Ted Mondale, the right-hand man of Gov. Mark Dayton in the effort to get a Vikings stadium built -- one that will be used year-round and not just by the football team -- believes that a positive vote by the Legislature "is even bigger than just the stadium and the Vikings."
"It's, 'Can we function as a community and a state?' " Mondale said Sunday. "And hopefully the answer will be yes. You have the business leaders saying this is important. The job-growers, the Ecolabs and the U.S. Banks and the Targets are saying, 'It's important to have a team so that we can continue to grow our jobs here in Minnesota.' The labor guys and women are saying, 'Hey, the construction industry is still over 20 percent unemployed. We've got people sitting at home losing their houses. You'll never have better interest rates, you'll never have better construction costs.' "
And Mondale -- the son of the great Fritz Mondale, who will go down in history as one of the great leaders in Minnesota history -- adds that everything is in place to build a stadium.
"We've got a lease yet for one more year, then the Vikings are free to go," Mondale said. "This is the year we've got to do it. There's no excuses now.
"The Vikings are going to pay $1.3 million per game, for 10 games. And that will allow us, for 355 days, to have a facility for baseball, and soccer. They may bring a pro soccer team here. And for all the kinds of civic events the Metrodome runs."
Mondale, chairman of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission that runs the Metrodome, points out that at this time of the year, the Dome is being used 18 hours a day. "The University of Minnesota baseball is in there in this temperature," Mondale said. "We need a fixed-temperature large arena. We will get a Super Bowl if we get this facility. We'll get the Final Four back. We'll get all Big Ten championships. We'll get big conventions. That's about economic development. And we need to show that we're a world-class city."
And Mondale had an important point when he said, "When you let an NFL franchise go, you look like a B-class city," adding: "At the end of the day, of the money that the state would be putting in, with no new taxes, the state would be putting in the equivalent of $398 million. The state will make a profit on that over the 30 years of $144 million. It's a 36 percent profit on your investment. I mean, if you can't do that, what's a good way to spend money?"
I agree with Mondale that there are so many upsides to getting this stadium built besides getting some 700 workers back on a job.
"You know, people always focus on the negatives, but what if we do pass this?" Mondale said. "We keep the team, we put people back to work, we secure our youth sports, we're a place where people all over the world want to come. This is a great opportunity, and I think we're going to get there."
And a note to Gov. Dayton: There has to be a way where you give in on some bills to the Republicans and they give in to you on the stadium. I'm sure the Republicans, led by House Speaker Kurt Zellers, will negotiate, and everybody can come out happy by bringing the greatest thing for Minnesota, resulting in not only keeping the Vikings here but so many other positives as well.
Ask the politicians in other NFL cities how much their communities have benefited by building a covered stadium, with providing a modern home for their football teams just a small part of it.
Tough go for Morneau
An indication of how a big a problem Justin Morneau was having with the left wrist he had operated on last fall was that before he left last Monday's game, he was hitting .154 over his past seven games (4-for-26).
Though he doesn't need additional surgery, he said the wrist hasn't gotten any better in the past few days, leading to the Twins' decision to put him on the disabled list.
Catching up with NHL
In the NHL playoffs, Minnesotan Zach Parise has four goals and four assists in 11 playoff games for New Jersey, which is up 3-1 on Philadelphia. Also on the Devils is Marek Zidlicky, the defenseman traded by the Wild on Feb. 24. He had a goal and an assist in a 4-2 victory Sunday, giving him a goal and five assists this postseason. He had two goals and six assists in 22 regular-season games with the Devils.
Hastings native Derek Stepan had a goal and five assists in 11 games with the Rangers. Defenseman Ryan McDonagh of St. Paul has only one assist, but he has logged nearly 28 minutes per game in ice time. In New York's Game 3 triple-overtime victory over Washington on Wednesday, he played 53 minutes, 17 seconds. That game ended when former Wild star Marian Gaborik scored in the third OT. He has three goals and five assists this postseason.
• It's amazing what Gophers football coach Jerry Kill has done for 2013 recruits who have to pay their own way to make an unofficial visit to the school. Among the top-rated national recruits to visit the U at their own expense was Alton Meeks, a quarterback from Boone High School in Orlando; Alex Mayes, an offensive lineman from Van Alstyne, Texas; Jacob Homa, an offensive lineman from Brookfield, Wis.; and David Yancey, a running back from St. John, Ind. The list also includes a number of others from closer to home.
• It was a surprise when Arizona State leading scorer Trent Lockett selected Marquette rather than Iowa State when the former Hopkins guard decided to transfer closer to his ill mother. If the Gophers really wanted him, they could have found a scholarship, but to my knowledge, Tubby Smith didn't recruit him.
• Wild prospect Charlie Coyle set a Saint John record for Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoff scoring. He has 32 points (15 goals, 17 assists) in 15 games. The Sea Dogs went up 2-0 in the best-of-seven final with a 3-2 victory over Rimouski on Saturday. Coyle and teammate Zack Phillips are the QMJHL's top two playoff scorers. Phillips, also a Wild prospect, has 29 points (eight goals, 21 assists).
• Deolis Guerra, the lone prospect still with the Twins from the Johan Santana trade, is 3-0 with a 0.45 ERA in 19 1/3 innings between Class AA New Britain and Class AAA Rochester. The reliever from Venezuela is still only 23 years old. ... Former Twins reliever Jim Hoey is 0-1 with 6.75 ERA in 10 games with Class AAA Las Vegas, a Toronto affiliate. Meanwhile, J.J. Hardy, the former All-Star shortstop the Twins traded to Baltimore for Hoey, hit two home runs Sunday, giving him six this season.
Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. • firstname.lastname@example.org