It's been said there is nothing more American than baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and naked ladies.
Actually, I made that last part up, but it seems to fit better than either Chevrolet or apple pie because who drives a Chevy anymore and when is the last time you mixed pie and baseball?
But if you are a bunch of guys down from Motley for a Twins game and a night at the nearest motel, you may have strayed a couple of blocks from the stadium into the combat zone that surrounds it. If you are one of those guys, you may be in luck because a new establishment is being proposed nearby that would satisfy your need for non-stop flat-screen sports nirvana, nachos, chicken wings and breasts.
Punctuation is important here, so let me rephrase that: chicken wings, comma, and breasts.
If it passes, and it probably will, it will be called the 10th Inning, and it will occupy the space vacated by the once notorious 418 Club on 3rd Avenue N., just a block or so from hallowed Target Field.
It's certainly not the only adult establishment in the area.
Families dragging glove-toting kids from nearby parking already have to explain such businesses as "Sex World" and "Sinners." That's what happens when you plunk your new stadium into the middle of a district actually designed to contain the city's naughty bits in one easily accessible, or avoidable, neighborhood.
This is Twins Territory, indeed.
The first public hearing on a license for the 10th Inning is tonight, at 5:30 at Heritage Landing (514 1st Av. N.). The project has thus far flown beneath the radar. Mostly, there has been low-level grousing from surrounding condo and business owners.
"I would characterize comments as a mild amount of frustration because this is allowed here," said David Frank, president of the North Loop Neighborhood Association. "It's not like the neighborhood feels like it has a strong standing in opposing this club."
In other cities, such as Seattle, the city and the baseball team have sometimes sued to stop placement of an adult club near a stadium. In this case, however, the dance poles were there long before the foul poles.
For some, memories of adult entertainment at this location are a nightmare. During the heyday of the 418 Club, authorities investigated assaults, prostitution, criminal sexual conduct and a nearby murder. There were reports of club managers, one of them a registered sex offender, assaulting both dancers and customers.
John Osterbauer, who owns a building in the neighborhood, said the bar "was a bad scene and attracted a very bad crowd." Osterbauer is afraid another strip joint will hurt property values and make the area more unsavory for baseball fans.
But the owner of the 418 Club has died, and the place has been dormant for two years.
The local partner of the proposed 10th Inning is Mark Dziuk, who seems to have a propensity to take on quixotic projects. Remember the guy who built the "Parisien" condo near Lyndale and Franklin, which later filed for Chapter 11? Yep, Dziuk. How about the attempt to build a Trader Joe's in the same neighborhood, a move that stirred up the soy latte crowd from the Wedge Co-op? Same guy.
I asked Dziuk how he suddenly got into the strip club business.
"We like to call it a sports bar, primarily, with a side attraction," said Dziuk, adroitly tap dancing around the lap dancing. "Couples who like to go to a sports bar before or after a game will like to go here."
A friendly bar, with benefits.
Dziuk, who said he's "a long way from the finish line" on the plan, has already signed a contract to allow neighborhood input into signs, and discussed security procedures with precinct police. "It's all about management," he said. "Sometimes it takes an outsider to change the industry."
So, how does Dziuk expect his neighbors to react to a strip bar?
"The worst," he said. "Again, it's a sports bar with a side attraction. As a developer, I always expect the worst.
"I don't expect anybody [at community meetings] to get up and cheer. That will come later, if we open."
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