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May 16, 2005

Why I love the Dome

One of the truest things I have read during this never-ending stadium debate is that if the Metrodome is ever replaced, sooner or later we will miss it and long for the days when the Twins called it home. I know, it is hard to believe, but it is just human nature. We will all forget about it's negative qualities as we remember the good times and the things that made the Metrodome unique, and yes, even special.

So, as you already know, my son and I went to the game last Friday night. Since the game went into extra innings (thank goodness I brought my son's Gameboy) it gave me an opportunity to reflect on some of the things that make the stadium unique. Here is a list, in no particular order, of some of the things I know I will remember fondly of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome:

  1. The blast of air that pushes you out of the stadium after games. I just had to get that out of the way right off the bat as it is the most obvious.
  2. The urinal troughs. I don't care how bad I have to go, the minute I see 15 guys lined up at the trough I suddenly don't have to go as bad. In fact, I could stand there for an hour and never get out a drop. When they tear down the Dome I am actually considering trying to get a hold of a trough and setting it up in my basement bathroom just to freak people out who come over. You can't put a price on that kind of entertainment.
  3. The Baggie. Really, there should be no need to explain it, but that baggie is, for better or worse, the signature aspect of our baseball field. Minute Maid Park has the hill in CF, we have the Baggie. Bank One Ballpark has the hot tubs, we have the Baggie. It is truly disgusting, but I know we will look back on this and laugh.
  4. The Field Fare concession stands. I can imagine this conversation took place during the planning for the Dome. Planner One: "I know! Let's make really narrow concourses, far too few concession stands, and then let's staff those stands with volunteers who have never worked there before!!" Planner Two: "We shall dub these stands "Field Fare" and people will love them (even though they will stand in line for an hour just to get a hot dog)."
  5. The cup-holders built into the seats. Have you ever noticed that the rows at the Metrodome have 2 fewer cup-holders than is necessary if everyone has a drink? My son and I got two drinks while at the game Friday night. We were sitting in seats 1 and 2 in our row, and someone was already sitting in seat 3 when we got there. He was already using the cup-holder in front of him. My son put his cup in the holder in front of him. This, of course, left me with no cup-holder. Who is the genius that came up with this strategy?
  6. The speakers. Have you ever looked up at the speakers over the field? They are enormous. I can't believe that the teflon dome can hold these monsters up. Scary when you think about it.
  7. The curtain. What other stadium needs a huge curtain to cover up the mass of unused seats every game? How long before we need a curtain at the new stadium? Five years? Never? Hopefully we'll get a chance to find out.
  8. The sight lines. This is my view of the game from the third base line if I look straight ahead. Like I said on this picture, absolutely pathetic. I make it a point to never sit on the 3rd base line because of how sick I get of turning my head to the right. After nine innings it literally gets painful.
  9. The roof. I know I've already said that "I don't need no stinking roof" but it was cold Friday night. I was happy to have a roof over my head and a comfortable temperature of 72 degrees to enjoy the game in. I guarantee there won't be a person alive in Minnesota that won't miss that roof at some point.
  10. The football press box area. Also known as the Cambria Sky Box. I think it is hilarious that parties are held in this press area every game. I wonder if the Vikings get the money for selling out this area too.
  11. The Astroturf. This is something I already miss and look back on with nostalgia. That old field was horrible. I think Keith Millard once said it was like playing a game out on 494. Do you remember how during the last season on this surface they painted it with faint, white stripes to give it that "just mowed" appearance? Wow. How ridiculous.
  12. The noise. A new stadium for either the Twins or the Vikings will never be able to duplicate the ear splitting noise I have experienced in the Dome. Noise so loud it disorients you for two days after the game. That is what I call home field advantage.
  13. Lastly, I'll always remember the first time I walked into the majestic Metrodome and how, as a child, I was just stunned by the enormity of it all. It blew me away how big the place was, and how it was all enclosed in a single "room." I fell in love with the place immediately. I'm sure most of you had a similar reaction.

So, there you have it. I'm sure all of you could add your own. Of course, feel free to do so.

In closing, just let me say that you will note that some of the items above are good qualities and some of the items are bad qualities. Regardless, all of them together will provide Minnesotans with countless memories of what it was like to watch baseball indoors for almost 30 years. And while I hope our time in the Metrodome is coming to a close, I will look back on all of these memories of the building fondly.

Posted by snackeru at May 16, 2005 12:23 PM | Stadiums

Comments

I still think you should have gotten some of the old turf for your screen porch, Shane. Being able to get turf toe, blow out an ACL, it would have been hysterical!

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at May 16, 2005 12:37 PM

Yes, that would have been awesome. Does anyone know where I can get some of the old Metrodome Astroturf? I am definitely willing to buy some...

Posted by: Shane at May 16, 2005 12:42 PM

I, too, was struck by the vastness of the Dome when I first visited at the tender age of nine. Tom Brunansky hit an inside the park, grand slam homerun in that game! I am still struck with awe when I drive by, even if it is not to see a game. I will go out of my way to drive by the Dome when I have a chance. I also love the suction of the doors when the game lets out. It is difficult for me, because while the Dome is a pit, it is all I know. Because of moments like Games 6 and 7 of the 1987 World Series, several great Vikings victories, and the above mentioned Brunansky homer, I have so many happy and pleasant memories of the place. That being said, I fully realize that the Twins need a "real" baseball stadium.

