First person: Metrodome memories
By Ron Matross
This is the first in a new, occasional series of articles. If you would like to share a first-person account of something meaningful to you, whether it’s a humorous or a sobering reflection related to aging, or a snapshot of what you’re doing in retirement, please send an email to me with “First person” in the subject line. —Kristine Mortensen, editor, [email protected]
By nearly all accounts, the old Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis was a terrible place for baseball. It was one of the so-called “multipurpose” stadiums that were in vogue in the ’70s, but it was really set up for football. The baseball diamond was shoehorned into a corner, such that the baselines pulled away from all the seats on the sides. Anybody with baseline tickets had to turn their heads just to see home plate.
However, I was in on a little secret. The cheap, general admission seats in Sections 211 and 212 were cantilevered out over the very short right field and provided terrific, head-on views of all the action, with one exception: You couldn’t see right field plays directly under you and had to rely on the big screen. Since most of those plays were routine fly balls, you didn’t miss much.
In defense of the Metrodome
In the mid-’80s, my grade-school son and I whiled away many relaxing evenings and afternoons in those sections. Weirdly, we often went when it was rainy or cold. My wife would drop us off, we would buy our $3 tickets, and head on in. We would settle into our seats and chat about the game, baseball, school, whatever. On some evenings there would be a special on Dome Dogs, so we would go early and enjoy a supper of a Dome Dog and a Coke for $1 each.Those were glory days for the Twins. The team had great players and big personalities, too: Kirby, Herbie, Gaetti, El Gasolino, and several more. We loved to see Kent Hrbek come to bat because he had a habit of lofting big home runs to right field. The ball would come off his bat and make a majestic arc, heading right for our area. We never nabbed one, but we came close. We often came away with great giveaways, including umbrellas and mugs with pictures of the ’87 championship team on them.
But my biggest takeaway was the memories of those days with just the two of us, chatting and talking about nothing in particular. I cherish the memories of those days, and I will always feel some fondness for that big ugly dome where those days happened.