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40 Years Ago Today, the Vikings Lost—and the Crowd Went Wild

Plus a lifeline for local news, election truthers for MN gov, and a reason to smash all your bear figurines in today's Flyover.

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Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily 1 p.m.(ish) digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Four Decades Later, Met Stadium Is Still For Sale

On December 20, 1981, the Vikings suffered a historic loss. Not because it affected their season (the team finished fourth in the NFC at 7-9) but because as the clock ran out, so did the team’s tenure at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington. With a beautiful new downtown Minneapolis dome awaiting the Vikings for 1982, the arena was set to be demolished, and the fans, uh, helped, ripping out seats, tearing up turf, and dismantling whatever else they could.

Over at the Pioneer Press, Chris Tomasson goes all in with this look at the legacy of Met’s destruction, particularly at the fate of the uprooted seats, many of which have fallen into the hands of collectors and can be worth a little something. But seats aren’t all that was salvaged. You can get a hacksawed section of the goal post signed by the four Purple People Eaters themselves for $3,500 on eBay. (Yes, fans actually brought hacksaws to the game for that purpose.) A floodlight that’s (possibly) from the parking lot? $100 on Craigslist. (*Indiana Jones voice* That belongs in a museum!) Incidentally, no arrests were made. Where was CrimeWatchMpls when we needed them?

Everyone Say “Thank You, New Jersey”

Here at Racket, we think strippers are pretty cool—but not when they’re giant corporations stripping local newspapers of their assets. Yeah, we’re talking about you, Gannett. Until recently, the nation’s largest media company (you may know them from their unusable websites and flagship pub, USA Today) owned seven Minnesota community papers: the Granite Falls Advocate Tribune, the Montevideo American-News, the Redwood Falls Gazette, the Crookston Times, the Sleepy Eye Herald-Dispatch, the St. James Plaindealer, and the Tri-County News in Cottonwood. After wringing every last penny from these papers, Gannett sold them off to a New Jersey corporation called CherryRoad—and this, believe it or not, may be good news. As John Reinan reports over at the Strib, the new owners are talking a good game about supporting the publications, and both staffers and industry experts are cautiously hopeful. We’ve heard these kinds of promises before, often from owners whose patience quickly expires when the money doesn’t roll in, but let’s see what happens here.

Election Inte-Gritty Reboot 

An air of radical skepticism pervaded a Republican gubernatorial debate held last week, the Minnesota Reformer reports, with all five candidates responding like the most annoying kids in your Philosophy 101 class when asked a pretty simple question: Who won the presidential election last year? “I can’t know what I don’t know,” said alleged physician Scott Jensen. “I think we have to take that attitude towards 2020.” Whether out of cowardice, derangement, duplicity, or all of the above, the remaining four candidates equivocated in their own unique ways, to which we can only respond: shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, and SHUT UP.  Who knows if any of these candidates are using their real names? Who knows if they won any of their own elections? Or if this debate even happened? Maybe moderator Hugh Hewitt is some kind of a mass delusion. Maybe you’re all just part of a dream I’m having and none of this is real. Can you know that, Scott? Anyway, in a week where the Democrats committed themselves to remaining visionless corporatist disappointments until the last melted ice cap drowns the last homeless person, here’s a good reminder that we’ve got even worse options.  

A Holiday Bear-icle

Does this story about a Worthington man breaking his bear figurine, collecting the pieces, and discovering a “trio of chunky cherubs” belong in a newspaper? Specifically, does it belong in the Duluth News Tribune, a newspaper that caters to an audience 330 miles away? No, but goddammit we’re happy to have discovered it. The story, as told by journalist Julie Buntjer, begins with Bob Benson heading to the refrigerator for some eggs. The southwestern Minnesota homeowner must’ve bumped the fridge, since the largest of three Christmas-themed decorative bear statues sitting atop it came tumbling down. It shattered upon impact, revealing a head-scratching holiday surprise: itty-bitty, ghostly white, one-armed cherubs nesting inside the bear.

“When it fell, I quick swept it up. I picked up the bigger (piece) and looked inside and said, ‘Oh my goodness!’” Bob’s wife, Jane, tells the paper. “I don’t know why they put cherubs in there.” Bob theorizes that the cherubs were placed inside the bear to “get rid of them,” though he’s unsure why. Jane’s theory? “It’s Christmas, and maybe the angel was sent to us.” The couple has no plans to smash the remaining bears open. “Probably” purchased at Shopko years ago, Jane reports, the cherubs and the Christmas bear are made of the same “resin or epoxy” material. The Bensons plan to make the shattered bear/cherub decor part of their annual Christmas display. God bless America.