NC Moves One Step Closer to the Major Leagues
Posted November 14, 1997
RALEIGH — Major league baseball is striking out in Minnesota, and potential North Carolina owners are on deck. The Minnesota Twins are one step closer to relocating to the Tar Heel state.
It's tough to stay away from baseball cliches when a deal like this is on the line. Let's put it this way, it's the bottom of the ninth for fans of the Minnesota Twins. While the game is not over, it would take a last second homerun in Minnesota for the Twins not to move to North Carolina.
Don Beaver is eager, eager to draw major league baseball to North Carolina, in particular, to move the Twins to the Triad. And, the Minnesota legislature is helping out.
Thursday, the Minnesota House voted against funding a new stadium for the Twins. Friday morning the state Senate adjourned, basically accepting the fact that the Twins are leaving town. Beaver and his ownership group expect to move forward to purchase the team at the end of this month.
Beaver says his letter of intent goes into effect November 30th. At that time, he will submit the move proposal to Major League Baseball for approval.
If all goes well, the team would play two years in the "Knights Castle," the Triple-A stadium in Charlotte. The team would then move to a new stadium built between Greensboro and Winston-Salem, if and only if the additional taxes to build that stadium are approved by voters.
But with the Hornets, the Hurricanes and the Panthers already pawing for fans and corporate money, what would be the secret of baseball's success?
Beaver believes after the honeymoon period, the team is bond to win over the fans.
If Triad voters turn down a tax increase to pay for a new stadium, Beaver says there is a possibility Knight's stadium in Charlotte could be expanded to support a major league team. That would mean a permanent move to Charlotte.
There are still a lot of "ifs" here, the biggest is if the Governor of Minnesota calls back lawmakers before November 30th. Will Minnesota keep the Twins? We'll keep watching.