I have been to several hundred Twins games in the Metrodome — a pretty good number considering that I started out boycotting the place. Eventually I concluded that I had to come to peace with the indoor arena or abandon the team, and I couldn't do the latter. (I tried, but that's another story).
So when it came time to write a farewell to the Dome for Monday's print edition, there was little chance of working everything I could say into 20 column inches. What follows here is a segment I wrote, then excised.
The Star Tribune on Friday listed the Top Ten baseball moments in the Dome. It turns out I and/or my wife were there for eight of the 10.
Games 6 and 7 of the ’91 Series; games 6 and 7 of the ‘87 Series. The welcome home after winning the 1987 pennant. The day the Twins became the first team in American League history to draw 3 million in a season.
And the two oddities.
Yes, I was there on May 4, 1984, when Dave Kingman’s popup went into the roof and stayed, and I was there on April 26, 1986, when a storm ripped a hole in the fabric during a game against the California Angels. Just lucky, I guess.
That latter probably should have scared me away from the joint for years.
The roof was rippling, the lights were whipping back and forth, the players dashed off the field and the crowd streamed into the aisles — and stopped, I suppose because there was no place to go. The concourse was nowhere near large enough to accommodate a crowd of nearly 32,000.
My friend and I were in the middle of one of those outfield rows. We couldn’t reach an aisle, much less the concourse, and I finally said, “Well, if we’re gonna die, it might as well be in a ball park.” We went back, sat down and watched the spectacle.
Call up the play-by-play of that game at Retrosheet.com and you’ll find this deadpan description of the home half of the eighth inning:
... Hatcher hit a sacrifice fly to right [Lombardozzi scored]; 15 minute delay because of roof collapse; Hrbek flied out to right ...
And that might not have been the biggest collapse of the night. Mickey Hatcher’s sac fly made the score 6-1 Twins.
But with a massive rent in the roof, the stadium operators had to jack up the air pressure to keep it inflated, and maybe that had something to do with the disaster that followed in the top of the ninth:
Double, homer, single, homer, foulout, walk, strikeout, homer. Three two-run dingers, the first off Frank Viola, the last two off Ron Davis, and the Angels won 7-6.
Yep, the Domefield advantage went the other way that night.