By Peggy Bakken
It’s time to say goodbye to that very large, concrete and white puffy structure that dominates the east side of downtown Minneapolis.
The Dome (The Humpty-Dumpty Dome, The Teflon Tub, The Monstrosity, The Baggy and many nicknames not suitable for print) got its share of well earned criticism over the years.
Ever sit in the middle of one of those long, long rows of seats? You had to step over 20 or 30 other people to get a hotdog or use the restroom.
Speaking of restrooms, how long did you wait in line at halftime of a Vikings game, or the seventh inning stretch in baseball?
Did you ever get blown over by the burst of air that pushed you out of the Dome after the game?
Ever get a seat at the far top row of the second deck? I did. I really felt like you should have carabiners and climbing ropes to keep from falling.
Despite the criticisms, we have memories — of the worst of times and the best of times.
As a life-long Vikings fan, I recall many great games – and some real heartbreakers.
I was at the Metrodome on Jan. 3, 1983, when Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett ran for 99 yards, the longest run from scrimmage in NFL history. That video has been replayed a million times, but the announcers always forget to mention the Minnesota Vikings won that game.
I remember seeing the great ones in action: Cris Carter, Herschel Walker, Randy Moss, Adrian Peterson to name a few. I remember sitting a few rows behind the great running back Chuck Foreman one Sunday afternoon.
And baseball – oh, what wonderful baseball moments we had at the Dome!
I was at the All Star game in 1985. Some of the notables there that night were Darryl Strawberry, Ozzie Smith, George Brett, Cal Ripken, Jr., Dwight Gooden and Pete Rose. Jack Morris of the Detroit Tigers was the starting pitcher for the American League. Dave Winfield of the New York Yankees started in the outfield, batting sixth. The only Twin who earned a spot on the team was Tom Brunansky, and he was second string.
The summer and fall of 1987 was incredible. The Twins kept winning and I kept feeling more tired and achy every day. By the time the Twins were playing Detroit for the pennant, I knew something was going on inside me. I headed to the doctor’s office, trying to work my appointment around innings.
Fortunately, the doctors and nurses had the game on in the examining room. The doctor smeared my belly with gel, then moved the portable ultrasound meter across my skin. Bump bump bump bump – my son’s heartbeat was as clear as day. And the Twins beat the Tigers.
We attended several playoff and World Series games at the Metrodome. The joys of a baby on the way and the cheers of Metrodome crowd made that September and October 1987 very, very special.
In game six, Kent Hrbek’s sixth inning grand slam homerun ball landed near our outfield seats. The sound that erupted remains the loudest noise I have ever heard.
Fall of 1991 had a similar contrast of personal memories. The Twins were again on a tear – we were able to attend several playoff and World Series games. At the same time, my dear aunt Eva (and passionate Twins fan) was suffering her final illness. We buried her in December, her Homer Hanky clutched tightly in her hands.
The Metrodome holds other memories. I recall seeing some of my favorite high school teams playing in the Prep Bowl.
And concerts, too. The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers concert in July 1986 was another memorable night – the sound was absolutely dreadful, but it was still a great experience. I don’t have a lot of regrets in life, but not going to see The Rolling Stones is one of them (1988 and 1994).
The final football game has now been played. The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome will soon be a pile of rubble.
The building itself deserved the criticism. However, I will cherish forever the wonderful memories from inside the structure — of life, football, friends, family and baseball.
Contact Sun Newspapers Executive Editor Peggy Bakken at [email protected]