Kara and I took a one-day road trip to Minneapolis on Monday. It was the opener of the Red Sox final series at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. We flew on Midwest – an excellent airline – with a stop in Milwaukee. I’d been in Wisconsin before – went to Miller Park in 2006 and saw a Brewers-Giants game. This didn’t count as a visited state for Kara, though, as we never left the airport. Airport-only visits don’t count. We landed at he airport in St. Paul at 10:15. Plenty of time to noodle around and check things out. Would Kara like to see the biggest mall in the world? Yes, she would. The Mall of America is, as advertised, huge. Every chain is there. We have all of them in Boston, but not in the same building. The Nickelodeon rollercoaster in the middle – it spins you right round as you drop 100 feet – is a guaranteeed lunch-blower.
On to the Metrodome. Nothing special there. No special songs. About 28,000 showed up. The scoreboard is very rudimentary. The original completely crappy turf field was replaced with a slightly less crappy – but nonetheless crappy – new turf field in 2004. It still sucks. No infield except for base cutouts. The center field fence is a short baggy held in place by wobbly sticks like you’d put along your driveway as a guide for the plow guy. About the height and consistency of a Glad lawn & leaf bag. Toward right field it’s a little taller. In right field they have football seats that collapse like the stands in a high school gym. A baggie is attached to the lower portion of the folded seats. If a ball hits the baggie it’s in play. If it hits above the baggie in the area of the folded up seats it’s a home run. A cheap one. The roof is white canvas, making it difficult to track a fly ball. The bubble roof is held up by air pressure, so the only way to exit the Metrodome is through revolving doors. Imagine how long that takes with 28,00 people filing out through four revolving doors.
An impressive number of Red Sox fans were there. Enough that you could easily hear the “Yooooouuuk” when Youkilis did something. The Sox wore red hats with a blue B that had stars embedded, no doubt because it was Memorial Day. The umpires also wore red hats. I chatted with several people from Minneapolis who readily admitted that the Metrodome is no Fenway Park. “Only 53 games left…then we move to the new open-air Target Field.” People are midwest friendly. One complaint – when Hidecki Okajima came on to pitch the 7th they played “Born In the USA.” Maybe it was an oversight. But I added the Metrodome as the 33rd notch in my major league ballpark tour. I also added Minnesota as the 39th state I’ve visited.