Thursday, August 02, 2007

Back in Minnesota, Twins Deal with Tragedy [J. Mark English]

From the Minnesota Twins website:

Thursday's Twins-Royals afternoon game has been postponed in light of the tragic I-35W bridge collapse that took place in Minneapolis on Wednesday night.

The team has also postponed Thursday evening's groundbreaking ceremony for the new ballpark.

At about 6:05 p.m. CT on Wednesday, the four-lane I-35W bridge near the Metrodome collapsed into the Mississippi River. The collapse sent an estimated 50 vehicles into the water and onto land below, in what became a sea of destruction that included fire, smoke, injured people and rescuers.

Workers had been repairing the 40-year-old bridge's surface as part of improvements along that stretch of the interstate. The death toll was reported to be seven as of late Wednesday night, with 20 people missing and recovery efforts suspended until the morning.

Twins officials contemplated canceling Wednesday's game, but were concerned that an influx of traffic into the area could impede rescue vehicles.

"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 20-25,000 people back on the streets," Twins president Dave St. Peter said. "And we didn't want to do that, 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."

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig was scheduled to be in town for Thursday's groundbreaking. St. Peter said Major League Baseball is aware of the situation and the postponements.

There was a moment of prayer held before the game Wednesday and fans were encouraged to stay off their cell phones and exit calmly if they were going to leave.

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