As we left the Gopher basketball game last night and started to turn off Washington Avenue, my friend, Phil Echert said, "Take a look at that. That's a view we'll never see again."
He was looking up at Mall of America Field, better known as the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. He was right, that big, white, Teflon hump was coming down after today's Vikings — Lions game!
The Vikings opened the Metrodome September 12, 1982 with a 17-10 win over Tampa Bay. Since then, they are 168-92. Today they closed their run with a 14-13 win over Detroit; and will go home to reload to play the next two seasons outside at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium while their new home is being built. That means games like today will be played outdoors!
In between two-hundred sixty Vikings games, the Metrodome housed the 1991 World Series, the 1992 Super Bowl and the 1992 Final Four. No other venue can make that claim. You add in the 1985 All-Star Game, and no other venue in the history of college and professional sports can make that claim! Oh yes, there was the 1987 World Series Championship too!
Besides all the University of Minnesota football and baseball games in the Metrodome, there have been countless high school and small college football and baseball games, as well as many other events including monster truck rallies, motocross rallies and major rock concerts that literally shook buildings close to the dome.
The Minnesota Prep Bowl, which is Minnesota's version of a football state championship playoff system, also started playing in the Metrodome the year it opened in 1982. In the early years, they played seven games in one day for the state championships in each division. I believe they now stretch that over two days. They also play the semifinals for each class in the Metrodome.
When the Metrodome was built, it came in under budget, which was about $55 million. The new dome will cost just under $1 billion. That seems like an incredible rate of inflation for a building that was only thirty-two years old! I understand the new building will have certain amenities the Metrodome did not have and will be a football only stadium.
I also understand from some long time season-ticket holders the price of season tickets in the new dome will be substantially higher to the point where they will not be able to afford their season tickets anymore. That is a shame!
I understand how big-time college and professional sports has gone the way of the corporate sponsorship which has eliminated the average family from being able to attend many sporting events. Just because I understand it, does not mean I like it! In fact, I despise the fact everything now has to revolve around money. It is not just sports; money seems to buy everything in our country today. I do not like the direction that is taking us.
I believe that is also an end of an era when corporate sponsorships are needed to supply even equipment for high school activities like sports and bands. But that is a whole other rant!
I have many memories of events I watched in the Metrodome including the 1991 World Series when Kirby Puckett hit his home run in game six to send the Series to possibly one of the best World Series games in history when Jack Morris pitched a 10 inning shutout! It is hard to believe that was more than twenty-two years ago already!
I would like to hear your favorite Metrodome memories. Feel free to share them.
As always, I look forward to your comments.