MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- A group of Twin Cities executives is rallying to save the Minnesota Twins.
The group is trying to assemble a new offer to buy the team and hopes to persuade Twins owner Carl Pohlad to delay his decision on whether to sell the franchise back to Major League Baseball, which would then discontinue the team, the Star Tribune reported Saturday.
Joining efforts are Jim Campbell, chairman of Wells Fargo Bank of Minnesota; Paul Grangaard, a top executive of U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray; Vance Opperman, the former chief executive of West Publishing; and attorney Michael Ciresi, among others.
"I don't want to believe that Carl Pohlad and his family would take the $250 million and run," Ciresi said Friday, using the figure that has been rumored as the offer from other team owners. "He owes more to this community than that. He stepped up to the plate in 1984 to buy the Twins."
However, according to media reports, baseball owners could vote as early as Tuesday, which would mean that Ciresi and the others need Pohlad to agree to a delay.
"In order for us to do anything, two things have to happen: they (Major League Baseball) have to put off that vote, and business and political leaders in Minnesota need to come to the forefront," said Ciresi, who is chairman of the Robins, Kaplan, Miller and Ciresi law firm. "I'm willing to spend as much time as necessary and do whatever legwork is necessary. This community and state will support baseball with a competitive team on the field."
The Associated Press was unable to reach Pohlad for comment Saturday.
Ciresi told the Star Tribune that the group has a shot at raising acquisition financing over time. However, the group does not plan an offer near the $200 million-plus the Pohlads believe they can get from their fellow owners.
Forbes magazine valued the franchise at $99 million earlier this year.
And only last month, Pohlad's son, Jim, 48, said the family intended to keep the Twins, despite a lack of success in getting the Legislature to help finance a new stadium.
Campbell of Wells Fargo, who has headed a group of business executives trying to raise private funds to build a Minneapolis ballpark, thought he had assurances from baseball's commissioner, Bud Selig, that it would be another year before contraction would become a real threat.
"Major League Baseball has not met us halfway," Campbell said. "It's so confusing and depressing and disappointing. It's exactly the way it shouldn't have worked out."
The business community reflects the general public and is split on the issue, said Duane Benson, chief executive of the Minnesota Business Partnership, which represents the state's 100 largest businesses.
"The polls pretty much reflect our membership (of chief executives). A third don't care. A third say we have to have the Twins and a third say, 'No way.' You can get a majority, but you don't have the passion for the general population to rally around this."
Grangaard, who regularly attends Twins games with his children, said a local acquisition will work only if the Pohlads, Selig, Gov. Jesse Ventura -- who has opposed public financing of a stadium -- and lawmakers work together.
"Bud Selig should have shown more leadership and resolved this by now," Grangaard said. "We can get something done only if the state and the Pohlads are willing to make concessions to an outside group that they won't make to each other currently."
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