Posts Tagged ‘Metropolitan Stadium’

Save the trees

In Uncategorized on January 29, 2011 at 4:11 am

I saw in the MLB headlines today that the Twins have decided to remove the the 14 pine tress that grace the centerfield area at Target Field. The reason: batters complained that the trees provided a poor backdrop against which to hit. Joe Mauer was quoted as saying : “First year in the stadium and it was pretty bad.” Why this is “news” I have no idea. Maybe because it is February and we are in that odd week waiting for the Super Bowl when there is nothing else going on in the World of Sports. Nevertheless, I have plenty to say about this story.

First of all, I have always loved baseball parks with trees. Some of the classic ballparks in the annals of the game, Forbes Field, Crosley Field, Milwaukee County Stadium, Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Dodger Stadium, and in its early years even Candlestick Park had trees beyond the outfield fences. The trees in these ballparks lent a picturesque quality to the playing field and for that reason the ballpark was always a pleasant place to waste an afternoon, akin to spending a day at the neighborhood park. I suspect that the architects who designed the parks meant the landscape to reinforce this feeling of leisurely retreat. .As the small ballparks gave way to gargantuan, multi-purpose, cookie-cutter stadiums ( as the stadiums of the 1970s and 1980s came to be called) ballparks with trees were put on the endangered species list. A few teams, like the Twins, have sought to revive the aesthetic but as the news today shows we live in different times now. Trees no longer belong in a ballpark apparently.

I also thought it was interesting how Twins management was quick to accommodate Mauer and others by removing the trees. This is typical of the mentality of management nowadays, when every fickle demand of a highly-paid player is granted. Did players complain about this sort of thing thirty or forty years ago ? Of course. But parks were what they were and players accepted this, happy just te be playing in the majors I suspect.

Then again, what do you expect from Joe Mauer who grew up in Minneapolis in the shadow of the Metrodome, where trees never grew.


The Old Met

In Uncategorized on December 29, 2010 at 6:07 pm

The Metrodome has been in the news lately. The roof collapsed after a heavy snowfall in the Minneapolis-St Paul area earlier this month forcing the Vikings to move their remaining two home games to another venue. And I read today that hundreds of high school and college baseball games, as well as the Twins winter workouts, will have to be moved or subject to cancellation because the damage will not be repaired until March.

I have always regarded the Metrodome with particular disdain, one reason being that it displaced a venerable stadium in Metropolitan Stadium. Metropolitan Stadium was home to the Twins and Vikings for many years and the scene of some memorable Games including the 1965 All star game and World Series, as well countless Vikings playoff games. It was one of those picturesque stadiums of the 1960s, with grass and fences, as opposed to astro-turf and walls, a look which came to dominate stadiums in the mid-1970s and 1980s. For this reason, Metropolitan Stadium was always one of my favorite venues for the NBC Saturday Game Of The Week.

The great Vikings teams of the 60s and 70s were synonymous with Metropolitan stadium. When I think back to those teams I see the barren playing field, the snow piled up on the sidelines and Alan Page’s vaporized breath as he stands in the huddle.

I never understood why Metropolitan Stadium ceased to be good enough for the Twins and why the Vikings suddenly could no longer play in cold weather. By 1980 the stadium was in need of repairs but renovations -along the lines of the the old Yankee Stadium remodeling from 1973-1976 – could have been undertaken. Instead Metropolitan Stadium fell victim to the civic craze for domed sports and entertainment facilities.

I have often considered re-locating to Minneapolis. I am not sure Tokyo is right for me and California, my home state, is in crisis. In Minnesota I am sure I would find solid midwestern, American values, good schools and affordable home prices. The cold winters do not bother me. Were Metropolitan Stadium still in use I would be there in a heartbeat.

As long as the Metrodome stands, however, the move is on hold.