Minnesota Twins owner Carl Pohlad signed a letter of intent Friday that could send the baseball team to North Carolina if the Minnesota state legislature refuses to build a publicly financed ballpark.
"We've got one of two choices now. There's no mushy middle," said Sen. Keith Langseth, co-chairman of a legislative task force studying how to pay for a ballpark.
The situation, according to Langseth, is that the legislature agrees to build a ballpark to keep the team or lawmakers refuse and the Twins go.
The proposed deal is with a group led by North Carolina businessman Don Beaver. The purchase price of the franchise wasn't disclosed.
The Twins said the governor and members of the legislature were given details about the proposal on Friday, but the letter of intent didn't specify how much the state would have to put into a ballpark or how much Pohlad would be expected to contribute.
Gov. Arne Carlson intends to call the legislature into a special session the week of Oct. 20 to consider building a stadium.
Pohlad's letter of intent didn't specify how much the state would have to put into a new ballpark nor how much Pohlad would contribute.
Rep. Loren Jennings, a task force co-chairman, expected taxpayers would have to come up with between $200 million and $250 million.
The deal has two deadlines, Nov. 1 and Nov. 30. If the legislature agrees to build a stadium before the first deadline and Pohlad likes the deal, then the team stays. If the legislature fails to act, but does not adjourn, it could return in November and still approve a deal.
If the legislature adjourns before the first deadline, then major league baseball would begin performing the study required before allowing a franchise to move.
Sen. Mark Ourada said most of his constituents don't care whether the Twins leave but that they don't want tax money spent on a stadium. He also noted that there's little support in the legislature for a new ballpark.
The Twins scheduled a news conference for this morning.
The Dodgers announced that three players, outfielders Eric Anthony and Wayne Kirby and infielder Nelson Liriano, have chosen free agency rather than outright assignment to triple-A Albuquerque. Kirby, 33, also had successful arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Friday. Anthony, 29, batted .243 in 47 games, Kirby batted .169 in 46 games and Liriano, 33, batted .227 in 76 games.
The San Diego Padres exercised the $3.75-million option on first baseman Wally Joyner's contract for the 1998 season. Joyner, who spent six seasons with the Angels and four with Kansas City, has been with the Padres for two.