The quiet isolation of quarantine affords one surplus time for rumination. Philosophy. Religion. The low-key greatness of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.
Yes, we've officially reached the point of nostalgia for that marshmallow-topped sports warehouse that once housed the Twins, Vikings, Gophers, and, briefly, Timberwolves. The Dome's haters have always been numerous. It's lifeless; it's an eyesore; it lends almost nothing to the fan experience outside of a blue plastic seat. Sure, but it was our charmless, hulking concrete sports cathedral, a true egalitarian people's stadium whose accessibility and quirks tug at Minnesotan heartstrings in this age of corporatized gameday glitz.
We won't be addressing the logistics of this headline at all, though it's worth noting: Adjusted for inflation from 1982 dollars, the $68 million Dome would only cost $169,124,103.63 if constructed in 2016, the same year the $1.1 billion (!) U.S. Bank Stadium opened.
Here's why now, possibly more than ever, we must bring back the Metrodome.
Man, remember the Hormel Dome Dog? The gas station hot dog idealized, Dome Dogs were lugged up and down the aisles while marinating in warm water. The impossibly girthy wiener was a processed marvel, the high watermark of industrial hot dog science. Wrapped tight in a squishy bun, the Dome Dog put highfalutin dogs that tout "real meat" flashiness to shame. Bonus: Man, remember the Hormel Row of Fame jingle?
Didn't break as fast
The Dome's roof collapsed four times over 31 years, most recently under the weight of a 2010 blizzard. Four-year-old U.S. Bank Stadium already requires $21 million to replace its leaky zinc paneling. The Dome was designed by internationally acclaimed architect Fazlur Rahman Khan, after all.
In 2009, the Twins' final season at the Metrodome, the average ticket ran $21.70. Next year at Target Field, that figured ballooned to $31.47 — a 45 percent hike. In 2013, the Vikings' final season at the Dome, the average ticket cost ya $78.69. In 2016, their first year at U.S. Bank Stadium, that number jumped to $91.67 — a 14 percent spike. (All figures courtesy of Team Marketing Report's annual Fan Cost Index.)
Didn't enrich a cartoonishly evil owner
In 2013, a New Jersey judge said Vikings owner Zygi Wilf demonstrated "evil motive" when he defrauded real estate investors. Nevertheless, Minnesota taxpayers pledged $500 million to build real estate for the billionaire owner. The U.S. Bank Stadium deal “was as transparent as the Berlin wall," former Strib columnist Jon Tevlin wrote; we got "hosed," according to former City Councilmember Paul Ostrow.
One positive to come out of it? This legendary photo of Wilf, giving off serious Wario vibes, as Gov. Mark Dayton shovels ahead obliviously. Take a look, from the Strib archives:
World Series titles in '87 and '91. Two magical Vikings seasons: The 15-1 heartbreaker team in '98 and Brett Favre's ageless heroics in '09. A historically awful Super Bowl halftime show in '92. This '88 photo of Metallica at the Dome (more on the concerts here). The Monster Jam I got super wasted at during college, culminating with me puffing a heater from my seat. All cherished.
Primal sports fan solidarity.
Didn't magnetize bird deaths
Impossible to say how many birds the Metrodome claimed, but this much is certain: Its glassy successor has been labeled "a bird-killing machine" by the city's most respected news outlets.
Wally the Beer Man's prime
Before the cops did him dirty, Wally "The Beer Man" McNeil was a proud, esteemed beer vendor. My beer-guzzling dad taught me to respect Wally ahead of preachers, politicians, and police. He wasn't wrong.
The holes-in-the-roof rule
Though baseballs almost never soared through the holes of the Teflon roof, it happened frequently enough for Major League Baseball to make an official ruling for such events: It counted as a ground-rule double. That's just fun trivia.
The air pressure required to inflate the Dome exited with attendees via a deeply satisfying woosh that'd knock your dang cap off. Big win? The woosh propelled you into the exulted night, priming you for post-game hoisting at Hubert's. Devastating loss? The woosh jolted you back to real life, transitioning you from sad fan to alert parking spot seeker.