GOODBYE TO INDOOR BASEBALL
The Royals will finish their season at the Metrodome, the home of the Minnesota Twins (and Vikings) since 1982. The Vikings will remain in the dome for the foreseeable future.
Some mixed emotions both in the Twin Cities and around the baseball world. The new ballpark, Target Field (seen here on the Around the Horn Blog!), will open in April of 2010. The Royals will be the last regular season opponent in this building in October. The Royals were also the final opponent for the last outdoor game at old Met Stadium.
On the one hand, with the beautiful Minnesota summers, who wouldn’t love to play outdoors? On the other, there’s April…and May…and potentially late October for a chilly World Series. But it will be a much nicer, baseball-only facility.
So this post is mostly about things we won’t miss about the Metrodome…and yet in many ways it’s been great seeing games there. No rain (or snow) delays…perfect (indoor) weather. Courteous people that work there….
Anyway…without further ado…here are some things that we will not miss….
Of course everybody prefers baseball to be played outdoors…weather permitting of course. The Twins will surrender one of baseballs great home-field advantages when they move down the street. It gets REALLY LOUD in there. Just ask the Royals…or the 87 Cardinals…or the 91 Braves. Very hard on the opponent.
Don Free with Denny and Ryan in the visitor radio booth. It’s small, but with a good view right on top of the field. Have to be careful if you stand up too quickly you can hit your head on that overhang. The overhang is only about 5 feet 6 inches off the ground. At least radio’s version is padded. TV’s is concrete. Ouch.
Great, you’re thinking, a picture of a bathroom. Well as you may notice, it’s for both men and women. It’s a unisex restroom. They have one on the broadcast level and one downstairs in the press box. Maybe those fears about the Equal Rights Amendment forcing men and women to share restrooms carried over into the 80’s as they were building the dome…which was completed in 1982…
Metrodome construction predated the Americans with Disabilities Act…so there is one tiny, phone-booth sized elevator. But everybody gets plenty of exercise on these stairs…as well as another staircase you’ll see below. These stairs take you from the press box down to the tunnel that leads to the clubhouses and the media dining room (which we’ll also miss…good food in that place).
The Metrodome apparently offers its tenants precious little storage space. In these trunks in the aforementioned tunnel, the Twins store batting helmets, uniforms and other equipment. This isn’t just the way it looks on a travel day. It looks this way all the time! Presumably Target Field will have more storage space.
Another long set of stairs…from the tunnel down to the dugout. It’s 4 sets of 8 stairs (if I counted correctly). Ryan tells us that Cal Ripken legendarily used to hike these 32 steps in just 8 steps! Hard to believe…but hard to doubt the Iron Man.
Here’s one guy we WILL miss at the Metrodome. John Kinderman has been the the man guarding the door to the visitors clubhouse for 19 years. Before that he was a policeman for 31 years. He says 50 years is enough, so he will not make the move to Target Field. John always seems to have my favorite old TV show on…Hogan’s Heroes. He must watch the all-Hogan’s Heroes channel. He notes that former Twins GM Terry Ryan is also a fan of the show…so apparently great minds do, in fact, think alike.
This is the locker room used by the University of Minnesota football and (occasionally) the baseball team too. The football team is moving to a new on-campus outdoor stadium set to open in September. Baseball will still play a few games here. Ryan Lefebvre has changed and showered in this room many times. But no more football players in this locker room. The Vikings will basically have the dome to themselves after this baseball season ends.
Royals Director of Media Relations Dave Holtzman took this photo of Ryan in the building in which he’s spent so much time, as a player, an announcer for the Twins and, of course, an announcer for the Royals. This is the area behind home plate where the air blows very hard, apparently to help keep the roof inflated.
Dick Bremer, the TV voice of the Twins has a great saying about the unusual “suction” that you feel as you exit…”The game isn’t over til you’re sucked out the door.” Farewell Metrodome.