Minnesota’s big day in the national spotlight is brought to you by … the Metropolitan Council?
OK, that’s a reach too far. But this isn’t: The same mid-20th-century awakening of regional identity and cooperation that gave birth to the Metropolitan Council 50 years ago also deserves credit for Minnesota’s acquisition of both a Major League Baseball and a National Football League franchise in 1961.
In fact, one can fairly claim that the Twin Cities regional story started with sports. A Harper’s Magazine article in 1969 titled “The Minnesota experiment: How to make a big city fit to live in” argued that “on the sports pages appeared the first sprouts of civic wisdom” in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
That story is worth telling on a day in which regionalism’s fruits are on vivid display — and in an election year in which one party’s candidates have been spotted wearing buttons with a slash through the words “Met Council.” Regionalism’s future and the Metropolitan Council’s role in it will be big themes in this year’s races for governor and the Legislature.
Council chair Alene Tchourumoff told a bit of the story in her State of the Region address at the council’s 50th anniversary bash on Jan. 25. There’s good reason that the Minnesota Twins’ logo depicts two jolly baseball players, Minnie and Paul, reaching across a river to shake hands, Tchourumoff said. It reflects the change in mind-set that was required to convince baseball’s moguls to move the Washington Senators to Minnesota.