Not even 20 hours after the Metrodome’s final event, crews from Albrecht Sign Co. started dismantling the 65,000 seats which fans sat in for 32 years. On January 18, after all seats are removed, workers will begin to deflate the big white bubble. But the real dismantling starts January 20, when workers will start ripping down the walls. That should be a sight to see as crews can’t just blow up the arena as they are starting to build the new Vikings stadium a few yards away. I believe this is the right way to put the Dome to rest – days and days of destruction.
Crews will be destroying the Metrodome in a circular motion; one day a section may be there and the next day…gone. At the same time, construction crews will be building around the Metrodome destruction. By doing this, they will be able to build the new multi-purpose stadium in time for the 2016 NFL season.
There are two memories of the Dome that I will remember because I was at both of these games. On August 19, 2007, pitcher Johan Santana smoked the Texas batters with an 17-strikeout winning performance. Fans really wanted manager Ron Gardenhire to send Santana back out in the ninth inning because he was just a few strikeouts away from the MLB all-time record. I would have liked to see Gardenhire keep Santana in to try to finish, but the Twins had closer Joe Nathan waiting in the bullpen. That was a really fun game to be at.
Almost a year later, on July 31, I was at a game when everything broke loose. After Gardenhire got ejected late in the game, he kicked his hat real high before leaving for the clubhouse. Fans started to torpedo the field with hundreds of hats and baseballs. Former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen removed his players from the field, with the Dome’s public address announcer threatening the forfeit of the game if fans did not stop bombarding the field. Eventually, the game continued with more than 40 fans being ejected. These two memories will certainly be on my mind when the Dome’s days are over.
In the end, the facility was a nightmare for fans with disabilities. Built before the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990, the Metrodome lacked a lot of accessibility features. The facility had less than 200 ADA seats and only had two elevators. Also, it had few handicap entrances so I had to go around the stadium just to find one. Sometimes I just gave in and went through the windy doors (you should have seen my face!). Lastly, the Metrodome had tiny concourses that barely fit everyone and food stands blocked people’s paths.
The Hubert Horatio Humphrey Metrodome, which has been a fixture of the downtown Minneapolis skyline for three decades, will slowly fade away into rubble. All the memories – from the Twins two World Series Championships to Brett Favre’s last second heave to win a game in 2009 – will be engraved in our minds. The Dome served the Twin Cities well, but there is just one more thing to say: BRING ON THE WRECKING BALL!
Written by: Michael L. Sack