Fans share Metrodome memories
Twins faithful fond of closing ballpark despite its flaws
MINNEAPOLIS -- A story can be found in each of the Metrodome's blue plastic seats, and every fan loves telling his or her story during the Dome's final weekend.Nicki and Katy Patnaude drove down to Minneapolis from Duluth, Minn., just to catch one final game at the Dome. They remember being here during the final weekend in 2006 when the Twins clinched the AL Central on the final day of the season, and said they'll never forget how loud the Dome could get. "It's kind of bittersweet," Katy said. "There's so much history here, and there's a lot that's happened here," Nicki said. "We wanted to come and be a part of the final weekend." Keith Maxwell resides in Fort Myers, Fla., the Spring Training home of the Twins. He makes his way to his summer home in Lakeville, Minn., on occasion and catches a handful of games at the Dome each season. Like other fans, his feelings of the Metrodome are mixed. "I never really liked it much for baseball," Maxwell said. "But as far as the weather's concerned, you always knew there's going to be a game." That included Friday's series opener against the Royals, where the game-time temperature outside was 47 degrees with scattered rain showers. It's nights like Friday that made Maxwell and others glad to have the Teflon roof. "I'm kind of glad it's not outdoors tonight," Maxwell said. Under the roof this weekend are the Twins' three final regular-season games, as well as Fan Appreciation Weekend. As part of the festivities, fans can take their picture with Twins greats prior to Saturday's game. The list of notable alumni includes Kent Hrbek, Paul Molitor, Bert Blyleven and Dan Gladden, who scored the winning run in the 1991 World Series at the Metrodome. "Fans [will be] thinking that this is the last time they'll get a photo with people here at the Metrodome," Gladden said. "I think they'll be looking forward to that. They'll have a picture that says, 'Last picture taken of so-and-so, Hrbek and Gladden and [Gary] Gaetti and Chili Davis.'" Twin sisters Besty Okerlund and Barbie Goetsch only had tickets for Friday's game and won't take part in Saturday's festivities. But Okerlund would have loved a picture with Hrbek, one of her all-time favorites. "We tried to get tickets," Okerlund said. "My heroes have been Harmon [Killebrew], Kent Hrbek and now Joe [Mauer]." Goetsch has her favorite on the current Minnesota team, too: Justin Morneau. "I don't want to be his girlfriend," Goetsch said. "I want to adopt him and be his mother. ... I've been watching the games at home, but we like to be here where the boys are. She likes Joey, I like Justin." Still, among many Twins fans, one player stands out as the all-time favorite during the Metrodome era. "Kirby Puckett in the World Series, of course," Maxwell said. "I met him about a year before he died. It's too bad he had to go out the way he did. He made this place." "We'd sit out in Kirbyville," Okerlund said, "and then talk to Kirby." Okerlund and Goetsch attended their 17th game of the year on Friday. When they have been at the Dome this season, the Twins have gone 16-1, including Friday's 10-7 win over the Royals. They've been coming to Twins games since 1961, including plenty of outdoor games at the old Met Stadium. When the outdoor baseball returns to Minnesota next season, these true Minnesota twins will miss the place their favorite team has called home since 1982. "It's sad. It's exciting. It's been wonderful being here," Goetsch said. "It's been a good experience, although the Dome really isn't designed for baseball. ... But it was always fun."
Tyler Mason is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.