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Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome

By Wikipedia

The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome is a domed sports stadium in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. It replaced Metropolitan Stadium, which was on the current site of the Mall of America in Bloomington, and Memorial Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus.

At a glance...
Facility statistics
Location 900 S. 5th Street
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55415
Broke ground December 20, 1979
Opened April 3, 1982
Replaced Metropolitan Stadium
Owner Metropolitan Sports
Facilities Commission
Surface SuperTurf (1982-1986)
Astroturf (1987-2003)
FieldTurf (2004-)
Construction cost $68 million
Architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Twins (MLB, 1982-)
Vikings (NFL, 1982-)
Golden Gophers (NCAA baseball)
Golden Gophers (NCAA football, 1982-)
Strikers (NASL, 1984)
Timberwolves (NBA, 1989-1990)
Seating capacity
48,000 (Baseball)
63,000 (Football)
50,000 (Basketball)
Left Field - 343 ft
Left-Center - 385 ft
Center Field - 408 ft
Right-Center - 367 ft
Right Field - 327 ft
Backstop - 60 ft
Dome Apex: 186 ft


Construction on the Metrodome began on December 20, 1979 and was funded by the state of Minnesota. The dome is air-inflated and requires 250,000 ft/min (120 m/s) of air to keep it inflated. Three times in the stadium's history, heavy snows have caused a small puncture in the roof and caused it to deflate. Varying air pressure due to a severe storm once contributed to a dramatic deflation during a game.

During its early years of operation, the field at the Metrodome was surfaced with SuperTurf, which was disliked by both football and baseball players as being too hard. This surface was upgraded to Astroturf in 1987, and in 2004, the Twins had a newer artificial surface, called FieldTurf, installed. FieldTurf is thought to be a closer approximation to natural grass than Astroturf in its softness, appearance, and feel.

The 1985 Baseball All-Star Game, games of the 1987 and the 1991 World Series, Super Bowl XXVI in 1992, and the 1992 and 2001 NCAA Final Four were all held at the Metrodome.

Fly to the Metrodome!
If you have Google Earth installed, click here to be "flown" to the site of the Metrodome. (If you do not have it installed, get it from Google. It allows you to view virtually anywhere on Earth in 3D using satellite imagery.)

The stadium is named after former mayor of Minneapolis, US Senator and US Vice President, Hubert H. Humphrey.

The Metrodome is both beloved and reviled by Twins fans. The Twins have won both of their World Series championships in its friendly confines (and winning both Series by winning all four games held at the Dome), and the white roof, quick turf, and the right-field wall (or "Baggie") can provide a substantial home-field advantage for the Twins. Because it was designed for football, the Metrodome has severe disadvantages as a baseball venue. The way many seats are situated forces some fans to crane their necks to see home plate. Neither the main nor the upper concourse has visibility to the field, meaning fans risk missing play whenever they leave for the concession stands. The Dome's sight lines tend to be below average, with nearly 1,400 seats having obscured or partial visibility to the playing field.

The Baggie

The Metrodome's right-field wall is composed of the seven-foot-high (2.1 m) fence around the whole outfield and a 16-foot-high (4.9 m) plastic wall extension in right field, known as the "Baggie" or the "Hefty Bag." The seats above and behind the baggie are home run territory, the baggie itself is part of the outfield wall. Fenway Park's "Green Monster," a comparable but taller feature, is 17 feet (5.2 m) closer to home plate than the Baggie is, so batters who hit short, high fly balls are not typically helped by it. However, it is an attractive target for left-handed power hitters, and it is not uncommon for upper-deck home runs to be hit to right field. When in a rectangular configuration for football and other small-field events, the baggie is taken down and the seats behind it extend to form complete lower-deck seating. 

Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome!

Early in the final game of the AL Division Series with the Yankees, at the Metrodome on October 9, 2004.

Photo by Wahkeenah

04/06/1982 Mariners 11, Twins 7
Umpires Bill Haller, Jerry Neudecker
  George Maloney, Ken Kaiser
Managers Billy Gardner, Twins
  Rene Lachemann, Mariners
Starting Pitchers Pete Redfern, Twins
  Floyd Bannister, Mariners
Ceremonial Pitch Murial Humphrey Brown, widow of HHH
Attendance 52,279
Batter Julio Cruz (strikeout)
Hit Dave Engle (home run)
Run Dave Engle
RBI Dave Engle
Single Jim Maler
Double Manny Castillo
Triple Gary Gaetti
Home Run Dave Engle
Grand Slam Gary Ward (05/10/1982)
IPHR Tom Brunansky (05/28/1982)
Stolen Base Julio Cruz
Sacrifice Hit Rick Burleson (04/10/1982)
Sacrifice Fly Bruce Bochte
Cycle Kirby Puckett (08/01/1986)
Win Floyd Bannister
Loss Pete Redfern
Shutout Lary Sorensen (05/25/1982)
Save Mike Stanton
Hit by Pitch Roger Erickson hit Julio Cruz (04/07/1982)
Wild Pitch Pete Redfern
Balk Doug Corbett (04/14/1982)
No-Hitter Scott Erickson (04/27/1994)
Primary research by Jim Herdman & David Vincent
Courtesy of Retrosheet

