Selig’s decision to eliminate Twins a conflict of interest

Emily Arthur

On Oct. 26, 1960, Calvin Griffith, president of the Washington Senators, made the historic decision to move his club to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, and the Minnesota Twins were born.

Just over 41 years and two World Series titles later, the Twins are fighting to stay in existence.

Commissioner and part-owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, Bud Selig, has outlined a plan to eliminate two Major League Baseball teams. Leading candidates at this point include the Montreal Expos and the Minnesota Twins. Meaning, if Selig gets his way and contraction makes its mark, the Twins are gone. The first American League team to draw three million fans in a season will be no more in 2002.

The idea sounds shocking given the Twins won 85 games last season. And the Twins are a team that have good, young talent and a solid farm system to build around.

However, the Twins have one big factor working against them: Selig.

As part owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, Selig’s decision poses a conflict of interest. In this type of situation, Selig’s Brewers have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Even Minnesota’s famous body-slamming governor realizes what’s going on.

“If the Twins are gone, doesn’t that make Milwaukee a much more viable franchise?” Gov. Jesse Ventura said on his weekly radio show.

The bottom line is the Brewers will end up pocketing more money and may even improve their team if the Twins leave. Sounds like a good plan for Selig.

For example, the Twins and Brewers games are both telecast on Fox Sports Net (Midwest). Twins games can be watched in 1.6 million households, while the Brewers reach 1.2 million households. If the Twins were to die, Brewers games would likely reach a larger audience. Sounds like a positive development for Selig’s Brewers.

Without baseball in Minnesota, Twins fans will be left with nothing to cheer for.

Twins games are telecast from Wisconsin all the way through the Dakotas, and a lot of the fan base comes from across the Midwest. More than 2.8 million fans attended Brewers games this last season with 57 percent of those fans coming from outside the five-county Milwaukee area. While there’s no way of telling if fans would travel the approximately five and a half hours to Milwaukee for a game, those who follow Twins’ baseball will need someone to root for.

According to the Sales and Marketing Management magazine, the Twin Cities annual “effective buying income” (the customer’s buying potential) is more than 65 billion while Milwaukee’s barely scrapes the 32 billion mark. Essentially, this means people in the Twin Cities have the capability to spend more than twice the amount of people in Milwaukee. More money to spend, no place to spend it. Neighboring Milwaukee wins again.

The Midwest is buzzing with the announcement that the Twins may be on their way out of the Twin Cities.

While some don’t care what happens and others want the Twins eliminated, there are people out there who have direct ties to the team and don’t want to see it go.

Kelly Antoniewicz is one of those, although hers is a different story.

The senior at the University of Minnesota worked for the Twins last summer as an usher, and has become a Twins fan. But she grew up in Milwaukee as a Brewers fan.

The Brewers hold a special place in her heart, but so do the Twins.

“It’s kind of a conflict,” she said. “I know it’s a business, but I don’t think the Twins are that bad that they should be eliminated. There are teams out there worse off.”

Antoniewicz said that while she understands baseball is a business, she doesn’t know why Selig would target the Twins.

“They’re making money, and they’re improving,” she said. “I don’t understand why they would be one of the teams eliminated.”

Being from Milwaukee, Antoniewicz doesn’t have to look far to see what the reasons are.

Emily Arthur is a junior in journalism and mass communication from Clark, S.D.