Feeling Minnesota over Vikings rumors
Los Angeles and the power brokers who have interests within and around its city borders have been talking for years about how they would eventually build a state-of-the-art stadium and bring back an NFL team. Heck, HBO's "Entourage" even had a plot line that centered on these happenings.
But it does appear now that the hope-filled fiction of the NFL coming to the City of Angels has taken one big step toward reality with the clearance of two possible sites for a real-deal NFL venue.
I was in L.A. last week and, as such, spent much of my time in a car, which is where I listen to all my sports talk radio noise. And the "talk" of the L.A. sports "town" was the "fact" that the team that would fill this new stadium in Southern California would be none other than the Minnesota Vikings.
I have made my view on these things clear whilst writing for ESPN; I do not like the fact that beloved teams from certain cities are getting sold down the river to other ownership groups whose interests lie in taking that team away. Take Sacramento. Or Winnipeg getting its hockey team back (at Atlanta's expense). Or my Seattle SuperSonics being stolen by Clay Bennett. Hell, Minneapolis already lost one NBA franchise to Los Angeles years ago and a hockey franchise to Dallas. It even came somewhat close to losing the Twins a few years back.
I mean, you know if the Vikings went to L.A., Minneapolis would one day vie to get some other team from somewhere else, right? It doesn't make sense. We've got to find a way to keep teams in their hometowns.
As it turned out, I had to make a business trip to Minneapolis this past weekend and decided to find out what your basic Vikings fan thought of all this hoopla. If you are like me, don't the Minnesota Vikings need to stay there for the historical sake of the NFL? I can appreciate the "Purple People Eaters" and, more to the point, the fact that Minnesota has had the biggest Scandinavian populace in the United States and hence has a Norwegian "Viking" as its mascot and call to arms. The L.A. Vikings just don't do it for me for that reason alone.
And what about us fans? And these darn stadium referendums and bond issues. OK. So that's it? We have to pay more taxes if we want to keep the teams we have supported with our hearts and our wallets for all these years, or they can be bought by the highest-bidding city/ownership group that wants a franchise? That's B.S.! Just plain B.S.
It turns out, when I got to Minneapolis and actually spoke with a large handful of these Vikings fans, they didn't seem to disagree with my line of thinking. This great legion of Vikingdom is plain up in arms. The fans don't want to have to pay for a new stadium but are willing to do it. After all the tickets and parking and jerseys and concessions they all have purchased over the years, they are still willing to pay even more, just to keep their team. The Vikings are, after all, a part of these Minnesotans' past and present, and hopefully their future.
The Life asked columnist Duff McKagan to give us some music recommendations. Here's what he had to say:
I was honored last year to have been asked to write some songs with the great Jane's Addiction. Perry Farrell, Dave Navarro and Stephen Perkins became even better friends to me in the process, and I even got to play a few gigs with these fine gentlemen and vicious musicians.
"Ultimate Reason" from "TGEA" -- Soundscaping at its best. Great lyrics, sung with angst and venom and beauty.
"Broken People" from "TGEA" -- Old-school Velvet Underground meets the sheen of a modern-rock classic.
"Words Right Out Of My Mouth" from "TGEA" -- Reckless punk-rock abandon.
So, back on my stump. If we fans of sports are doing all this buying of seats and stuff, and paying the tax to build newer and newer stadiums, ballparks and arenas, shouldn't we have some say when it comes to matters of our teams? Instead of just feeling like used-up workers in the world's oldest profession?
Here is what I propose:
If the ownership needs taxpayer support for a new stadium, we the season-ticket holders get a 51 percent vote in matters that ever have to do with moving the team. Like a majority shareholder in a private company. If we have to help pay for the cost of doing business, treat us as trusted executives.
Or (and I am just spit-balling):
Show us -- if your argument is that pro sports bring revenue to a region -- that this revenue plainly and exceedingly does the greater utilitarian-esque good. If I spend $5 to make $6, I'd be much more comfortable with an extra tax for a stadium or arena. But the logic has to be irrefutable.
In the end, though, I am afraid we fans will always be left to hold the bag for these rich owner blowhard-types. We will go on loving our teams, and probably paying higher taxes whilst losing those teams to the highest out-of-town bidder.
Musician Duff McKagan, who writes for Seattle Weekly, has written for Playboy.com and has his autobiography out now, writes a weekly sports column for ESPN.com. To send him a note, click here and fill out the form.
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