help get a new stadium. Selig wanted to make sure that all those involved in the long fight were praised for their efforts. "Today is one of those wonderful days in life where patience paid off and we've done clearly the right thing," Selig said. "I feel good about the situation, as does the entire Twins organization." Along with lauding all of the people who have helped bring the stadium into fruition, Selig also took an opportunity to criticize Minnesota's previous governor, Jesse Ventura, who he felt didn't do much to help the cause. "[Current] Gov. Tim Pawlenty, whom I've talked with on a number of occasions, really did show great leadership here as opposed to what's gone on here in the past," Selig said. "I suppose I could take a swipe against the previous governor, but I won't. We had a deal done at one point and well, I think I've said all I need to say." Not everything about the newest ballpark plan is completely ideal, as complaints have already popped up about the fact that the stadium will not have a roof. For Selig, the fact that the Twins will finally get the opportunity to move out of the Metrodome and into a real baseball stadium is what is truly important. "Nothing is ever perfect," Selig said of the proposed plan. "Hey, they played in an open air stadium before and all that matters is that they have a stadium now they can live with." But the biggest thrill for Selig out of the entire day was knowing that the Twins fans will finally get what they have wanted for so long -- guaranteed security for their ballclub. "I know there was a lot of frustration and a lot of worry," Selig said of the fans. "It would have been heart-breaking to even think about doing anything to that team, but now, at least now for the next two generations, we don't have to."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.