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Tribune column: Unseating a piece of the Metrodome

Tribune photo by Ben Brewster One of the Metrodome’s 64,121 seats.

The Metrodome was not a great place to watch a baseball game. It was ugly, dirty, had neon green turf and the seats all pointed in the wrong direction.

But when the news came that it was coming down, I knew I had to get a piece of it.

I grew up 20 minutes away from it and can’t count how many ballgames and TwinsFests I went to there as a young baseball addict. I wanted something to remember it by, and what better than one of those bright blue seats?

The place served the Twins well. They won two World Series on that turf and saw two generations of great players come through — from Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek to Johan Santana and Joe Mauer. Scott Erickson and Eric Milton pitched no-hitters there, and Dave Winfield, Cal Ripken Jr. and Eddie Murray got their 3,000th hits there. Frank Thomas hit his 500th home run there. And when the Twins were good, there was no better fan atmosphere, no matter how ugly the actual building was.

But back to the seat.

I submitted my order for one several weeks ago, and the company removing the seats gave me a time on Monday to drive onto the field and pick it up.

I got there right as scheduled and was greeted by complete gridlock, stretching all the way from the Dome’s loading dock on 11th Avenue to Washington Avenue. It was so bad that traffic cops were diverting cars to side streets, and even those were starting to overflow.

I sat in the traffic jam for half an hour before I tried calling the company — no answer, of course. I’m sure everyone was trying to call. But then I remembered they’d called me from a different number when collecting my payment, which was still stored in my phone. I tried that and got a direct line to someone, who instructed me to drive to their office location where they had some extras on hand.

I bolted from that traffic jam as fast as I could, got over to their office, and got the last single seat they had available at that location. They told me when the turf was removed, the rubber pellets underneath it clogged the Dome’s drainage system and there was enough water on the field that they weren’t allowing any cars in. I later learned on the local news and Twitter that some people had been stuck in traffic for four hours before they were let in. I’m still not sure how I escaped with such ease.

But I got my seat.

It’s ugly, dirty, doesn’t stand up on its own and has a piece of petrified gum stuck to the bottom of it, but that seems fitting considering where it came from.

Once I get it mounted, maybe I’ll set it up at a 45-degree angle away from the TV. Just for old time’s sake.

Ben Brewster

Ben Brewster covers the Willmar Stingers and other area sports, as well as laying out the daily sports section cover for the West Central Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @benbrewster.

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