Bridge collapse forces postponement of Thursday's Twins game
August 1, 2007
MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- The Minnesota Twins have postponed Thursday's game against the Kansas City Royals and the groundbreaking ceremony for their new stadium due to the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge over the Mississippi River.
As rescue workers were on the scene of the tragedy less than a mile from the Metrodome, Twins president Dave St. Peter held an impromptu press conference during the fourth inning of Wednesday's game - approximately two hours after the bridge collapsed.
Minnesota's front office was made aware of the bridge collapse at approximately 6:30 p.m. local time, and after a discussion with the Department of Public Safety, decided to play Wednesday's game as scheduled.
Team officials feared traffic leaving the stadium would hinder first-response emergency vehicles from reaching the site.
"We felt as though the responsible thing to do was to play the game for the simple reason that not playing the game would have put 20 to 25,000 people back on the streets," St. Peter said. "In order to allow those first responders to do their job with hopes of rescuing survivors, we felt as though, as difficult as it might be, the right thing to do was to play tonight.
"Tomorrow is a different story. We think that for the same reasons we played tonight, to try to keep traffic maybe controlled, so to speak, tomorrow we feel as though we want to be respectful to the people who are trying to work in this situation and moreover, out of respect for the lives that have been lost and the people that have been impacted. We think not playing baseball tomorrow was the right thing. A difficult call, but one we have comfort with."
The bridge collapse occurred northeast of the Metrodome on Minneapolis' main north/south thoroughfare through downtown. Considering the time of the tragedy, several Twins fans were likely involved as they made their way to the stadium for the 7:10 p.m. start.
"We have a lot of folks, obviously fans, season ticket holders, moreover we have employees we are concerned about, front-office employees, concession workers, and certainly there were Twins fans impacted by this," St. Peter said. "It's a tough night to play baseball."
The Twins' front office has been in touch with the commissioner's office about the situation.
Commissioner Bud Selig was scheduled to be in Minnesota for Thursday afternoon's groundbreaking ceremony, which has now been postponed indefinitely. St. Peter said an announcement on the makeup date of Thursday's game should happen in the coming days.
The fans at Wednesday's game were informed of the situation by the public address announcer prior to the first pitch, and he asked that fans refrain as much as possible from using cell phones and to leave the stadium in an orderly manner if compelled to do so.
Announcements were being made throughout the game as the Twins continued to have dialogue with the Department of Public Safety to discuss the challenges of fans leaving the Metrodome following the game.
The Cleveland Indians, Minnesota's next opponent, have also been contacted about the situation, but St. Peter said the team would address any possible changes to that series at a later time.
"In terms of the weekend, we have not made any decisions relative to the Indians series," St. Peter said. "We will deal with this one day at a time. Right now we're focused on tonight and tomorrow and our thoughts go out to the families impacted by this."
Updated on Wednesday