Sunday, February 23, 2014

Metrodump Memories

“I caught my first pussy up in there, with a girl Shonte.”—Poot.
“Man why didn’t you say something before, they probably wouldn’t be tearing this tower down now, they’d go put a big ass sign in the front that says ‘here’s where Malik Carr first got his dick wet.’”—Bodie.

This is the conversation that opens Season 3 of The Wire, when the Franklin Towers Housing Project is being exploded amidst a big ceremony.  The Metrodome was by no means a housing project, but this embodies how I feel about it.  Yeah it’s the first place I saw professional sports, but who gives a fuck?  All the people out there waxing poetic about the Dome, all the “we like it here!” people are Poot, saying all their first sports memories were there, and that’s all fine and dandy, but the place was a dump and was long overdue for the demolition it received this morning.  That’s not to say I didn’t have a few good memories there.

September 10, 2000—Vikings 13, Dophins 7.
This was my first Vikings game.  I hadn’t turned 8 yet, and my parents decided to let me leave the house in very possibly the most absurd shirt ever worn in the United States.  It was a black shirt with the Vikings logo on it with the Vince Lombardi Trophy behind it.  Outrageous shirt.  I’m surprised no one called social services and got me put into a home because at 7 years old, it’s absolutely on the parents to make sure their kids aren’t going into public looking like assholes.  This was Daunte’s second career start, we won to go 2-0 to start the year, and the highlight was a garden variety touchdown catch by Randy Moss in the endzone in front of me.  He jumped into the stands like 15 rows in front of me, I almost assuredly went apeshit, and if I wasn’t already hooked on this god-forsaken club, I have been ever since. 

June 17, 2007—Twins 10, Brewers 9.

Although I only went to a few Vikings games at the Dome, I spent more glorious summer nights watching baseball than I care to count.  This was probably the most interesting, absurd, and unpredictable game I’ve ever been to in person.  It featured a 5 run Twins lead in the first 3 innings which was at most a 9-2 lead for the Twins after 5.  But as it always seems with the teams I root for, if it comes, it never comes easy.  Torii Hunter was drilled in the wrist with a pitch, leaving the game and trusting center field to the hapless Lew Ford.  He didn’t disappoint either, as his horrible misplay led to one of the most outrageous moments of my baseball fandom.  In the 9th inning, Joe Nathan came on to (try and) close out a 9-7 Twins win.  Prince Fielder led off, and skied a seemingly harmless fly ball to center field or so we thought.  Ford looked to be camped underneath the ball that may as well have scraped the white ceiling of the Dome, and the Twins were on their way.  But in Lew Ford fashion, he was camped about 120 feet away from where the ball actually was.  I was looking at Ford, heard a collective gasp, and saw the ball bouncing in right center field, as Fielder was BARRELING around second and on his way to third.  Fucking Ford played a routine fly ball into an inside the park home run by Prince fucking Fielder.  It was awesome.  I’ll never forget it.  Nathan coughed up another run before heading to the dugout with the game tied at 9.  Reigning AL MVP Justin Morneau was due up in the bottom of the 9th and swiftly sent us home happy with a walk off home run to right field.  What a fucking game.

August 31, 2007—Twins 5, Royals 0.
This was the most extraordinarily pitched game I’ve ever seen in my life.  Scott Baker threw a one-hit, complete-game shutout, bringing a perfect game into the ninth inning.  I didn’t even realize he had one going until like the 5th or 6th inning when I looked over at the line score on one of the 1980s era scoreboard ribbons in the Dome and noticed the 0 0 0 after the Royals scores by inning.  I said to my dad, “no one’s been on, have they?”  “No.”  And I was in for one of the most exciting/excruciating hours of my life.  I remember my mom repeatedly asking me why everyone seemed to be cheering so hard and basically screaming for the whole section to hear that she thought he had a no-hitter going.  Damn it, don’t you know you don’t say no-hitter during a no-hitter.  Despite this, he walked off the field after 6, 7, 8 perfect innings to loud standing ovations at the Dome.  He came out for the ninth and issued a 4 pitch walk to the first batter.  Perfecto out the door.  Maybe 2 pitches later, Mike Sweeney who hadn’t been healthy or good in about 5 years hit a single back up the middle, and it was just another start.  That doesn’t change the fact that I’ve never seen a performance like that since.  I think I was always a Baker apologist later on when he was oft-injured before leaving the Twins, and being in the house for this is probably why.

Any Liriano or Johan start 2004-2007
I saw Liriano throw a couple times when he was at the absolute peak of his powers in 2006.  The one I remember vividly was a Sunday matinee game against the Orioles in either July or August where he pitched 6 scoreless with 7 strikeouts and the Twins won 3- or 4-0.  He was pitching at such a high level that this just seemed run of the mill.  It was like ho-hum, Frankie threw another 6 scoreless.  At this point, I’m not sure the Twins have had a starter throw 6 scoreless since Bush was in office.  The same goes for Johan, who’s to this day the best I’ve ever seen pitch in person probably.  I remember a game when he was at the peak of his powers I was at against Cleveland where he threw like 7 innings, 2 runs, 8 K’s, and I wasn’t even like that appreciative of it at the time.  I really wish the Twins had at least once gotten to make a playoff run with these two healthy together.

April 2010, Austin 4, Hibbing 1.

We played a game in the Metrodome my junior year against Austin High School, and lost 4-1.  Sounds pretty garden variety, no?  No.  We got no-hit in the Metrodome.  And scored a run.  I don’t even remember how this happened other than the fact that our coach like to steal and hit and run and bunt about as much as Shawn Kemp liked siring illegitimate children.  There were probably errors.  I don't know.  I wasn't lying when I once said I didn't have many winning memories of that place.  I just remember my first time at Target Field was the night before, and when we left the stadium to bus back home that afternoon, it was 70s and sunny, just a gorgeous day that we had just spent inside the climate controlled building.  I was ready to be done with that place that day.

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