HOME SWEET DOME
I feel like I am the only one in the entire State of Minnesota who will publicly admit that the Metrodome will be sorely missed by the Twins. I am convinced of it more than ever after watching game 163 Tuesday night.
Oh sure, the Dome was built mainly for Football and is not really designed as a baseball stadium. And certainly it had its quirks, such as with its Teflon roof, where balls were often lost. Its roof has been deflated 3 times. And yes it was built without air conditioning…being added 1 year later. It is a 27 year old multi use (try to name a few major multi-use stadiums anymore…most are either football or baseball only) facility that was built for $68 million dollars…$2 million dollars under budget. It is the only venue in the United States to host a MLB All Star Game (1985), a World Series (1987-1991), a Super Bowl (1992), and a NCAA Final Four (1992-2001). It was also the home of Minnesota Gopher football from 1982 until this year.
It’s hard to believe that the excitement generated by that crowd of over 54,000 people in that Dome last Tuesday could be regenerated by 40,000 people sitting in a cold, rainy, damp Target Field. No doubt the Dome has been good to the Minnesota Twins. The crowd and the field were definite home field advantages that no other facility can replace. I was there in 1987, the first year of the homer hanky, for game one of against the St. Louis Cardinals and will absolutely never forget the deafening noise that was generated in the bubble.
With a small market ballclub, it is important to draw from a large area. The Twins over the years have successfully promoted themselves as a regional team…hence MINNESOTA TWINS. Coming to a game from Bemidji, Fargo, St. Cloud, Duluth, Rochester or Sioux Falls, with the Dome you always knew you were going to have a game in 72 degree weather. With confidence you would take vacation time, load up the car with the family, book a hotel room, and head off to Minneapolis. This year the attendance was 2,362,149. The Twins have had 11 seasons in the Metrodome where they have drawn two million fans or more. In 1988 the Twins even drew 3 million fans. I am not sure I am going to be so eager to take vacation days, book hotel rooms, drive 4.5 hours, pay $100 for tickets and get there to watch a game get rained out after 4 innings.
I understand the want and the need in most cases for a new baseball only stadium. I personally think the Twins organization will regret not putting a retractable Dome on the new Target Field 2 or 3 years after the novelty has worn off. May and June were very cold months. October baseball, when it is the most exciting, is even worse in Minnesota outside. What I don’t understand is the “bad-mouthing” by even the Twins themselves on the old Dome. It was one of the best things the Minnesota Twins had going for them. And its baseball days are numbered.