Departing Baseball Team Bad For Papers

By: Joe Strupp

The only hits in the Twin Cities next summer might be the ones local businesses — such as the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Saint Paul Pioneer Press — take if the Minnesota Twins baseball team, as now expected, is called out forever.

Circulation executives at each paper said single-copy sales would likely dip by about 2,000 to 3,000 a day during the baseball season without the Twins, while marketing also would be affected slightly. “The team is very important to us,” said Pioneer Press Marketing Director Lori Swanson, who noted the paper sponsors several events with the team and has “limited signage” at its ballpark. “We have not decided what to do if they leave.”

Sports editors said losing the Twins would put a big dent in their coverage. “We will have to be very creative,” said Glen Crevier, Star Tribune sports editor, who devotes at least two pages a day to baseball during the season. Both papers only had one Twins beat writer last season, however, and editors seem surprisingly calm about the team’s departure, citing the popularity of local pro football, hockey, and basketball teams, as well as a minor-league baseball franchise.

Each paper wasted little time urging local officials to block the team’s extinction.

Within days of Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig’s Nov. 6 statement that two teams, likely the Twins and Montreal Expos, would be axed, both papers’ editorial pages pleaded for something be done to keep the team, even if it meant paying for a new ballpark. “Unless Minnesota changes its mind, and soon, about building the Twins a new facility, they can kiss its ballclub goodbye,” said a Pioneer Press editorial appearing Thursday.

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