The Metrodome is a sports facility in Minneapolis
. Officially named the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
, or HHH Metrodome
, after a noted Minnesota Democratic politician.
The main tenants are the Minnesota Twins, a relatively low-paid Major League Baseball team in the American League. During the colder months, the Minnesota Vikings (NFC) play excellent NFL football here.
The Dome opened on April 3, 1982. Its surface has always been artificial. Until 1986 SporTurf was used, but it caused baseballs to bounce too much. In 1987 it was replaced by Astroturf, just in time for the Twins to win the World Series. The stadium's capacity is 55,883 for baseball and 63,000 for football. For football games and other events not requiring the odd baseball diamond shape, seats in the right outfield (sections 107 to 113) slide out to make a large rectangle. The Metrodome was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merill. It was built by the Barton Marlow construction firm of Southfield, MI for $68 million. Today it is owned by the Metropolitan Sports Commission.
The Metrodome is unique as the only air-supported dome in the major leagues. Fans enter the stadium though revolving doors which prevent air from rushing out. Next to the revolving doors, however, are normal doors for emergencies. If the ushers are in a good mood at the end of the game, they will let you leave through these doors as air pushes you out, which is quite fun. The 10-acre Teflon-coated fiberglass roof requires 250,000 cubic feet of air pressure/minute to stay inflated. 3 times so far heavy Minnesota snow has made the Dome deflate. Now and then hitters manage to hit the roof. In 1983 Twin Randy Bush hit the roof and the ball came down in foul territory and was caught by Blue Jays catcher Buck Martinez. Amazingly, on May 4, 1984, Oakland A's batter Dave Kingman hit a ball through the roof, which must have surprised the outfielders. It would have been a home run had it stayed in, but Kingman only got a double from the umpires.
The Metrodome is notorious for bad acoustics and extremely loud crowd noise. Most locals suspect this is because the roof traps sound and reflects it. At the Cardinals-Vikings NFC playoff game on January 10, 1999, I personally experienced the thrill of a decisive victory in essentially rock-concert level noise during kickoffs and key plays, especially. The Metrodome is called the Thunderdome occasionally because of the amazing noise level.
The Dome is similar to other domed stadiums in Seattle, Pontiac, MI and Vancouver, because all 4 were designed by the same firms.
Editors' Note: The Metrodome was demolished during a period from January 18, 2014 to April 17, 2014. A video of the final death blow can be viewed here.