Souhan: Twins, not Vikings, mastered Dome's quirks

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 31, 2013 - 1:13 AM
Head Stand
hide

Twins left fielder Dan Gladden collided with Braves catcher Greg Olson during a play at the plate in the 1991 World Series.

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

If the Vikings wanted to honor the best of the Metrodome, they would invite Dan Gladden to throw out the last first pitch, and Kent Hrbek to throw out the last belch.

The Vikings will play host in the last game ever played in the Humptydome on Sunday. A visit by the Lions will end the useful portion of the Dome’s existence, and the kindest sentiments bestowed upon our state’s sports Tupperware suggest that it has been an eminently useful place.

For the price of three years of Joe Mauer’s contract, the Metrodome was built to contain Twins, Vikings, Wolves and Gophers seasons, to keep joggers and rollerbladers warm, to attract Final Fours and regionals and even a Super Bowl, and if you had a few bucks and wanted to play youth football or adult softball on the same turf trod by Kirby Puckett, you were in.

The Metrodome was a lot like the car you drove in college — not much to look at, not intended to last all that long, and filled with even more memories than beer cans.

Hosting the final game falls to the Vikings because every other team fled — the Wolves to Target Center, the Twins to Target Field, the Gophers football team to TCF Bank Stadium — but the Metrodome isn’t filled with many grand football memories.

The Gophers football program would rather forget most of what happened to it in the Metro­dome. In 31 years, the Vikings won six playoff games in the Dome, none in a conference championship game. Crowd noise caroming off the Teflon roof gave the local football squads an advantage that mattered little when it mattered the most.

In the game that will forever define the Vikings’ tenancy at the Dome, the Atlanta Falcons did not commit a false-start penalty or call a timeout because of crowd noise during their upset victory in the 1998 NFC Championship Game.

By design, the Metrodome should have been a football stadium that tolerated baseball. It is a rectangle with excellent football sight lines that required a baggie and vampire seats to pull off an amateurish impersonation of a ballpark.

To attempt nostalgia while saying goodbye to our gray-and-off-white eyesore requires an acknowledgment that it treated the Twins far better than it treated anyone else.

Noisy buildings are supposed to win games in basketball, where fans can lean onto the court during play, and in hockey and football, where ovations can spur a home team’s intensity and damage a visiting team’s communication.

Noisy buildings were not supposed to matter much in baseball, where there are no shot clocks or body blocks. Noisy buildings didn’t matter much in baseball until 1987, when the Twins won a World Series while reducing a fine St. Louis team to twitchers and moaners.

The Twins’ World Series victories in 1987 and 1991 became the two greatest team achievements in modern Minnesota sports history, and they were achieved while the home team went undefeated in the Dome.

While football teams spent about eight days a year dressing in the home locker room, the Twins lived in the dank corridors of the Dome, and their successes meant that the Dome also played host to Twins celebrations and inductions, remembrances and memorials.

The Metrodome was the place where Puckett became a folk hero. It was also the place where he was eulogized.

Gladden and Hrbek are the last living Twins from the everyday lineups of the 1987 and ’91 Twins. Both are fixtures in town, Gladden as the team’s radio broadcaster and Hrbek as a lifelong Minnesotan with an eponymous pub at Target Field.

The Vikings will treat Sunday as a remembrance of football, but the Twins created the best memories in the old bubble. Gladden should throw out the first pitch, and Hrbek should get to eat one last Dome Dog.

 

Jim Souhan can be heard weekdays at noon and Sundays from 10 to noon on 1500 ESPN. His Twitter name is @SouhanStrib. • jsouhan@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Toronto 2:30 PM
LA Clippers
Boston 6:00 PM
Washington
Orlando 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Memphis 6:30 PM
Miami
Indiana 7:00 PM
Brooklyn
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Chicago
Atlanta 7:30 PM
Milwaukee
Philadelphia 8:00 PM
Utah
New York 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Minnesota 9:30 PM
Golden State
NY Islanders 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Detroit 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Carolina 6:00 PM
Tampa Bay
New Jersey 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Boston 6:00 PM
Columbus
Winnipeg 6:00 PM
Minnesota
Washington 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Dallas 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Philadelphia 7:00 PM
Nashville
Anaheim 7:00 PM
Arizona
Chicago 8:00 PM
Colorado
Edmonton 9:00 PM
Calgary
San Jose 9:00 PM
Los Angeles
Indiana 18 1st Half 10:53
Georgetown 15
Maine 7 1st Half 6:40
Seton Hall 27
UNC-Wilmington 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Georgia State 12:00 PM
Green Bay
Jacksonville St 1:00 PM
Jacksonville
Kentucky 1:00 PM
Louisville
Northern Ky 2:00 PM
Northwestern
UAB 3:00 PM
North Carolina
IUPUI 3:00 PM
Pepperdine
Santa Clara 3:00 PM
St Marys-CA
Oakland 4:00 PM
Maryland
Gonzaga 5:00 PM
BYU
Mercer 5:00 PM
Georgia
San Francisco 5:00 PM
Pacific
Wright State 6:00 PM
Ohio State
Presbyterian 6:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Brescia 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Tennessee St 7:30 PM
Tennessee
Kennesaw St 8:00 PM
Illinois
Colorado State 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
Portland 8:00 PM
San Diego
Wayland Baptist 8:05 PM
Utah State
Bristol University 8:05 PM
Weber State
Sacramento St 8:05 PM
Utah Valley U
Southern Utah 9:00 PM
UNLV
SD Christian 9:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(15) Arizona State 1:10 PM
Duke
Miami-Florida 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
SMU 12:00 PM
(2) Connecticut
UCF 2:00 PM
Houston
BYU 4:00 PM
Gonzaga
Pacific 4:00 PM
San Francisco
St Marys-CA 4:00 PM
Santa Clara
San Diego 7:00 PM
Portland
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 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close
Head Stand