Posted at 1:59 PM on May 17, 2005
by David Zingler
As the new stadium bill slides through the legislative process, I thought this may be a good time to remind all of the new stadium haters out there just how terrible their beloved Metrodome really is.
Let’s start with the doorways – whether you are coming or going, it’s always a fiasco. First off, since the overly empowered ushers will only allow you to use the revolving doors, why are there twice as many standard doors? There’s nothing like being crammed into the hallway-like concourses (we’ll get to those later) at the end of game, while trying desperately to exit the so-called stadium and seeing a senior citizen with thick, black framed glasses and a glint of power in his eye, standing with his arms spread blocking the door ways thinking, “can’t use these doors,” with a smirk on his face. Apparently, fan friendly is not a term that has penetrated the Teflon roof. Of course, here in Minnesota we (well, most of us) are too nice to say anything. In New York or Chicago, they’d overrun the poor guy and charge out the door screaming.
I don’t mean to pick on my elders. I’m sure they are just following orders, but they do seem to enjoy it a little too much. It’s not like the Dome was designed with them in mind anyway. With minimal wheel chair seating, steep stairs in the upper deck and long stairways to the premium seats in the lower deck, the Dome is ill-suited for the elderly and physically challenged.
Back to the lovely concourses, which at most stadiums are airy and wide. Ideally you would saunter toward the concession stands, calmly perusing souvenir stands and people-watching – then stand in line for a little while, keep an eye on the game from a distance, get your hotdog and beer and casually amble back to your seat. In the Dome however, it’s a frantic dodge and weave down a narrow hallway and into a long line. Forget about watching the game, unless you are lucky enough to have one of the 19 inch Zeniths perched above select concession stands in your sights; they are no doubt the very same ones that showed Gary Gaetti fling the ball to Kent Hrbek for the final out of the 1987 World Series. Otherwise, you have some drab cinder blocks to stare at, which leaves you wondering, “Am I at a baseball game or in my grandma’s basement?” Oh, and watch out for that disgruntled food service worker pushing a supply cart down the hall like a maniac. Get in his way and you may lose a toe, or worse.
After you get your day old hotdog (especially on “dollar a dog” night), you get to return to your narrow, hard blue seat which has the perfect sightlines....for a football game.
Your rant of the Metrodome's inadequacies makes me peevish. How could you fail to mention that the Metrodome is the only place outside of Europe where an aluminum trough substitutes for urinals?!
The crazy thing about the Metrodome (which does suck in the worst way, don't get me wrong) is that it has a roof. This wouldn't be a big deal if we were in, say, Arizona. But since we're in, say, Minnesota, and since we expect our squad to play in say, October, I'm thinking we need to take a long hard look at the whole no-roof situation.
This is only my (not terribly educated) guess, but isn't *air pressure* the reason for the whole "revolving doors only" policy?
Of course anyone who has seen more than one or two games at the Metrodome has had the experience of exiting through the ordinary doors--i.e., feeling the rush of air, pushed by the weight of the roof, that shoves one out of the building. I've always presumed that the Dome staff people in charge of maintaining the proper air pressure dictate how many of the ordinary doors will be opened at the end of the game and how many will be kept closed.
If I'm right, then that power-mad senior citizen is just trying to keep the roof from caving in, right?
Well, if you don't like the roof, take a look at this picture of the Metrodome under construction and just imagine how it might have been...
As a former employee in the maintenance division at the Dome, I feel I must defend the blocking of the doors. It is indeed true that if all those doors were opened, the roof would collapse! As it is, technicians in a control room behind the scenes have to increase the pressure towards the end of the game in anticipation of people exiting. I'm not a huge fan of the Dome but I grew up with it and I do feel a bit sentimental about it from time to time (http://www.manyhighways.com/travel/riding_around_america_minnesota_baseball.php).
BTW, what's up with the non-Dome image in the header of this page?
I realize air pressure is the reason for keeping the doors shut, but my real questions is why did they put them in if they aren't going to let anyone use them? Why not add more revolving doors so people aren't herded like cattle?
I guess I could have articulated that better.
The author has it right. I went to a game a month ago and I had to wait a half hour to exit the dome. I wonder what happens at Vikings games??? I won't be going to too many games---it's just too much trouble.
When my kids were younger, I used to LOVE leaving the metrodome and getting blown out the door. The Twins were lousy then and I thought it an apt metaphor for the state of the team when the most fun you could have at a Twins game, was leaving a Twins game.
Oh, by the way, they've been using troughs at Fenway Park for years. However, I think they were installed before aluminum was in wide use.
"The author has it right. I went to a game a month ago and I had to wait a half hour to exit the dome. I wonder what happens at Vikings games??? I won't be going to too many games---it's just too much trouble."
Life's hard I guess when you have to wait a little bit to leave the stadium. Have you considered the possibility that you don't know where the exits are? Even during the play-offs I didn't have to wait more than 10 minutes to get out of the dome or to pee in a trough.
You will also be the first one whining when it's too cold to sit in an open-air stadium like the one we're going to get. Toughen up a bit, will ya?
I guessed the exits were in the same place as when I came in---I know—that’s a leap of logic. But wait, I guess I could have hopped over the seats and scaled over about 10-15 sections, with the other 10 year olds, just to get up the stairs faster and then out into the same bottle neck and perhaps find a different exit. I should try that next time---it may save me a whole five or ten minutes.
As far as me complaining about it being too cold, you won’t hear it from me. I can assure you I won’t be going to a cold game----much like camping---that's not for me.
On a positive note, I always liked the aluminum troughs---we just need more of them. I hope those are in the plans for the new stadium.
You are right about the many inadequacies of the Metrodome. But it has one advantage that cancels out all the problems--you can play baseball there in April, early May and from mid-September and October. Who wants to sit outside in Minneapolis during those months? Think of all the rainouts, rescheduling, and watching games in your parka. These are the very reasons why the dome was built in the first place. Has everyone forgotten?
You are from Milwaukee. I have been to several games in Miller Park. One time a storm was approaching so they quickly and silently closed the roof. The game was played on that wonderful real grass, the storm passed, and the roof was reopened. No one had to be issued a rain check or wait out a rain delay or any other inconvenience. I thought that this was exactly what we need in Minneapolis. Don't you agree?