Wednesday, October 7, 2009
The Dome will not die
There's something about this AP photo from Tuesday night that I just love. Delmon Young on his cell phone sitting on the Metrodome pitching mound in the dark.
It's a forlorn image at a time of great joy — he's out there for the call because there's a party in the clubhouse — in an empty arena ball park that's supposed to be dead now, at least for baseball.
It ain't dead yet. The Dome will not die, at least not easily and certainly not quietly. There was very little quiet to Tuesday's game.
There is something simultaneously hopelessly hokey and soul-stirring to the sound of some 54,000 people sing-shouting to a Journey song — Don't stop believin' — and laughable about their replacing a reference to Detroit with boos.
There is something odd about the guy who sat about a dozen feet away, a tattoo of this much-derided arena on his left biceps peaking out from the sleeve of his Michael Cuddyer T-shirt. I can't help but wonder: Is he going to be happy with that piece of body art in 20 years?
The game was a tease, riddled with mood swings, alternating brilliant exploits with jarring mistakes in judgment and spicing the mix with a few blown calls.
Did the Dome have something to do with it? Probably. Baseball is a liquid; it takes the shape of its container. The contest is always shaped by the venue.
Maybe Ryan Raburn would have misplayed Cuddyer's single to lead off the bottom of the 10th in another stadium. But it was in this one, in this mutant mushroom with plastic carpet atop concrete, and when the ball skipped past him only Cuddyer's lack of speed made it a triple rather than an inside-the-park homer.
Cuddyer was still on third one out later with Matt Tolbert at the plate when I noticed water falling onto the aisle steps. The Dome was leaking. Or crying.
Moments later Tolbert singled to tie the game anew. And the weeping Dome was just leaky.
And two innings later, another light-hitting infielder would insure himself a place in Twins lore with a game-winning single — this after screwing up as a pinch runner.
And we'll Casilla later today.
The Yankees have generally had immunity to whatever infection the Metrodome imposes on visitors, and this series opens in the Bronx, but there will be baseball played again at the Dome. Perhaps the Dome can stave off its baseball demise a bit longer still.