MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty will sign the Twins-Hennepin County new ballpark legislation in an on-field ceremony before Friday's home game against Seattle, the club announced Tuesday. The event will start at 7:05 p.m. CT, which moves the first pitch of series opener with the Mariners to approximately 7:30 p.m. Joining Pawlenty in the ceremony will be Twins owner Carl Pohlad, Twins Sports Inc. president Jerry Bell, and a long list of Minnesota state legislators including representative Brad Finstad and Senator Steve Kelley, the co-authors of the bill. Former Twins greats Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew and Tony Oliva will also be in attendance.
Fans attending Friday's game will receive a voucher for a complimentary soft drink and hot dog, which can be redeemed at the game or any remaining Twins home game. The deal between the team and Hennepin County, which calls for a sales tax extension to fund a 42,000-seat open-air facility in downtown Minneapolis, passed the Minnesota House on a bipartisan 71-61 vote on May 20. After some last-minute deliberations, identical language passed the Minnesota Senate on May 21 with a 34-32 vote. The total package is for a ballpark which will cost $522 million, including $130 million that will be paid by the team. Other provisions in the bill call for extra funding for youth sports programs and libraries in Hennepin County. Club officials have said the new ballpark, which will be built in the warehouse district north of Target Center, will be ready for games for the start of the 2010 season. The Twins played at open-air Metropolitan Stadium from the time they moved to Minnesota in 1961 until 1981. The Twins have played indoors at the Metrodome since 1982, winning the World Series there in 1987 and 1991.
Jason Brummond is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.