Sympathy for the Metrodome

Bruce Kluckhohn, Getty Images

Everyone is supposed to hate the Metrodome, but I never did.

Work crews were busy blowing up the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome this weekend. Widely-reviled as possibly the worst venue in professional sports, the Metrodome was a relic of a bygone age: the early 1980s, and I don't know of any younger fans who regret its passing.

Ah, yes, the early 1980s. The age of my adolescence and young adulthood. The age of unrequited crushes on Beth and Audra, of cassette tapes of The Nylon Curtain and Synchronicity. The age of a 1972 Buick LeSabre creaking around the placid streets of Des Moines; the age of nothing to do on a Saturday night except drive around and drink Pepsi (from glass bottles) with friends and smell the burning oil from the dying V-8 and the stench of the mildew infesting the car each spring because of cracked rubber seals that could not keep the Iowa rainwater out.

Call it sympathy for the devil if you will, but I never hated the Metrodome. I liked it in fact.

Growing up as a Twins fan in Des Moines, I was 250 miles away from my favorite team. This was pre-internet, remember: if you wanted to buy a ticket to a major league baseball game from such a long distance, you had to call someone (if you were really sophisticated) and rely on US Mail to send your payment in and get the tickets back.

The glitch there is 250 miles: a trip to see the Twins was a major undertaking that would require weeks of planning. And if you guessed wrong and got there on a day when a severe thunderstorm pounded Minneapolis (and there are lots of those in the spring and summer) and the game was cancelled, well, you were shit out of luck. Here's the rain check, see you next time jack; yes I know you just blew your gas money for the month but such is life and don't let the mildew get to you on the way down I-35. I hear there's a nice truck stop in Albert Lea; so sorry you don't like coffee yet.

The Metrodome freed us from that. If you bought a ticket, you knew there would be a game. Oh, there was the odd chance of a roof collapse but that was pretty rare.

I saw games in the Metrodome six times. And wouldn't you know it, but every single time it rained. That's six rainouts the Dome saved me from, what would have been 3000 miles of wasted driving.

I haven't gotten to Target Field yet. I hear it is very nice. I'll guess wrong about the weather, I'm sure, but I won't mind the drive as much. It is the 21st century now and my 2005 Buick LaCrosse doesn't smell like mildew. Oh, that pesky ABS malfunction light keeps coming on, but at least I like coffee now.

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