Judge bars major league baseball from eliminating Twins, orders team to play next season in Minnesota

Saturday, November 17th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Major league baseball was barred from eliminating the Minnesota Twins next season when a judge on Friday ordered the team to fulfill its lease and play its 2002 home schedule in the Metrodome.

The decision by Hennepin County District Judge Harry Seymour Crump throws into question last week's vote by baseball owners to eliminate two major league teams next season. The owners didn't pick the teams, but made clear the Twins and Montreal Expos were the likely candidates.

Hours after the owners' vote, the Twins and major league baseball were sued by the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, which operates the Metrodome. The Twins' lease at the ballpark runs through the 2002 season.

Crump in issuing a temporary injunction wrote that ``there is substantial likelihood that the Commission will prevail on the merits of this case.''

Baseball and the Twins said they will try to overturn the decision in the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

``We are confident that we will prevail at the end of the day,'' said Roger Magnuson, the lawyer for the Twins and major league baseball.

Earlier in the day, Gov. Jesse Ventura met with lawmakers and business leaders and said he will take a more active role in the fight to save the team.

Twins owner Carl Pohlad has been repeatedly stymied in attempts to obtain government funding for a new ballpark, viewed as a way to attract more fans and revitalize the franchise.

The judge also ordered Pohlad not to sell the Twins unless the new owner agrees to have the team play its 2002 home schedule in the Metrodome.