The Metrodome's roof is made of two layers of Teflon fabric, and is supported by positive air pressure. To maintain the differential air pressure, spectators usually enter and leave the seating and concourse areas through revolving doors, since the use of regular doors is accompanied by a strong breeze. The double-walled construction allows warmed air to circulate beneath the top of the dome, melting accumulated snow. However, on November 19, 1981, a rapid accumulation of over a foot of snow caused the roof to collapse, requiring it to be reinflated.

Because it's unusually low to the playing field (172 feet/52.4 m), the air-inflated dome is occasionally touched by the ball, altering play. Any ball which strikes the Dome roof remains in play; if it lands in foul territory it becomes a foul ball, if it lands in fair territory it becomes a fair ball. Any ball which becomes caught in the roof over fair ground (which has only happened once) is a ground rule double. More common is for a ball to strike an overhead speaker, which are even closer to the playing surface; such balls are also alive and in-play (although starting with the 2005 MLB season, the ground rules for balls hitting the speakers have been changed). The low roof has never been a concern for events other than baseball.

Getting There

The Metrodome is located near the junction of Interstate 94 and Interstate 35W, and many fans come by car. There is limited parking in surface lots throughout eastern downtown, ranging from $5 for a Twins game, to $50 for a close stall at a Vikings game. On-street meters provide the lowest parking rate. A new option as of 2004 is the Downtown East/Metrodome station on the light rail Hiawatha Line. Many people also come by bus, whether on a charter or on the regular regional bus system. A shuttle from the University of Minnesota is available when the Gophers play games at the dome.

Tailgating has often been a popular pre-game activity for football fans, and many nearby parking lots have been available in the past for people who want to start early. However, in recent years, new development in the downtown region of Minneapolis has meant that these parking lots have begun to disappear. In 2004, some new options had to be considered for fans. The eventual result was setting up a new tailgating site quite a distance away, but with shuttle bus service provided.

Related Books on Ballparks
The Ballpark Book: A Journey Through the Fields of Baseball Magic by Ron Smith and Kevin Belford.
Ballpark: The Story of America's Baseball Fields by Lynn Curlee
Ballparks: A Panoramic History by Marc Sandalow and Jim Sutton.
Ballparks by Robert Von Goeben and Red Howard.
Ballparks: Then & Now by Eric Enders.
Baseball Vacations: Great Family Trips to Minor League and Classic Major League Ballbarks Across America by Bruce Adams and Margaret Engel.
Blue Skies, Green Fields: A Celebration of 50 Major League Baseball Stadiums by Ira Rosen.
Diamonds: The Evolution of the Ballpark by Michael Gershman.
Fields of Dreams: A Guide to Visiting and Enjoying All 30 Major League Ballparks by Jay Ahuja
Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of All Major League and Negro League Ballparks by Philip J. Lowry.
Joe Mock's Ballpark Guide by Joe Mock.
Lost Ballparks: A Celebration of Baseball's Legendary Fields by Lawrence S. Ritter.
Roadside Baseball: A Guide to Baseball Shrines Across America by Chris Epting.
Take Me Out to the Ballpark: An Illustrated Tour of Baseball Parks Past and Present by Josh Leventhal and Jessica Macmurray.
The Ultimate Baseball Road-Trip: A Fan's Guide to Major League Stadiums by Joshua Pahigian and Kevin O'Connell.
Video: Story of America's Classic Ballparks
Video: Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns

Economics of Stadiums
City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks by Philip Bess.
Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit by Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause.
Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums by Kevin J. Delaney and Rick Eckstein.
Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums by Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist.

General Stadium Reference:
Sports Staff of USA Today. The Complete 4 Sport Stadium Guide. Fodor's, 1996.

Stadium Design and Financing References:
Philip Bess. City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks. Knothole Press, 1999.
Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause. Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit. Common Courage Press, 1998.
Mark S. Rosentraub. Major League Losers: The Real Cost of Sports and Who's Paying for It. HarperCollins, 1997.
Kevin J. Delaney, Rick Eckstein. Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums. Rutgers University Press, 2004.
Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist. Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums. Brookings Institution, 1997.
Dean V. Baim. The Sports Stadium as a Municipal Investment. Greenwood Publishing, 1994.
Stadia: A Design and Development Guide by Geraint John and Rod Sheard. Architectural Press, 2000.
Michelle Provoost, Matthjis Bouw and Camiel Van Winkel. The Stadium: Architecture of Mass Sport. NAI Publishers, 2000.

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The Homerdome from Space!

USGS Photo

Year by Year statistics: for Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome

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