MUSIC - Crystal ball by Styx
Photographed in 1987 and 2000 using film.
Metrodome - Opened in 1982, closed on December 29, 2013 and demolished in 2014. Official name was the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. U.S. Bank Stadium was built on the site of the old Metrodome.
Location - 900 S. 5th Street Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome was born out of necessity. The old Metropolitan stadium in Bloomington was in dire need of repair and falling apart. In fact, the old Met was the most poorly maintained stadium in its era. The upper deck in left field had broken railings and was condemned and closed in 1981. Both the Twins and Vikings had been clamoring for a new park for years. Ground was broken for the Metrodome on December 20, 1979, and was completed on April 3, 1982. The stadium was named for former Vice President and Mayor of Minneapolis, Hubert H. Humphrey. Sadly, Humphrey never got to see the stadium that has his name. Humphrey passed away from cancer in 1978. A footnote, the H in Humphreys's middle name stands for Horatio. Now on to the arena!
Fan reaction to the Metrodome was immediate. They were thrilled to be out of the frigid air of early and late season Twins games, and the harsh brutal winter Vikings games. Once inside, the fans discovered things were quite different from the old Met. The Hump has a unique roof that is over 10 acres. It is a Teflon coated fiberglass fabric air supported roof. It is reported to have the largest application of Teflon on earth. Another quirk of the dome is the "hefty bag" in right field. Due to the unusual shape of the field, the rightfield stands used for football are folded up behind the right field wall. A large bag covers them during the baseball season. Hence the name "hefty bag." When the dome was built, it was constructed at the eastern end of downtown, among abandoned warehouses and lots. It took years for the downtown area to blossom again. Now, there are restaurants, condos and hotels within walking distance of the dome.
The Twins and Vikings are the main tenants of the dome. The University of Minnesota Golden Gopher football team plays home games at the dome too. They gophers will move into an on campus facility in 2009. The Twins will move into their new home by the Target center in 2010. That would leave the Vikings as the only tenant in the dome. Even the Vikings have been talking about a new facility. There is talk about a Vikings stadium being built on the site of the Metrodome. If this happened, the Vikings would share the TCF bank stadium on the U of Minnesota campus until the new stadium was built.
The Metrodome is the only facility that has hosted a World Series, a Super Bowl and a men's final 4 in college basketball. The dome has seen its share of tractor pulls, wrestling, high school and college baseball and football, conventions and concerts. It is a multi use facility. The dome also hosted the 1985 all-star game in which the National League defeated the American League 6-1. The superbowl was played on January 26, 1992, and the Washington Redskins defeated the Buffalo Bills 37-24.
The Twins have won two world series at the dome. First in 1987, when they defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in 7 grueling games, then again in 1991 when they beat the Atlanta Braves, again in 7 heart stopping games. The dome can get extremely loud for the home teams, creating a distinct advantage. Twins stars such as Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, Frank Viola, Johan Santana and new stud Joe Mauer (a local product from St. Paul) all play or played at the dome. The Twins have a unique way of showing the retired numbers. On a curtain in the upper deck in right are portraits of the retired Twins greats. Rod Carew and his number 29, Kent Hrbek and his number 14, Kirby Puckett and his number 34, Tony Oliva and his number 6 and the greatest Twin of them all, the killer, Harmon Killebrew and his number 3, are all hanging in the right field upper deck. In conjunction with major league baseball, the number 42 of Jackie Robinson is also hanging in right field. The first Twins game took place on April 6, 1982, against the Seattle Mariners. Unfortunately, the Twins lost 11-7. The starting pitcher that day was Pete Redfern, and the honor of the first home run was by Twins left fielder Dave Engle. He connected in the first inning off the Mariners Floyd Bannister. The Twins would get their first win the following day as Roger Ercikson defeated the Mariners 7-5.
The favorite sons of Minnesota are the Vikings. After years of brutal weather games at the Met, they moved indoors in 1982. The Vikings lost some of their bite with the switch. Teams weren't afraid of the weather anymore. The dome's volume however detracts the visitors enough now. The Vikings have enjoyed success indoors. A perennial playoff contender, they usually finish near the top of their division. The first Vikings game took place on September 12, 1982. Unlike the Twins, the Vikings defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17-10.
One unusual tenant was the expansion Minnesota Timberwolves. The NBA team played their first season under the dome while the Target center was being built. Other teams have played in domes before too. The New Orleans Jazz played at the Superdome, the Seattle Sonics played at the Kingdome, the Detroit Pistons played at the Silverdome in Pontiac, and the Toronto Raptors played at the Skydome.
The dome gives fans a great break from the awful Minnesota winter in winter and early spring. However, both teams lost something when moving indoors. A lot of other teams have found that out too. The Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, Denver Broncos and Toronto Maple Leafs come to mind.
The end came for the Metrodome on December 29, 2013 as the Vikings defeated the Detroit Lions 14-13. The building was closed the day after the game and demolition began. The Metrodome site will become the new home for the Vikings in 2016. For the next two seasons, the Vikings will play outdoors at the TCF bank stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota.