What they said about the Metrodome throughout the years

  • Updated: December 27, 2013 - 1:14 PM

1982

“This is going to be the Taj Mahal of college football.” — Gophers football coach Joe Salem on preseason media day.

*

“I’d go pick up my wife after the game and look at her and say, ‘What the hell happened to you?’ She had mascara running down her face, her blouse was soaking wet.” — Twins coach Rick Stelmaszek, on what the Dome was like before air conditioning was installed in 1983.

1984

“It’s like a triple play — something that you would tell to your grandchildren, about the ball that went up and never came back down … We were all standing around like it was ‘Candid Camera.’ ” — Twins second baseman Tim Teufel describing waiting for Dave Kingman’s towering pop-up that went through a 7-inch vent in the Dome’s roof and never came back down; Kingman was awarded a ground-rule double.

*

“I don’t think there are any good uses for nuclear weapons. But this may provide one.” — Kansas City closer Dan Quisenberry, who only pitched 16 times in the Dome.

*

“No doubt about it, the athletes want to play in the Dome. We’re going to own that sucker when we walk in there.” — Gophers football coach Lou Holtz in a speech to the University of Minnesota Regents, imploring the school sign a 27-year lease that left on-campus Memorial Stadium destined for the wrecking ball.

1985

“This park should be barred from baseball. … You win on fly balls or lose on fly balls. That’s not major league baseball, that’s amateur Little League. ... Why doesn’t [Twins owner Carl Pohlad] spend $100,000 and paint the ceiling so you can see the ball. What is he, a billionaire? Tell him they don’t put pockets in coffins. ... What a joke. ”— Yankees manager Billy Martin after his team lost to the Twins 8-6, with four of the Minnesota runs coming from fly balls being lost in the lights and roof.

1987

“A lot of tears were shed that night and a lot of confidence was built up on what our fans could do for us as a “10th man” at the ballpark. And BOY did it work.” — Twins great Kent Hrbek on the impromptu welcome home at the Dome that attracted an overflow crowd after the team’s ALCS triumph at Detroit.

*

“They ought to nuke the place.” — St. Louis Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog of his team’s seven-game World Series loss to the Twins in which all of Minnesota’s victories came in the Dome.

*

“Indoor domes should be used for roller rinks.” — Bears coach Mike Ditka, who went on to rename the Dome “Rollerdome.” When the Bears next visited the Dome, fans were given towels reading “Rollerdome” and Vikings cheerleaders wore skates.

1989

“The baskets kind of stick out of the middle of nowhere. ... I think if you play good defense, you can contain perimeter shooting in the Dome.” — Timberwolves coach Bill Musselman, talking about a possible home court edge for his team before its first — and only — season in the Dome.

1999

“I think it’s very difficult on the opponent. I think [new owner] Red McCombs felt he wanted a noisy stadium. As a dome team, that gives you an advantage. All the good teams have noisy stadiums.” — Vikings coach Dennis Green of the Dome as his team finished 15-1.

2000

“It can get loud with 40,000 to 45,000 people, just because it’s a dome. But what you noticed as a player were the 20,000 to 25,000 empty seats. You didn’t always get as fired up as you did going to Iowa or Wisconsin and seeing the atmosphere those kids got to play in.” — Gophers linebacker Sean Hoffman, who played at the U from 1997 to 2000.

2006

“It’s like playing putt-putt golf, you’ve got to go around the windmill. This is major league baseball. That’s embarrassing.” — Boston manager Terry Francona said after David Ortiz hit a monstrous shot to right field — estimates were 450 feet — that hit a speaker, caromed onto the playing field and limited the Red Sox slugger to one of the longest singles in history.

*

“It went from the Dome being no factor to really disliking playing here. To me, it wasn’t college football. It was like going to Las Vegas. You didn’t know what time of day it was. ... When you were inside, it was a dark feeling, kind of a depressing feeling, and it wasn’t ours.” — Glen Mason, discussing his 10-year tenure coaching the Gophers that ended in 2006.

2010

“I would say so far in my career this is probably at the top as weirdest thing that has happened.” — Vikings defensive end Brian Robison said after a December roof collapse forced the NFL to switch a “home” game scheduled at the Dome to Detroit. The Vikings lost the game to the New York Giants 21-3.

In retrospect

“[The Metrodome is] not really a baseball field. Of course, when it was snowing outside it was great.” — Twins first baseman Justin Morneau upon leaving the Dome for Target Field.

*

“My real thought is that we’re leaving the best home-field advantage in sport — for any team, anywhere. It will be sad to leave such a magnificent advantage. I sit there and watch visiting teams screw up because of the Dome, and I say, ‘Wonderful.’ I think the Metrodome has caused five to 10 screw-ups a year that resulted in a Twins victory.” — Former Twins owner Clark Griffith.

*

“Anyone who says we lost because of the building ... I would be 180 degrees diametrically opposed to that opinion. If you look at every business that fails in the United States, both big and small, you’ll find poor management, No. 1, and lack of money, No. 2. It’s no different at Minnesota. When you have good coaching staffs and management [at the university president level], you succeed.” — Twin Cities businessman and university booster Harvey Mackay, a prominent Dome supporter, on the lack of Gophers football success in the Dome.

*

“Probably not the most beloved place, by a lot of the traveling teams to come in and play football, too, because of how loud it could get. And I think we had a really good home-field advantage in there. So, yeah, I’ll be sad to see it go.” — Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway.

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    Saturday December 28, 2013

    That’s a fond farewell to the Metrodome after 31 years, or a measure of the time we endured it.

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