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Atwater Baseball Association acquires 200 Metrodome seats

Submitted photo Rows of Metrodome seats are loaded up Tuesday at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, destined for Atwater’s Kingery Field where they will be built into a grandstand.

In the future, when an ACGC Falcon or Atwater Chucker steps into the batter’s box at Kingery Field, fans will be cheering them from the same seats they may have been in as they enjoyed the exploits of Puckett, Hrbek and Mauer.

The Atwater Baseball Association purchased and picked up 200 Metrodome seats on Tuesday and is making plans to build a Kingery Field grandstand featuring the bright blue dome remnants.

“People are pretty excited we did it,” said Shane Hagstrom of the ABA. “They’re not the Hunter green that everything else is (at Kingery Field) but there’s a story behind them. It’s a part of Metrodome history.”

The association was already planning to build a grandstand by purchasing plastic seats that can be installed on bleachers. Those seats, however, cost $50 apiece. For non-profits like the ABA, the Metrodome seats sold for $40 apiece, Hagstrom said.

“We knew we needed to, or wanted to, do something at some point,” Hagstrom said. “When (the dome seat sale) came up, it was an opportunity to get some seats at a decent price that have some history.”

Hagstrom reached out to the company selling the seats, the ABA met to approve the purchase and on Tuesday Hagstrom and Jonathon Slinden took off for the Metrome with a cattle trailer and another smaller trailer. Unlike Monday’s traffic snarl, on Tuesday Hagstrom and Slinden cruised right into the dome and onto the field.

“It was a cool experience,” Hagstrom said, “getting to go to the dome and drive on the field. It looked like a tornado went through there, though.”

They filled both trailers to the hilt with a variety of seat sections, making sure as many as possible were row-end seats with the Metrodome “M” logo.

Atwater fans will be able to relive many memories sitting in the blue seats. The Falcons’ football team won the 2001 Prep Bowl championship and played in 1998 and 2012 state semifinals games, all in the dome.

“For me, I’ve been there to watch the Twins, Vikings, the Gophers,” Hagstrom said. “I even watched a Timberwolves game there, and all the Prep Bowls. A lot has gone on there.”

The ABA will begin fundraising to build the grandstand, Hagstrom said. The association is still paying for recent Kingery Field upgrades, such as light stands that were erected in 2012, but getting the Metrodome seats was a rare opportunity that was too good to pass up.

“It’s a pretty cool deal,” he said.

Tom Larson

Tom Larson is the sports editor of the West Central Tribune.

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