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Twins Not Bound to Play in Metrodome Beyond '06

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  • Twins Not Bound to Play in Metrodome Beyond '06

    ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota Twins don't have to play in the Metrodome beyond the 2006 season, a judge ruled Monday in a decision that could increase pressure on lawmakers to approve financing for a new ballpark.

    Hennepin County District Judge Charles Porter sided with the Twins in a lawsuit against the team's public landlord. The ruling gives franchise owner Carl Pohlad more power to move his team, although no city is publicly courting the Twins.

    Porter ruled that the Twins lease expired in 2003.

    The ruling came just hours after Twins officials met with leading lawmakers about their stalled stadium plan.

    "The homework assignment is for legislative leaders to go back to their caucuses and see what the level of support is," said Brian McClung, a spokesman for Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

    After a decade of trying but failing to pass a workable stadium plan, the Twins are mulling whether to approach the legislature with another proposal.

    Last year the Twins teamed with Hennepin County on a $478 million proposal that didn't require state funding. The partners needed state approval to raise the county sales tax without a voter referendum.

    The legislature didn't vote on the proposal, and the year's delay has added another $30 million to the proposal's cost.

    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.

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