My Metrodome Memories 30 Dec 13

Sports Director Joel Niemeyer’s View from the Booth

My Metrodome Memories…

With the final Minnesota Vikings game in the books I thought I’d take a look back at a few of my memories from the dome.  I’m going to leave out the obvious highlights, since a lot of people have talked about them already.  But the World Series’, The “Miss”, and many other events are high on my list. 

The first thing I will always remember about the dome is the smell.  Yep…try and describing this smell to someone who has never stepped foot into the dome (which I have actually tried to do) and your likely to get a look similar to Christian Ponder looking at a defense…bewilderment.  But for those of you who have been there…you know exactly what I’m talking about. 

As soon as you step into the building it hits you in the face like a roundhouse right…WHAM…that musty, stale, Hot Dog infused, dead air.  I have been to other venues and ballparks around the county and I must admit that smell is uniquely Metrodome. 

I’ve attended many games over the years at the dome…I’m famous for making teams lose when I attend.  Ok not really, but you can count on two hands the number of times I’ve seen the home team win in the dome when I go.  My favorite game though was the “supposed to be” final Twins game in the dome back in 2009.  I say supposed to because they had all these big festivities, but the team finished Tied for first place and had to host game #163 the following night, and then got plastered by the Yankees a few more nights later to actually close the dome.    The night I’m thinking of the Twins were playing the Royals and the Twins bats were out in force.  Home Run after Home Run…scoring in bunches…and when the game was all said and done 16 runs were up on that scoreboard for the home team and not a single person left the dome early.  One of the coolest sights I’ve seen in person. 

Another memory of mine is the first time I ever worked in the Metrodome.  Now there are two of those memories.  First the bad…In 2002 my first game broadcasting in the dome here for KDUZ saw myself and Pat May see a Hutchinson football team that was destroying teams get upset on a last second field goal.  We were not in a good mood after the game…memorable for all the wrong reasons. 

My other “first working” game came in 1998.  I was still in college at Brown Institute (now called Brown College).  I had gotten a job as an intern for the All News Channel in the sports department.  They were a CNN like clone that was housed in the basement of KSTP Channel 5.  As part of a reward for doing such a good job for them I got to be the assistant to the Sports Reporter covering the Vikings vs. Redskins game one day.  It was about midway through the season, and people were starting to take the Vikings seriously.  I was told I could not wear any sports gear at all, had to be professional.  Let me tell you, that dome can get loud when your on the field.  Yeah you hear it in the stands…but on the field the noise is even more deafening.  We stood on the sidelines the entire game, got some good footage, and then went into the locker room for postgame reaction.  I could’ve gotten used to that gig! 

Staying on the work theme, maybe my favorite Metrodome memory of all time comes from one of the best high school football players I have ever seen.  In 2003 Willie Van De Steeg led the Glencoe Silver Lake Panther defense into the metrodome against Delano.  I was sitting in the press box preparing for the following game as I looked up.  Delano had the ball about at midfield.  Delano QB Dustin Schaust dropped back to throw…Van De Steeg wasn’t blocked on the play…and at maximum speed , WHACK, Van De Steeg delivered the hardest hit I have ever seen on a football field.  Schaust’s head whipped back and down he went.  Somehow Schaust got up and got to the sideline after that play.  How I don’t know…I also don’t know if he has any memories of the game after that, but I sure do. 

And now there are no more memories to make in that place.  It’s been called a lot of names over the years, a dump, a pile, and a lot of names I can’t repeat.  But as one fan said in today’s Star Tribune, “It may have been a dump, but it was our dump, and we loved it.”  I concur with that fan.  We did love it.  But now it’s time to move on for the better.  We’ll keep the memories safe inside us…now bring on the wrecking ball, we’ve got new memories on the horizon.