Reporting Mike Max
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Metrodome is still alive with baseball this time of year, but it’s the final year. With the dome set to be torn down at the end of the Vikings season, it’s the end of another era this winter – college baseball under the roof.
There is no place like it, like it or not. The Metrodome may not be the most popular structure put on pavement, but certainly one of the best investments.
This winter marks the end of the long-standing tradition of college baseball in the Dome. It started in 1984 when they realized this would save costs for teams that travelled south. So they came from places like Presentation College in Aberdeen, South Dakota instead. Presentation baseball coach Jesse Eikum says the Dome was indispensable.
“It’s been a blast. In the Midwest it really is about coming to the Dome. It’s the only way we get any games in, and it’s fun to come in and play right off the bat in February when, obviously, it’s minus, whatever, 10 degrees outside,” Eikum said.
In these parts, there isn’t much guarantee of a spring, so the Dome has been functional and important. Baseball fan Bob Freed says it’s a great opportunity for the young players.
“It’s a wonderful place to play ball. For these kids, its Minnesota baseball, and we know there isn’t going to be any outdoor baseball,” Freed said. “Our first scheduled home game is March 30.”
And there is some nostalgia. This Dome has housed some memories that are not lost on the kids who get their shot under the roof, like Presentation outfielder Tyler Paulsen.
“I’m one of the older guys on the team, so I think a lot of the Twins games,” Paulsen said. “And walking around the dugout, even taking a drink out of the water fountain. I think of all the legends who have played here, and all the all-stars and hall-of-famers who have played here. It’s just a real fun time.”
The new Viking football stadium will be configured for baseball.