No smoking in the Metrodome! And a few other memories, besides
We asked members of the Public Insight Network to relate their favorite memories of baseball in the Metrodome. Here are a few of them.
Scott Stulen, Minneapolis:
In the spring of 1986, Cub Scout troop 246 went to the Metrodome for a game vs. the then-just "California" Angels. We settled into our seats in lower left field. The Twins built a lead going into the late innings, when a powerful thunderstorm rolled into the Twin Cities.
The storm carried with it straight-line winds that the Metrodome computer system interpreted as an excess of air pressure inside the dome.
As the air was vented to relieve the false reading, the loss in pressure caused massive waves to ripple through the roof, pushed by the gusts outdoors. A gash appeared over the third-base seats and rain started to flood through the tear. The light decks began to sway and dip ominously, more threatening in appearance than reality.
For the first time in my memory, I saw pure panic in the adults around me. I thought for a few seconds that I might die in section 141 beneath a falling bank of speakers. Within minutes the storm passed, the computer corrected the pressure, and order was restored.
Ron Davis entered the game and proceeded to surrender the Twins' six-run lead in dramatic fashion.
Jennifer Verbrugge, Richfield:
In 1981 I was 11, madly in love with my father and anything he liked. He loved baseball, so I loved baseball. He would occasionally get his company's seats at the Dome, great seats 10 rows up from the visitors' dugout.
He liked taking me to the games more than my sister; she would bring a book. I studied the program and kept score (with a PEN!). I felt so loved, sitting with my dad in those plastic blue seats. It was the only place I felt spoiled. After all, I could drink pop! Maybe the best part was waiting for the hot dog guy who sounded like he was from Chicago, the only vendor my dad would order a dog from.
One day Dad and I headed down to the Dome for an evening game (meaning I got to stay up way past bedtime). It was late in the season, and Dad had quit smoking that summer after surgery for his melanoma. I was proud of him and excited to go to a game with a nonsmoker.
For the first time we didn't have to stand outside until the last minute. We headed inside early to watch the warm-ups and meander around looking at all the kiosks and guys selling stuff.
We went to our seats, waiting for the guy who sounded like he was from Chicago to get a hot dog. During the routine pre-game announcements, Bob Casey came to the part where he said in his fabulous baseball voice, "NO SMOKING IN THE METRODOME." My father smiled down at me, squeezed my hand, whistled and cheered. For the first time he was cheering, and I was so happy.
The melanoma got him 10 years later. I miss my dad. I might miss the Dome just a little bit. In the new stadium, wear your sunscreen.
Kirsten Brown, St. Michael:
In 2006 I attended the last game of the regular season, on Sunday, Oct. 1. By that time the Twins had already clinched at least a wildcard spot in the playoffs. The Twins were hosting the White Sox, while the Royals were visiting Detroit. A Twins loss or a Tigers win would give Detroit the division championship.
The game itself started slowly. The White Sox took an early lead in the first. But then Silva settled down. In the fourth, the Twins finally put three on the board and another one in the fifth. Meanwhile, everyone in the crowd was keeping an eye on the Royals-Tigers score on the out-of-town scoreboard.
By the sixth inning, the crowd reacted more to KC scoring than to anything going on in the Twins game. When a Twins batter fouled off a pitch, the crowd roared, because the KC-DET score updated at that moment.
Once the Twins beat the White Sox 5-1, the Metrodome staff tuned the big screens to the Royals-Tigers game, which had gone into extra innings. The crowd was clapping and chanting "Let's go Royals, let's go Royals, let's go Royals," as if they were playing in front of us. After a bit, the Twins players emerged from the dugout onto the playing field to chant and cheer along with the crowd.
When the Royals finally beat the Tigers 10-8, the crowd erupted into joyful pandemonium. The Twins were the Central Division Champions! I was high-fiving and hugging people I had never met, and will probably never see again. What a magical day.
Sarah Babbitt, New York, N.Y.:
All through high school I watched games on TV, listened on the radio and spent countless hours at the Dome. I waved homer hankies, shouted out cheers and sang the Twins' theme song with pride.
But my best experience by far came in 1992, my senior year in high school, when I received tickets for seats behind home plate. It was my birthday. Never, before or since, have I had seats that good.
I was rowdy and excited, shouting directives at all the players as they came up to bat. No one was immune. Who knows what inning it was, but Kent Hrbek was up to bat. We must have needed runs. I was desperate. For my birthday, I didn't just want tickets behind home plate; I wanted a win.
It was late in the count and I stood up. I yelled, "Kent, hit a home run!" Then came the next pitch, the next swing, and the ball was out of the park.
I sat down, a little stunned. The woman behind me said, "You can do that again." It was a great game. I don't remember the score, I don't remember if we won, but it was the best birthday present, ever.
David Gorski, Minneapolis:
I was in fifth grade and had just discovered that I really liked watching baseball, particularly the Twins. Unfortunately, this was in 1995, when the team was just at the start of its rebuilding process. It'd surely be a long haul before they ever competed in any meaningful way.
My family all went to a game in September of 1995, and the Twins quickly jumped out to a 5-0 lead that would have been 6-0 had the home plate umpire not called out a clearly safe Chuck Knoblauch on a play at the plate in the middle of the game. (This would end up being important.) The Milwaukee Brewers eventually tied the game.
Leading off for the Twins in the ninth was none other than Kirby Puckett. He had recently signed a lucrative contract extension, and my dad, ever the cynic about sports players (rightly so), leaned over to me and said, "OK, Kirby, show us why you make the big bucks."
On a 3-2 count, Puckett homered to win the game, and the Dome went bananas. It was an insignificant moment in the grand scheme of baseball, but for a young fan, it was epic.
Perry Pearson, Holland, Mich.:
My father, brother and I attended a Twins game at the Dome about 20 years ago. My father, who always liked to move down to better seats after a couple of innings, saw four really good ones right behind third base in the first row and just above the Twins dugout.
So we made the long trek from the upper deck down to where you enter that section of seats. We breezed past the usher responsible for checking tickets and walked down the 100 or so stairs until we got to the seats.
We sat down in them and briefly enjoyed the view, only feet away from the players. We were then kicked out of the seats by another usher and told that those seats were Carl Pohlad's.