The last decade of stadium shenanigans has brought all kinds of amusing extortion schemes cooked up by the local sports moguls and their allies at the daily newspapers. At one point or another the Twins have supposedly been slated to be relocated to Salt Lake City, Portland, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., Mexico City, Charlotte, N.C., and Choctaw, Mississippi. But no one has been more shamelessly apocalyptic in his soothsaying than that foul old goat at the Star Tribune, Sid Hartman. Here's a selection of The Great Sidoni's grandest moments of ballpark prognostication:
March 4, 1994: "One more prediction: Once the Wolves follow the North Stars out of town, it will be a lot easier for Carl Pohlad to sell the Twins for a big, big price to another city."
July 30, 1995: "My prediction is that the Twins will be gone by the year 2000 unless some major adjustments are made in their lease at the Metrodome or a new stadium is built."
January 10, 1997: "My prediction is that the Twins will be in Charlotte, N.C., by the year 2000 if a new stadium is not built. The Pohlads have put a terrific proposal on the table. And the state must do something for the Vikings. There are plenty of cities willing to give the world to get a major league franchise of any kind without getting the things that Pohlad is willing to give."
April 6, 1997: "You can write this in stone: The Twins will not be here after 1998, when Pohlad can escape his Metrodome lease, if a new stadium isn't approved during this legislative session."
May 1, 1997: "My prediction: This franchise will wind up in Mexico City in 2000 if a new stadium isn't built."
August 29, 1999: "If the St. Paul sales-tax vote is not favorable Nov. 1, then the deal is off. And if Minneapolis can't find a way to build a stadium, you might say goodbye to the Twins after the 2000 season."
December 1, 2001: "Yes, Mr. Ventura, you and you alone can save the Twins. Furthermore, I predict you will do one great job when you appear in Washington, D.C., before the House Judiciary Committee on Dec. 6. And you will have a chance to let baseball Commissioner Bud Selig know you are going to help get a stadium built in Minnesota to keep major league baseball."
March 31, 2002: "If you want my opinion, there won't be a Twins stadium without Hennepin County included and that means little likelihood of a buyer for the team. The result: This will be the last season of Major League Baseball in Minnesota."
May 2, 2005: "Believe me, if this stadium plans falls through, the Twins are done fighting for a stadium and the owners will either cut the payroll to $25 million from the present $56 million or sell the team to somebody who might move it."