Examining the Pohlad regime

Minnesota Twins owner Carl Pohlad died Monday at the age of 93.

No owner in Minnesota sports was criticized as often as Pohlad was, especially in recent years. There were a lot of highs and lows during his 25-year tenure at the helm.

THE HIGHS

  • Purchases the team in 1984, preventing the Griffith family from considering a move to the Tampa Bay-St. Petersburg area.
  • Promotes Andy MacPhail and Tom Kelly to GM and manager, respectively, prior to the 1987 season. In their first full seasons, they lead the Twins to their first World Series title.
  • With the acquisitions of Jack Morris and Chili Davis in 1991, the Twins win their second championship in five years.

THE LOWS

  • Pohlad reaches a tentative deal to sell the team in 1997 to North Carolina businessman Don Beaver, who would have moved the Twins to Carolina. North Carolina voters reject a stadium proposal the following spring, halting the transfer of ownership.
  • Pohlad offers Twins up for contraction, which would have eliminated the Twins and Montreal Expos prior to the 2002 season. The Twins had their first winning season in nine years in 2001, so the news was a buzzkill. Baseball owners purchase the Expos and were prepared to eliminate them, but a judge rules that the Twins must ride out their lease with the Metrodome, saving both teams from contraction despite their owners’ efforts.

Pohlad’s legacy definitely took a hit in his later years. The man who saved baseball in Minnesota eventually became the one trying to rid the state of it.

His legacy could be debated over and over again, but I wonder, "What’s next?"

The Minneapolis Star Tribune has this story breaking down the current ownership arrangement in the Pohlad family.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Twins spend even less money on payroll without Carl running the show. Things have a tendency to get complicated when multiple people are essentially running the team through ownership.

For a long time, it was believed that Carl’s sons had no interest in running the Twins, so it’s very possible they might try to sell the team. With a new ballpark in 2010, the value of the Twins has never been higher, so from their perspective it’s a good time to sell.

The one thing I’m sure of is the future of the Twins would be in jeopardy if a stadium deal hadn’t been reached. Because if the Pohlads are looking to sell, it likely would have been done with businessmen from outside the Twin Cities area who could be looking to move the team. Efforts to sell the Twins to in-state owners haven’t worked out in the past.

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