Metrodome memories

I watched a portion of the Minnesota Vikings game on Sunday afternoon, if only to reminisce a bit about the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.

I’d never been to a football game inside the dome … baseball is more my style.

I’m probably in the minority when I say I’m going to miss the dome when it’s torn down after the new year.

Rain or shine, in the April chill or the July heat, I could always count on seeing an enjoyable game under the climate-controlled roof.

I couldn’t tell you the scores of any of the games I saw there, or even any great memories about Twins’ wins, homeruns hit or great plays at the plate.

Instead, my memories were made outside the Metrodome.

My oldest brother and I made several treks to the Twin Cities over the years to stand in line before sunrise, ensuring us the latest Twins bobblehead, bronze-colored statue or player-featured fishing lure.

Oh, I don’t know how many hours we’d wait in line, watching Twins fans nearby down one bottle of beer after another. Sometimes, I’d wonder if they’d be able to walk by the time the gates opened.

The best times, though, were when we’d saunter over to the loading dock and wait for the players to arrive.

I’d be armed with my collection of baseball cards and a black Sharpie marker, waiting to collect the much-sought-after autographs of my favorite players … Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek and Marty Cordova, among others.

While I was thrilled to get Puckett’s autograph on my 1984 Donruss baseball card, I was even more excited to take my nephews to the games and see the excitement in their eyes when a favorite player signed their card.

I was the proud auntie with the camera around my neck, snapping photos of Brad Radke and Corey Koskie signing cards for nephew Matt.

After collecting Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau autographs during a Twins Autograph Party one summer, I don’t think I’d seen a bigger smile on the face of my then-teenage nephew.

Whether attending a game, Twinsfest or Twins Autograph parties, we always managed to have fun at the Metrodome.

Target Field just isn’t the same. I’ve been to one game there, and don’t plan on going back.

The next generation of Buntjers can enjoy outdoor baseball. As for me, I’ll reminisce about my Metrodome memories.

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