City continues mission of keeping E-Twins, meets with Minnesota front office

Published 6:45 pm Thursday, September 29, 2016

Star Photo/Bryce Phillips  City representatives had a meeting with Minnesota Twins officials Tuesday in regards to keeping the Elizabethton Twins in the city.

Star Photo/Bryce Phillips
City representatives had a meeting with Minnesota Twins officials Tuesday in regards to keeping the Elizabethton Twins in the city.

The initiative of keeping the Elizabethton Twins minor league baseball team an affiliate of the Minnesota Twins professional baseball squad, within the confines of Joe O’Brien Field, took a step forward this week.
City representation arrived in Elizabethton early Thursday morning after traveling to Minnesota and meeting with the Twins’ top officials Tuesday at Target Field. According to Elizabethton City Mayor Curt Alexander, who attended the meeting, steps were made in the process of keeping the Elizabethton Twins at home.
“The meeting went great,” Alexander said. “We met for a couple of hours. Their facilities are world class.”
City and Minnesota officials discussed the hot topic of Joe O’Brien where renovations on dressing rooms and stadium seating is estimated to cost nearly $1.8 million.
“There really wasn’t any new news to come from the meeting,” Alexander said. “Our goal of the meeting was to let them know we are willing to do what we can to keep the Elizabethton Twins and Minnesota reassured us that they want to stay in Elizabethton with the history the organization has had in the community.”
While talks went well Tuesday, nothing official can come through the pipeline until Minnesota makes a hire for their general manager position, Alexander said.
Minnesota announced the ouster of former General Manager Terry Ryan on Monday, Aug. 8, and placed assistant GM Rob Antony into the interim position while the organization looks for a permanent hire. According to reports, Antony is the lone in-house candidate in the running for the job. Alexander added that during the meeting, he learned an expected timeline for a new Minnesota GM is expected to take between 30 to 60 days.
“Once a new general manager is in place, talks can resume,” he said.
The mayor added that the third-party representatives are being courted during this process to assist with the price tag of renovations.
“It’s going to take a combined effort,” Alexander said. “We’ve inquired about some third party donors, we’re still in constant talks with others, and always looking for any others. It’s going to take the Twins, the City and the third party side to pitch in and come together to make this happen.”
At the end of the day, the smiles and cheers of fans at Joe O’Brien Field is what the initiative is all about, Alexander said. City Council members saw the support come in droves at their recent meeting, with signed petitions with over 1,000 individuals pledging their support to keep the Twins in Elizabethton.
“That’s why we’re fighting as hard as we can to keep the Twins in Elizabethton,” he added. “They have such a rich history in our community, being here for over 40-plus years. You look at the summers in Elizabethton and Twins baseball is right up there with Cyclone football. We’re going to continue to stay in contact with Minnesota to do everything in our power to make sure the Twins stay in Elizabethton.”

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