I do have experience with outdoor baseball, as I once went to a game at the old Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati. It struck me as the Dome without a roof. Granted, all of the seats faced the field, but it had no character. It was just paint, concrete, and uncomfortable chairs. There was no atmosphere and no history, unlike I imagine one would find at places like Wrigley, Fenway, and Camden Yards. It was literally the Dome with the roof shaved off.

Curt in Grand Forks

PS-- The reason for the cup holder problem is that I stole one back in 1992. It is now proudly displayed in my sports den, and still used to my beverage every Sunday afternoon!

Posted by: Curt Hanson at May 16, 2005 1:17 PM

I will always remember going to the Dome in the early 90's and seeing a women about 7 rows in front of me along the third base side with an umbrella. It started raining really hard during the game and the roof started leaking right on her seat. The usher quickly brought her an umbrella to use.

Posted by: Steve at May 16, 2005 1:57 PM

That is hilarious, Steve. I don't think I've ever seen it rain in the Dome. Amazing.

And Curt, I knew you would bring up your stolen cup holder. That is why I didn't write about it. When they tear down the place, I will have a cup holder of my own. I guarantee it! I am very jealous of your foresight in taking the one you have.

Posted by: Shane at May 16, 2005 2:51 PM

In my basement I have an old wooden seat from Met Stadium. I don't think I will ever think fondly enough of the dome to want to get a seat from there if and when they finally take the wrecking ball to the place.
-Jiminstpaul

Posted by: Jim in St. Paul at May 16, 2005 3:23 PM

I too suffer fromn the SKS (Shy Kidney Syndrome) which is why I withhold liquids 24-hours before attending a MetroDome event. Think I'm kidding, don't you?

And those speakers. Ever been in the Dome when the wind is whipping a good 30 mph? Look up and see a 1000-lb speaker waving like a cornstalk in a thunderstorm over your head....hoping those single strand wires will hold....

Posted by: Brian Maas at May 16, 2005 3:59 PM

Brian, that is hilarious. Whenever I go to the Dome I make sure I am completely drained, and if I have to get a drink it is always a small and I only drink half of it. SKS! So true ...

Posted by: Shane at May 16, 2005 4:03 PM

Steve Rushin (yea, Steve Rushin, the Senior writer for Sports Illustrated. Yea, I'm a name dropper.) told me that after the Vikings final game at the Met, he saw people walking through the parking lot with pieces of the goal posts.

Posted by: TwinsJunkie at May 16, 2005 8:06 PM

I remember that same sense of awe as I entered the Kingdome in Seattle as a kid. But I wonder if anybody misses that monster yet?

I also remember watching a game in the Metrodome from the precipice over the baggie. You can't see the right fielder unless you risk your life by leaning hard over the railing. Not exactly an endearing memory.

Posted by: ss at May 17, 2005 6:58 PM

I went to the first game in dome (1982) Twins/Phillies exhibition. Kent Hrbek was skinny, and I was amazed at the roof (I was also sitting just a few rows below the roof).

Some of my unique dome memories are:

1) Speaker actually falling from some of its supports. That might have been the night of the roof collapse. I think the game was called. I think it was against the Angels. I recall Reggie Jackson in right field.

2) Dave Kingman's ground rule double through a hole in the roof.

3) Dan Gladden's starting of a triple play after catching a ball off the plexiglass.

4) Inaugeral Timbywolves season - basketball in the upper deck of a dome does not make for great viewing.

5) having to bring a jacket to a game on a 75 degree evening because the air conditioner was too high.

6) Bob Casey's voice reverberating through the place.

7) My secret parking place accross the railroad tracks toward the West Bank of the UM campus.

8) The beauty of a homerun bouncing off the set of vertically folded up seats. - boy if that doesn't remind you of Babe Ruth. /sarcasm

9) the chalk lines that seem to get wider and wider as players run over them. Nope no paint for these guys.

10) praying that no one blows out a knee on the old turf with the seams that raise about three feet over the playing surface. (of course Billy Sims and Tripp Wellbourne weren't so lucky).

11) not being able to see anything in left field from the right field upper deck.

12) the "We like it here" sign down the first base line into the tunnel, which was certainly not as powerful as the jedi mind trick given it still did not get me to "like it here."

Posted by: J. Lichty at May 18, 2005 1:04 PM

I was inspired by Curt, and now have a cup holder of my own! I found it unscrewed on a seat in the top row behind a pole, so it won't cause any problems

Posted by: TwinsJunkie at May 18, 2005 4:27 PM

Mr. Lichty, thanks so much for your contribution! I completely forgot about the "We like it here" sign! I wish that sign was still up, no matter how untruthful it is now. Hilarious! And it seems we have similar "secret" parking spots. I will definitely miss that when the Dome is vacated.

Posted by: Shane at May 19, 2005 9:01 AM

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