Previous Page 4 of 5 Next

Continued: The Star Tribune sports department shares its favorite Metrodome memories

  • Article by:
  • Last update: December 29, 2013 - 1:53 AM

From October 1991 through March 1992, the Metrodome was the Sun in the sporting solar system. With the MLB playoffs and World Series, Super Bowl XXVI and the NCAA Final Four all held at the dome during that period, it was a very good time to be a copy aide (aka newspaper gofer) in the Star Tribune sports department.

While the duties wasn’t overly thrilling — schlepping rolls of 16 mm film (remember that?) back and forth between the Dome and the Star Tribune photo lab two blocks away — the perks were amazing for a wide-eyed sports fan like me.

Among the memories I still carry are:

• Trying to be nonchalant while under the withering stare of Chili Davis as I walked through the Twins dugout to a photographer’s station.

• Seeing Kent Hrbek toss a very large splintered bat into a trash can right next to me after an at-bat (I thought about taking it as a souvenir but didn’t — it was gone by the next inning, memorabilia to be sold).

• Trying to stay close to the Star Tribune photographer as he moved about the field amid the jubilation after the Game 7 victory, overwhelmed by the celebration going on around me and the 50,000 fans screaming their lungs out.

• Watching Thurman Thomas race around the sideline trying to find his helmet before Buffalo’s opening drive in the Super Bowl, looking not much different from an Average Joe looking for lost car keys.

• Standing so close to the Washington punter in the back of the end zone that I could have caught the snap myself.

• Watching an apoplectic Buffalo fan turn three shades of red as he screamed at his Bills in disgust as they left the field at halftime.

• Being shocked by the sheer power of Michigan’s Chris Webber as he tomahawked a dunk (and let out a scream at the same time) right over me as I knelt under the Michigan hoop.

If it hadn’t been for the presence of the Metrodome, I would have experienced none of these. It will be missed.

Those little bats could make some noise

My poor mom. Taking a wild pack of 12-year-old boys downtown to a baseball game is already risky business, and then the six of us burst through the Dome doors and it turns out to be Mini-Bat Night. She must have wanted to pull the cord on the whole thing when she saw the guy hand us our new 18-inch, solid-wood souvenirs. Can you imagine a better weapon to beat your 12-year-old buddy with?

It was 1988, the hated-slash-awesome A’s were in town for a June weekend series, and we are in the last row of the packed and rockin’ Metrodome’s second deck. Our little gang of hell-raising Richfieldians had the times of our lives. Fans screaming all around us (I remember learning some new words from the fan in front of us as he was, loudly, addressing Jose Canseco from his high perch), Mountain Dew being chugged like water at an oasis and little wooden bats being furiously swung and slammed into any nearby object. Miraculously, the only casualty was my Homer Hanky. Nathan got mustard all over it while spending innings 4 through 7 repeatedly bashing the blue chair in front of him with his new bat, making the loudest noise you’ve ever heard.

But all of that sums up the Dome in its glory days, doesn’t it? Late ’80s. Louder than anything you had ever heard before. Fans stacked up all the way up to the last row. Hyper kids going nuts, obeying nothing and nobody. Those are my favorite memories of the place. My mom might have a slightly different take, however.

1987 Twins made Minnesota into winners

Favorite memory of the Dome? Tough one, because I covered games in the Dome for years, mostly Twins, but also regional and Final Four basketball and parts of the Timberwolves’ first season.

I saw Kenny Battle of Illinois slip on a puddle of water from a leaky roof, grabbed my notebook to interview him and heard Sid Hartman — our very own Dome booster — yelling, “You’re not going to write that, are you?” Yes, I wrote it. I saw Clem Haskins, whose ego could have filled the Dome by itself, bounce his ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day 1990 a good 40 feet in front of the plate. I never let him forget it. A chance to watch Mike Krzyzewski, one of the greatest college coaches in history, win his second NCAA title in a row (I was also in Indianapolis for the first).

Mostly I saw, and got to know, the Twins of the 1980s. I covered guys such as Kent Hrbek and Gary Gaetti, who went from 102-game losers in 1982 to World Series champs in 1987. So that final play of 1987, the grounder that Gaetti grabbed and threw to Hrbek for the final out in Game 7, tops my list of memories.

It was the first championship in a major professional sport for Minnesota — a moment a lifelong Minnesotan like myself will never forget. It was made more meaningful personally because the players who won that year were a rare collection of personalities, from Kirby Puckett’s nonstop clubhouse banter to the guttural wit and wisdom of Hrbek to Dan Gladden’s tough-guy persona, which I must tell you was mostly an act.

Yes, the Twins won again in 1991, with a team that in most ways was far superior to the ’87 Twins. But for me, at least, there will never be another team like the first group of Twins to win a Series.

Musselman went with what worked in Breuer

The Timberwolves played their inaugural season in the Metrodome, setting an NBA attendance record by drawing more than 1 million people for 41 home dates during the 1989-90 season before they moved into new Target Center the next season.

On a February night, 35,713 fans filled the Teflon joint and watched Tony Campbell score 44 points while he played every second of a 116-105 victory over Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and the aging Boston Celtics.

Two days later, Don Nelson brought his Golden State Warriors’ Run TMC show — Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, Chris Mullin — to town for a Sunday matinée. Before the game, Wolves coach Bill Musselman had that same look in his eye that he would get a year later when he unleashed 7-3 Randy Breuer to defend Magic Johnson in a game at Target Center.

This time, Musselman had another plan with Breuer in mind: He’d call the same post-up play for Breuer until he forced Nellie to double-team his big center before an announced crowd of 29,434.

Musselman called the same play to start the game and ol’ Nellie never flinched … all afternoon: The double team never came, Breuer took 28 shots, made half of ’em and scored a career-high 40 points over Manute Bol, Tom Tolbert or Jim Petersen and … the Warriors won 105-95 while Musselman called that same play repeatedly, from game’s beginning to end.

  • related content

  • Reusse: Once, there was a ...

    Sat. Dec. 28, 2013

    That’s a fond farewell to the Metrodome after 31 years, or a measure...

  • Certainly, the Twins' Game 163 victory over Detroit in the final regular-season game...

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland - WP: C. Allen 4 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: G. Holland 3
Baltimore - LP: W. Chen 0 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Pineda 5
Kansas City - WP: D. Duffy 2 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Carrasco 0
Seattle - LP: J. Paxton 4 FINAL
Toronto - WP: J. Happ 14
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Bassitt 2 FINAL
Detroit - LP: K. Lobstein 0
Pittsburgh - WP: F. Liriano 1 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Houston - LP: N. Tropeano 3 FINAL
Texas - WP: D. Holland 4
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wood 0
Arizona - WP: J. Collmenter 6 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: R. Nolasco 2
LA Angels 1 Bottom 4th Inning
Oakland 6
San Francisco 2 Top 6th Inning
Los Angeles 2
Colorado 0 Top 6th Inning
San Diego 1
Chicago 27 4th Qtr 1:08
NY Jets 19
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Ottawa 2 FINAL
NY Islanders 3
Ottawa 5:00 PM
NY Islanders
New Jersey 5 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Detroit 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Toronto 0 2nd Prd 20:00
Philadelphia 0
Washington 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Dallas 4
Anaheim 5 FINAL
Colorado 2
Colorado 0 3rd Prd
Anaheim 3
Los Angeles 3 3rd Prd
Arizona 4
Arizona 0 2nd Prd 12:28
Los Angeles 2
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close