Last Thursday baseball commissioner Bud Selig appeared before Congress to defend baseball's antitrust exemption, which is under fire now that baseball has announced plans to contract. Selig received an icy reception from Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura (right), who was on hand because the Twins are likely to be shut down. Some excerpts from The Body's testimony:
Commissioner Selig has said that the Twins cannot be competitive without a new stadium and should be eliminated. I cannot understand how eliminating the Twins will help the Diamondbacks draw more fans or resist the temptation to pay their players more than they can afford. Last season the Twins fielded a competitive team that finished second in their division and drew 1.8 million fans. The Twins' average attendance was better than [that of] the White Sox—a competitive team with a new stadium built in 1991.
Baseball wants [us] to build a park at public expense. Then they'll come back in five or eight years and say, This isn't good enough either. If we build a library with public funds, we don't charge people to get in. If the public builds a stadium, the owner charges the public to get their own stadium.
The Metrodome is younger than my [22-year-old] son. My high school, Minneapolis Roosevelt, is 80 years old. We are still using it. I'll build you a new stadium after we replace my high school.
The owners are not losing the money they claim. If they were, they wouldn't be paying the salaries they're paying. It's asinine. These people did not get the wealth they have by being stupid.
Every person in Minnesota who's my age or younger has had a team to root for his entire life. And that's going to end because 30 owners and one commissioner don't have to play by the same rules as everyone else?