Obituary - Metrodome: Born April 1982: Died December 29, 2013
By Brian Wierima
Today, we remember our big, ugly friend, which many, many Minnesotans grew to love and loathe at the same time.
He became an institution of sports in the state for over three decades, and provided much happiness and misery along the way.
Cardinals, Braves, Packers, Bears and Lions never agreed with what he offered, but always had to respect him for what he gave.
Our friend was not perfect, but always offered shelter over our heads during the bad times and warmed our souls with exciting victories and thunderous applause during the good times.
On this day, Dec. 29, 2013, we the people of Minnesota say goodbye to the Metrodome, a bitter-sweet affair that ends after 31 years of exciting times and heartbreak.
Inserted is the Metrodome’s obituary, posted Dec. 30, 2013:
The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome passed away Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, on a beautiful snowy day, as it moved blissfully into the great big Stadium Heaven.
The Metrodome was conceived in 1977, when the “no-site bill” was passed, which was the first move in the creation of the last all-purpose stadium.
Metrodome’s home was finally selected out of numerous sites, which ranged from Bloomington and St. Paul to a “Midway” site between Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as Brooklyn Center, Coon Rapids and Eagan.
The shape and form of the Metrodome finally were designed, as the final price of the stadium’s birth was set at $55 million.
During the Metrodome’s creation in the womb, complications occurred when the groundbreaking was taking place, as a 250,000 pound granite rock, believed to be 11,000 years old, was encountered.
The rock was eventually conquered and moved to the banks of Plymouth, now dubbed, “Plymouth’s Rock.”
The crown of the Metrodome’s head was seen when the “Dome” was inflated on Oct. 2, 1981, with the full birth completed in April 1982.
But complications arose for the Metrodome in its infancy, as a major storm dumped more than 10 inches of heavy snow and the dome collapsed, just 48 days after birth.
With its final resting place set at 900 South 5th Street, Minneapolis, the Metrodome opened for work on April 6, 1982, when the Twins hosted the Seattle Mariners.
In what would be one of thousands of games inside its confines, the Twins lost 11-7.
The Metrodome also worked for the Minnesota Vikings, which held their first game indoors against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, winning 17-10.
The Metrodome was known for its tireless and endless work through its 31 years of life.
It is the only stadium in the world to have hosted the NFL Super Bowl (1992), Major League Baseball’s All-Star game (1985), two World Series (1987, 1991) and the Final Four (1992, 2001).
The Metrodome had very little rest, hosting more than 300 different events per year, while making over 30 times more than what it originally cost.
But the Metrodome wasn’t just a sports fan, it loved its music.
More than half a million people experienced concerts inside the Metrodome, including major performers such as Metallica, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, Guns N’ Roses, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and the Grateful Dead.
Exercise was also important in the 31-year-old stadium’s life, as it drew up to 4,000 runners and 30,000 inline skaters a year.
The Metrodome was a graduate of the University of Minnesota, as the Gopher football team played under its Teflon for 28 years. It also hails from hundreds of high schools, with the Prep Bowl and semifinals being held there for the last 31 years, as well.
The Prep Bowl championship games in that first year inside the Metrodome included Class 2A Stillwater over Owatonna, 34-27; Brooklyn Center over East Grand Forks 30-8 in Class 1A; LeCenter over Mahnomen 12-6 in Class B; Southland, Adams over Bird Island-Lake Lillian 28-0 in Class C and Silver Lake over Norman County West/Climax 27-12.
The highlight of the Metrodome’s life came in 1987 and 1991, when the Twins won their two World Series titles, after going a perfect 8-0 on their home field over the St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves.
But after 31 years of heavy use and outdated facilities, the Metrodome suffered from the narrowing of concourses, severe bathroom afflictions, a bad suite tooth and insufficient gaining capability.
Pallbearers included Kent Hrbek, Adrian Peterson, Frank Viola, Jack Morris, Chris Doleman, Randy Moss, Cris Carter and Darrell Thompson.
The Metrodome was preceded in death by the Metropolitan Stadium, Met Center and the U of M’s Memorial Stadium.
It leaves behind its grieving twins, Target Field and Target Center, and brothers TCF Bank Stadium and Xcel Energy Center.
The Metrodome will be succeeded by a nearly $1 billion stadium (yet to be named), which will carry on the legacy of Minnesota sports and gatherings.
R.I.P. Metrodome: Born April, 1982…Died Dec. 29, 2013.
(Brian Wierima is a sports editor of 15 years at the Detroit Lakes Newspapers)