When one stadium goes up, another one must come down. That’s what happening right now in downtown Minneapolis.
On Saturday, the Metrodome will go flat. It’s a speedy demolition process to make way for the new billion dollar Vikings stadium. Crews broke ground more than a month ago and the time has come to clear out the building for the next phase.
With four days until the Dome’s deflation, fans who purchased specific old blue stadium seats could pick them up. The process took a little longer than expected, leaving some people idling in their cars for three hours. But in the midst of their wait, they all told me, the seats are an important keepsake and well worth the wait. At $60-$80 each, it’s a small price to pay to bring home the exact place many of us spent our time.
Walking into the Dome one final time was more emotional than I expected. I found myself standing at the tunnel looking out at the now barren cement rows. Thousands of chairs had already been torn down. Loud clanking of crews unscrewing and removing unclaimed seats echoed off the walls.
Piles and piles of seats were clumped along the former Vikings sidelines, flagged and tagged for customers to pick up. It was really a sad sight to see.
I was a little overwhelmed thinking about the stadium that was. It was as if that sad Madonna song from “A League of Their Own” was playing in my head as I flashed back to Twins and Vikings games during the Dome’s glory days.
The Metrodome was never a beautiful building. My dad described it as a sterile cement stadium that was never right for baseball. He’s right. It had its quirks and faults. It also had its magic. It was the place I fell in love with baseball and learned to appreciate the history of the sport. I have too many Metrodome memories to list, but the high anxiety and jubilant celebration of Game 163 and ditching class to catch afternoon games with my friends are right are among my favorites.
That same nostalgia wasn’t lost on the hundreds of fans who drove in to get their stadium seats. While waiting for crews to haul over their purchase, they looked around in awe and snapped photos. Some even grabbed handfuls of the fake turf to bring home with them too. After 32 years, a lot of memories had been made in the building. Fans took their time to soak it in and say goodbye.
I showed Mark Rosen some of the pictures I captured during my quick trip inside. He joked the state of the Dome today wasn’t much different than when there were teams playing there. Rosen did admit, however, he had the same emotional reaction when the old Metropolitan Stadium was torn down. After all, that is where he saw the Twins and Vikings play as a boy. It shows these buildings are sacred grounds.
After this weekend, we’ll watch how quickly the demolition of the Dome will be. This animation from Mortenson Construction shows how it’ll work.
Power will be cut to the Metrodome on Jan. 18. The fabric dome will be deflated at the same time. We’re told it’ll only take 30 minutes. The fabric will be cut up, sold or possibly recycled to another domed facility.
As far as everything else inside, the head of the Sports Authority that’s in charge of the Metrodome says it’ll will be sold or recycled.
For now, I’m not buying any Metrodome memorabilia (mainly because my parents said they wouldn’t let me store two seats in their garage and I live in an apartment). I do have some shirts and souvenirs from throughout the years. Instead, I’ll cherish my photos and memories.
After one final stroll through the old girl, I’m okay with saying goodbye.