By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
By Jesse Marx
They'll try hard to spin this as a time of remembrance, a time to honor the legacy, to take stock of all this building has given the community. This week it begins. The Metrodome hosts its final season with the Minnesota Twins. Over the next few months the team will, frequently and earnestly, urge us to feel a little something special for the sunset run of the Hubert H. Humphrey baseball park. They'll ask us to associate it with the many fond memories born in its sterile womb. And in so doing, they'll raise the bar on civic chutzpah to an all-time high, exhibiting balls the size of the stadium itself.
The process of goading us into wistful reverie and nostalgia, as we live out this last season of dome-ball, should be as convincing as former Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott arguing for a kinder take on Hitler because of his "good ideas in the early years."
The poor husband relocated by his company to Bismarck, North Dakota, has a tough sell getting his wife to find a silver lining ("I hear the people are nice"), but it pales in comparison to the task facing our Minnesota Twins: "Sure, it was never Camden Yards, wasn't even Miller Park. Hell, Midway Stadium in St. Paul was more appealing, but weren't there some swell times in '87 and '91?"
Yes there were, boys, in spite of that god-awful mausoleum, that brutal, banal, utilitarian house of horrors we tried to pass off as a major-market pro park. Somehow you managed to create beauty in the midst of that shipping warehouse you called home, the one no father with soul could take his kid to without feeling a twinge of guilt.
From the get-go the Metrodome was a crime, a heinous act of thoughtless, mindless architecture foisted on the public in the guise of helping us out of the Bloomington wind and rain. It stripped away the bad weather and in so doing took every ounce of humanity with it.
What lover of baseball could have lent his sweat to constructing that dump? Who could both carry a passion for the game and stare with pride outside the sickly gray walls of this urban bunker? More importantly, what unctuous public-relations whore would dare try to convince us now that, in the end, it was still a pretty cool place to see the team, especially in those glory years? The fact is the glory allowed us to momentarily forget where we were. That was the beauty of '91 and '87. The play was so refreshingly brilliant for this championship-starved hamlet that we actually forgot we were tucked in a giant coffin.
And let us not forget the eerie concerts: the dull gray light lingering in the air during the day, carrying the sheen of a dead aunt's embalmed face; Dylan, Petty, the Dead, all trying to maintain an air of credibility playing in that oversized plastic satellite biffy. It was all so hard to stomach.
But not as hard as pretending something else existed there, pretending there are reasons now to feel a pang of sadness when leaving it all behind.
No, what we should feel is profound relief and release, a sense of no longer having to hold up the phony facade of acceptance, faking appreciation for the place because the team found a way to cut off a few hundred seats with tarps and make it seem more intimate, putting up supersized posters of our stars to get us to feel our joint may actually belong in the same sentence as Fenway.
It's the end of the ignominious outfield "baggy," the last season of stainless steel pissing troughs, the last go-round playing an outdoor game on a living-room rug. Ding-dong, the witch is dying, finally. Local pro ball puts a stake in her cold, cold heart this autumn and eyes a new lady waiting just down the road, one with sass, style, youth, and beauty—a lady who loves the wind and the dew and the eternal sky. A city girl who has flare and grace, not the frumpy chick, across from Huberts, with the pastel stretch pants, who became as embarrassing to have on our arm as Roseanne eventually became to Tom Arnold.