Twins ask judge to declare Metrodome lease void
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins asked a Hennepin County District Judge on Monday to rule that the team isn't obliged to play in the Metrodome after this season.
"This thing is stone-cold dead," Twins lawyer Roger Magnuson told Judge Charles Porter Jr., referring to a 1998-2003 agreement for the team to play in the dome.
However, the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, which runs the Metrodome, said the Twins have a legal agreement to remain in the Metrodome until a new ballpark is built.
Porter said he'll rule in two weeks, but an appeal is expected no matter which side prevails.
The Twins contend they have no long-term agreement to play in the 24-year-old Metrodome and have operated there on a year-to-year basis since the 2004 season.
Corey Ayling, the lawyer for the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, said the team has acted as if it were a long-term tenant and essentially has operated under a 1998 agreement that ran through 2003.
"Conduct and actions speak a lot louder than words," Ayling told the judge. "They have accepted all these checks and they behaved exactly as if this agreement had been signed."
Unlike most other team sports, in which teams usually have an equivalent number of players on the field at any given time, in baseball the hitting team is at a numerical disadvantage, with a maximum of 5 players and 2 base coaches on the field at any time, compared to the fielding team's 9 players. For this reason, leaving the dugout to join a fight is generally considered acceptable in that it results in numerical equivalence on the field, and a fairer fight.