What: A big week for baseball anniversaries.
When: On April 24, 1956.
Play ball: Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington had its first official game. The Millers vs. the Wichita Braves!
How’d we do?
Well, here’s the headline in Tribune: “Crowd Hails Stadium Opener.”
Yeah, we lost, as the more, uh, direct headline in the Sports section revealed: “18,366 See Millers Lose 5-3.”
Still, it was a bright day for Minnesota sports, with a brand-new facility in the verdant outland of Bloomington, a modern home to replace the creaky shambles of the old Nicollet Stadium in Minneapolis.
It wasn’t perfect. It had five concession stands. It had only six bathrooms. But plans were already afoot to expand; by midseason, fans were assured, there would be 12 bathrooms for 20,000 people.
Fred Ceasar who’d come in from Odessa, Minn., said he was happy the traffic wasn’t bad, but “They should have made these bleacher seats out of soft wood.”
In the majors: Almost five years later, on April 21, 1961, the Met Stadium would become home to Minnesota’s first major league game. The Twins vs. the Senators, an expansion team created after the original Senators decamped to Minnesota and changed their name.
How’d we do? “Fans Are Winners,” read the headline.
Yeah, we lost. But newspaper accounts were philosophical, quoting a fan who foresaw the future: “Well,” said a man leaving the Met after the defeat, “You can’t win them all.”
There’s always next year.