CAROLINA TWINS - Triad Troubles
We’ve reached the mid-1990s. The Tampa Bay Sweepstakes have played out, with both St. Petersburg and Phoenix getting expansion teams. However, relocation remained an option for many of the cities left out (as we’ve seen with the Virginia Fury and Sacramento).
One of these regions was North Carolina. From 1996-1998, businessmen and politicians in the Piedmont Triad area of NC (Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and High Point) made a big gamble: instead of building new minor-league stadiums, why not try to lure a major-league club with a new stadium? They came up with a plan for a $210 million stadium, one situated at the Interstate 40-Interstate 40 Business interchange in between Guilford and Forsyth County. This site was under dispute leading up to the referendum, but the general area of the site would have been in the area highlight below. 1
Don Beaver, a North Carolina businessman (and then-owner of the Charlotte Knights), would have paid for a third of the stadium, with the other two-thirds coming from taxpayers in Guilford and Forsyth County through a $0.50 tax on baseball tickets and a 1% tax on prepared foods. Of course, this tax proved unpopular, with restaurateurs and citizens organizing Citizens Against Unfair Taxes (spending $33,000 on their campaign, compared to the $899,000 spent by the “Say Yes Baseball” campaign).2
Beaver also entered into negotiations to buy the Twins from Carl Pohlad, who was having financial problems with the Twins. He reported that he’d lost roughly $26 million since 1994 (over half of his reported losses since 1984), while team revenue was 40% below league average ($70 million) at $42 million. He had been trying for some time to extort the Minnesota Legislature to buy him a new venue to replace the barely 15-year-old Metrodome (I get that it was a crummy stadium, but still!), to no avail. However, he saw an opportunity with Don Beaver to put pressure on the state government. Pohlad signed a letter of intent on October 3, 1997, to sell the team to Beaver for $150 million, contingent on the Twins failing to get a stadium deal in Minnesota and the stadium tax measure passing.3
Unfortunately for Beaver, the Guilford and Forsyth County voters had different ideas. The May 5, 1998 referendum for the taxes failed hard. The two-county election ended with “no” defeating “yes” by 96,433 to 55,262 votes. The votes were 59% to 41% in Forsyth and 67% to 33% in Guilford. While Beaver investigated a stadium opportunity in Charlotte, talks stalled out. The North Carolina effort was so defeated, Beaver admitted that Charlotte had no interest in the Expos’ relocation.4
Pohlad and his successors, who reportedly had little interest in North Carolina, continued in their pursuit of a Minnesota stadium (which included failed public ventures and a threat to contract the team that fell flat), eventually getting Target Field in 2010.5
Of course, this plan was a horrible idea. Quotes from the period showed concern from residents about traffic near the exurban complex. I’d say that @sc49erfan15 summed up the problem here:
Even if the vote went the other way, the results would still be terrible. You can best sum up what happened with this over-referenced moment from Fred Ottman’s wrestling career:
The voters should be commended for refusing to pay for two-thirds of Beaver’s stadium.
However, what if the Guilford and Forsyth County voters went the other way and Pohlad wasn’t bluffing?
I figured that the name should stay, with the identifier of “Carolina.” The titual Twins would be each of the Carolinas. Navy and red would also remain with the addition of flesh/tan for outlines and the twin men (taken from the Twins’ 1972 roundel alternate).
Part One - Dome-style Design
The first approach is an attempt to merge the Metrodome era look with the new setting, while incorporating pieces of the 2010 typeface cleanup. The primary is a direct riff on the ‘87-’09 design, while the secondary incorporates both twins representing their respective states (modified versions of Wikipedia's North/South Carolina state outlines), a three-pointed star for the Triad, and the cap logo. The insignias include a “C-underline” and an “NCSC” design (a localized version of the “TC”). Rockwell Bold is the lettering font.
The uniforms feature a new “Carolina” wordmark, with the secondary on the home uniform and the primary on the road. The big change from the Twins’ 1987-2009 uniforms is that the NoB’s are direct-sewn and red with navy outlines. The “NCSC” is on the socks.
The alternates include a navy top and a red-billed “NCSC” cap, along with a fauxback. This one uses the janky 1960s “Twins” script with an all-navy “NCSC” cap and the secondary as a patch.
