It’s been a long time since we’ve seen fans in Minnesota’s vast and expensive professional and major college stadiums. In fact, it’s been about one year exactly, since the Timberwolves hosted the Pelicans on March 8, 2020 in front of a supposed sellout crowd of 18,978 people at Target Center (according to ESPN).
The last time fans were allowed in Minnesota stadium seats, the Timberwolves hosted a capacity crowd at Target Center (yes really) vs the New Orleans Pelicans on March 8, 2020. (ESPN) pic.twitter.com/XoxqyaGP1i— Minnesota Sports Fan (@realmnsportsfan) March 6, 2021
But with vaccines ramping up and COVID numbers falling, cries to open the billions of dollars worth of stadiums around the Twin Cities are growing louder. I was calling for fans over Christmas weekend but nobody cares what I think.
Now, names with much louder voices are beginning to finally be heard by Governor Walz at the Capitol.
Pro Teams Making Push
The push to open stadiums at a limited capacity begins with the professional teams around the Twin Cities. The Minnesota Twins sent plans and a request to the Governor’s office a couple of weeks ago, asking for 26% capacity (10,000 fans total).
But they aren’t the only ones. LaVelle E. Neal of the Star Tribune is reporting heavy pressure on Walz coming from the Wolves and Loons. Beating down Timmy’s door harder than anyone else though, are the Minnesota Wild, who are desperate to get fans into Xcel Energy Center to see Kirill Kaprizov in the flesh.
The Wild, in particular, is pushing hard to bring fans back to Xcel Energy Center. And barring unforeseen developments, doors could be unlocked on some local venues within the next six weeks.LaVelle E. Neal – Star Tribune
Media Turning Too
Speaking of public pressure and LaVelle E. Neal…
Walz’ greatest ally is the media, which has stood by his side through most of this pandemic. That tide might also be turning, however, when it comes to this topic.
Just weeks ago, the aforementioned LaVelle was tweeting about how afraid he was to be sent down to Florida to cover the Minnesota Twins during Spring Training.
Welp….— LaVelle E. Neal III (@LaVelleNeal) February 2, 2021
Time to pack.
Time for the Twins to complete the Cruz deal.
ime to head into a state that doesn't give a crap about the virus and try to get through spring training. https://t.co/lXJ5WNxERV
Tonight, that same guy dropped a piece titled “Minnesota should join other states in opening doors back to pro sports fans”. In the column, LaVelle reveals that the Governor is on the verge of agreeing to the Twins proposal for 10K fans at Target Field.
But as you can see from the title, his article is much more than that. If the sports media is turning on Tim Walz, then this issue will be all but solved shortly.
He can start with allowing more fans into Xcel for the final games of the state hockey tournaments (April 1-3), and the same for Target Center for state hoops (April 6-10). We can watch the All Hockey Hair Team videos online, but the games deserve to be seen in person by more than just a couple hundred people.LaVelle E. Neal – Star Tribune
On top of all this, State Representative, Pat Garoffolo introduced a bill today that would allow the Minnesota Twins (and other businesses) to operate home games in Wisconsin if Governor Walz doesn’t allow fans in Minnesota.
Wisconsin is allowing the Brewers to have fans on opening day. Unfortunately, @GovTimWalz isn't allowing the Twins to do that in Minnesota. My bill would allow the Twins to host fans at games in Wisconsin while our state waits for @GovTimWalz.https://t.co/FEhdMPDqVo— Representative Pat Garofalo (R) (@PatGarofalo) March 5, 2021
Time to open things up, Timmy.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan