Monday, October 5, 2009

Dome voyage

This will be hard to believe for anyone who knows me, but I’m not going to miss watching the Twins playing in the Metrodome. While the place holds many fond memories for me, baseball was never meant to be played under a Teflon roof.

Aesthetically, the place ranks up there with this place. The right-field Hefty bag fence. The white dome ceiling that conveniently disguises a baseball. The plastic smell that hits you when you walk in. At least it no longer has a Plexiglas fence in left field, or the green cement carpet that always reminded me of the Brady’s yard.

Yet, I still feel the Metrodome is a special place. That feeling, no doubt, stems from the two World Series titles the Twins won under the dome. Memories were flowing over the weekend as the Twins played what was expected to be their final games in the Metrodome.

I regret not having more first-hand memories of the place. I was not present for any of their seminal moments. I wasn’t there for even one playoff game, let alone a World Series game. I wasn’t there for the Puckett memorial. I wasn’t there for Sunday’s finale (which turns out not to be the finale after all).

I also wish I would have seen a game more recently than the one from the picture above. Kristin and I went to that in 2004. I’ve only been back inside the Dome once since then—a Vikings game last season.

Yet, fond memories abound for me. I’ve already shared my favorite one on the blog. There are others, though. The 1988 home opener as we celebrated again the World Series title from five months earlier. Hrbek’s retirement ceremony on Aug. 13, 1995. The summer vacation excursions I’d go on with my friends to see a Twins series.

My memories of outdoor Twins baseball are sparse. Actually, the only one I have is seeing the Twins at Metropolitan Stadium against the expansion Toronto Blue Jays. I don’t remember if it was 1977 or ’78. I went with a group from the neighborhood rec center.

Despite being barely 10, I remember paying attention enough to know it was my first time seeing Rod Carew in person. I wish I could remember how he did that day—or if the Twins even won. I do remember it being a sunny, warm day in the middle of the summer.

Those days are coming again for the Twins at Target Field, days when that sun will envelop fans like a long-lost friend. Days when that green, green surface (oh yeah, that stuff is called grass) will glisten. Days when it seems baseball was invented only for this moment.

There will be other days too. Days in April and early May where people will arrive bundled up in their winter best, hoping the teams are able to play in between the snow flakes. Some will complain. Some will wish the organization had sprung for the retractable roof, or that they had never left the Dome.

As a Twins fan, I might join in that line of thought. And I will miss the Metrodome for what it represented—the best years in franchise history.

But as a baseball fan? Well, baseball was never meant for the great indoors.

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