By Joe Christensen
Several baseball writers ended up at Maxwell’s on Sunday night after bidding goodbye to Major League Baseball at the Metrodome. The Phillies and Rockies were tangled in a close late-inning ballgame on TV, and it was heartening to hear the temperature at Coors Field was 27 degrees. That could be Target Field some October.
As Brad Lidge survived his latest tightrope act, you could see the players’ breath, and some were wearing those ridiculous, yet practical, Elmer Fudd ear-flap caps. But it was baseball. Sweet postseason baseball.
I knew it wouldn’t hit me until the very end, but just before leaving the Metrodome, I looked at all the blue seats, looked at the baggie, with those big yellow ads, looked at the mangy green carpeting, and looked down at the pressbox seat where I’ve spent so much of the past five years. Wow, I thought, this is really it.
Earlier Sunday, the Twins had led several members of the national media on a tour of Target Field, and it was nice to hear their reviews coinciding with our reviews. “A lot of nice touches,” one well-traveled scribe said. It’s neat to think about all the firsts coming in the new ballpark, with those exhibitions against the Cardinals on April 2-3 and the regular season home opener April 12 against the Red Sox. (Corrected.)
But today, as snow falls outside my window, I’m still thinking about all the good times inside the Dome. The Twins sure made it fun. Others might be bitter about the latest 3-and-out postseason, but not me. They capped a 17-4 regular season finish by winning a game for the ages. After that tiebreaker triumph over Detroit, the Twins awoke last Wednesday as 10-to-1 underdogs to win the AL pennant, and 20-to-1 long shots to win the World Series, according to www.bodog.com. The Yankees were 4-to-5 and 9-to-5, respectively.
The Twins got beat by a well-oiled machine. Yes, they beat themselves with inexplicable baserunning gaffes, a lack of timely hitting and shaky relief. But with Kevin Slowey, Justin Morneau and Joe Crede injured, it would have taken a near-perfect effort for the Twins to survive the first round.
You want to talk about changes for 2010: Third base? Shortstop? Starting pitching? A lifetime extension for Joe Mauer? La Velle and I will spend the cold months covering those decisions inside and out. Matter of fact, we’re getting started today. (Look for more in tonight’s first editions.)
But before we move on, I want to pay last respects to the Metrodome. As depressing as it was to walk inside on countless gorgeous days to watch a game meant for the outdoors, the Dome had its moments. It was quirky and downright goofy at times, but for 28 years, it was still Major League Baseball. I’m grateful for having such a good seat.