Yesterday the Vikings played for the first time at U.S. Bank Stadium, which, of course, is built on top of the site where the Metrodome used to be. That’s where the Twins played for 28 years and won their only two World Series Championships. Those of you who don’t know me as well might not know this, but the Metrodome was (and still is) my favorite place in the world.
I loved the Metrodome. I sat behind home plate right after the last Twins game there, watching them dig up the base, bawling my eyes out as some stupid Yankees fans pointed and laughed because they thought I was just that upset because their team had beat mine. No, I was that upset because I would never see the Twins play again in the Dome—where I watched them play since I was a kid, where I saw them win championships, and where I had spent countless hours of my life falling in love with baseball. A piece of my life just died. But whatever, I didn’t say anything to those fans. I let them live in their delusions, as most people do with Yankee fans. I had a lot more on my mind anyway.
I did go back to the Metrodome a couple times after the last Twins game there, mostly for TwinsFest. Actually, I specifically went to TwinsFest just to visit the Metrodome. I’d go to where my season tickets had been and sit in my seat for extended periods of time, not doing anything except looking around and remembering. It was my happy place.
The last time I went in the Metrodome was for a Monster Truck Rally on December 7th, 2013. They had TWO Grave Diggers at once (!!), which was supposed to be the grand finale for monster trucks at the Dome, but the stupid things flipped over within a minute of coming out, and having no real other choice, the people running the show just shrugged their shoulders and let off all the finale fireworks. That was that.
Yesterday was the first time since then I’ve been back to the site of the Metrodome. It was the first time I’ve been to U.S. Bank Stadium or any NFL game of any kind, but being back where my favorite place on earth had once stood was much more important to me. After watching the Vikings be introduced and play for a bit, I left my seat to see if I could find anything that resembled my beloved Metrodome, or anything about the Twins history that had happened in the very same place.
There is no remembrance of the Twins at U.S. Bank Stadium—at least nothing explicit that I could find. It is most definitely not the Metrodome. I walked around the first floor concourse, past the area where home plate would have been, and I felt very faintly that I was where I had been some six plus years ago. Really, though, that was only because I was thinking about it so hard and trying to remember. Maybe the light came in the windows by there in a similar way, onto the concrete concourse of a similar color. But that was it.
I was rather dejected, realizing there was no way I was going to revisit my former home. But then I smelled something. As smells often do, it suddenly brought me back to the Dome. I looked around to see what it was.
A GIANT TUB OF CHOPPED ONIONS.
The Metrodome always had giant tubs of chopped onions at the condiments stand. I loved the onions. I always put an inappropriate amount of them on my dome dogs. I’d eat the leftovers with a fork. Or my fingers. Target Field has never had the tubs of chopped onions. U.S. Bank? They have the chopped onions. Right between the mustard and the ketchup and whatever heinous things people put on their food (I’m looking at you, relish), they have the big container of chopped onions.
I don’t think anyone on earth has ever been so happy to see (and especially smell) a giant tub of chopped onions in a stadium in their entire life. And yes, I know it sounds ridiculous, but that container of chopped onions made my day. Hell, it made my week. Maybe even my year.
I went back to my seat happy. I watched the rest of the Vikings game looking around the stadium. I don’t think I’ll ever know exactly where Kirby Puckett hit that home run, or made that catch. I won’t know exactly where home plate was, or where my seats were. It pains me, but maybe just a little bit less now that I have visited and seen what the Vikings have done with the place. I approve. Hesitantly. It is a beautiful stadium.
Just don’t ever fucking get rid of those chopped onions.