The jacket features the home wordmark, the “C-underline” on the back, and white and red stripes on the trim.
Part Two - A 1960s Revival, with contrast!
The second approach modernizes the 1960s Twins set (what the 2010 Twins should have done) with a contrasting color style (inspired by the first secondary logo). The primary places the other secondary in a roundel, along with the team script (which I debuted in the current MLB thread on the Sports Logos section - using the 1959-60 Washington Senators’ tail design). The secondary/insignia features the “C” from my custom “TC.” A roundel with the “C” and a red border form the tertiary.
The uniforms follow my Project 32 Twins concept, except for a few key tweaks. The most notable among these is that the front numbers, cap logos, and sock stripes are dominantly red with navy or white outlines. I figured that it gave the uniforms a bit more “punch.” The primary is a sleeve patch for both sets.
The alternates also develop the co-dominance approach by alternating each Friday. The red jersey includes a matching cap, while the navy jersey features white front numbers (for contrast as a lighter element).
The jacket now has red sleeves and the “Carolina” script.
This move would have been an utter boondoggle had the voters and team gone through with it. While the Twins could have had some fantastic looks there, it’s for the best that it didn’t happen. C+C is appreciated, as always!
Up next, we start another long project - Expos Agnoistes!
1 Justin Catanoso, “Architects Present Ballpark Options,” News & Record, April 2, 1998, sec. Triad/State; Meghann Mollerus, “MLB in NC? It Struck Out 19 Years Ago | Wfmynews2.Com,” WFMY News 2, July 17, 2017, https://www.wfmynews2.com/article/news/local/mlb-in-nc-it-struck-out-19-years-ago/455758206; John A. Nagy, “The Baseball Question,” News & Record, May 5, 1998, sec. General News; Eric Okurowski, “StadiumPage.Com - North Carolina 1999,” accessed March 16, 2019, http://www.stadiumpage.com/concepts/NC1999_R.html.
2 Mollerus, “MLB in NC?;" Nagy, “The Baseball Question;" Jim Schlosser, “One Year Later, Opinions Remain Firm on Stadium - Land Set aside for a Triad Big-League Baseball Park Remains Vacant, and - Proponents of Big-League Ball for the Area Remain Convinced an Opportunity Was - Missed.,” News & Record, May 4, 1999, sec. General News.
3 Compiled from reports by staff writers Stan Olson and Michael Whitmer, Associated Press and Knight Ridder/Tribune., “Twins Sale Was Never Intended, Book Says,” Charlotte Observer, April 3, 2000, sec. Business Monday; Justin Catanoso, “Was Baseball Deal Charade? `Well, Sort of’ - Triad Business Journal,” Triad Business Journal, May 3, 1999, https://www.bizjournals.com/triad/stories/1999/05/03/tidbits.html; Nagy, “The Baseball Question.”
4 Dana Damico, “Stadium Site, Not Tax, Was Key in Kernersville,” Winston-Salem Journal, May 6, 1998, sec. A; Scott Dodd, “Charlotte and Baseball: Nothing Major League yet - City’s Sports Promoters Quite Happy with the Minor-League Knights,” Charlotte Observer, September 22, 2002, sec. Metro; David Rice, “Triad Says No to Baseball Decisive: Voters in Forsyth, Guilford Reject Food Tax,” Winston-Salem Journal, May 6, 1998, sec. A; Schlosser, “One Year Later, Opinions Remain Firm on Stadium;” Patrick Sweeney, “N. Carolina Voters Vote down Stadium Tax//as Triad Area Says No, Charlotte Group Makes Move to Lure Twins,” St. Paul Pioneer Press, May 6, 1998, sec. Main; Jay Weiner, “N.C. Voters Reject Taxes to Help Build Twins Ballpark - Now the Attention Falls to Charlotte,” Star Tribune: Newspaper of the Twin Cities, May 6, 1998, sec. News.
5 Catanoso, “Was Baseball Deal Charade? `Well, Sort of’ - Triad Business Journal;” Compiled from reports by staff writers Stan Olson and Michael Whitmer, Associated Press and Knight Ridder/Tribune., “Twins Sale Was Never Intended, Book Says;” Foon Rhee, “Twins Tentatively Agree to Deal Keeping Them in Minnesota,” Charlotte Observer, July 23, 1998, sec. Metro.