Today the Minnesota Vikings will play their last game at the HHH Metrodome in Minneapolis. That’s fine, they’re getting a new stadium on the same site, and the Twins left for Target Field years ago.
The news media has been making a big thing about the Vikings last game there, but as you know I’m much more interested in the time the Twins spent there. It’s a bittersweet thing to see the ‘Dome go. There are many great memories there, and in all honesty, many not-so-great memories. Of course, the Dome saw the Twins break the “curse” of Minnesota teams not being able to win the “big one” with their victory in the 1987 World Series, followed by one of the greatest World Series victories in 1991. There was the great get-together at the Dome after the Twins won their division in 1987 and returned home to the Metrodome late at night to find the place filled to capacity with fans and a rockin’ Twins pep-fest! There was Herby’s grand slam that seemed to break the whole World Series open (a World Series grand slam was almost unheard of!) and there was Kirby’s Game 6 home run that sent the series to game 7. There was Jack Morris’s unbelievable Game 7 in 1991. Then there was Kirby’s farewell a few years later. The dome turned into a special place for Twins fans.
The dome had its advantages for the fans, chief among them was that it had a roof and climate control. You knew that no matter when you went to a game, it would be played. There would be no rainouts. In fact, I would guess that almost 50% of all the Twins games I went to at the Metrodome would have been at least delayed by the weather if they had been played at Target Field. I remember thunderstorms, even tornadoes, during games I attended. I remember one miserable late September game I went to when the wind whipped the cold rain outside, but it was warm and toasty inside the Dome.
On the other hand, the Dome was not a good baseball stadium, as ballparks are measured. The Dome was designed for football, and converted for baseball, so the sight-lines were all wrong for baseball. And because the playing field was basically down in a pit, with high walls even behind home plate, it was really hard to get the intimacy between the crowd and players that is so much a part of the game of baseball. And then there was the “baggy” out in right field…
Admittedly, Target Field is a great ballpark. But there will still be something missing when they tear down the “Hump”.