Friday, August 07, 2009

Baseball in Minnesota

Why Your Stadium Sucks -- The Metrodome:
A couple of years ago I was watching the beloved local nine at the Dome with my brother, and apparently this was the day the home plate umpire decided not to sesh before the game and alleviate his advanced-stage glaucoma. After calling the third consecutive six-strike walk to load the bases, my brother and I screamed in (profanity-free, mind you-we know our audience) unison, "OH COME ON!!!"

And at that G-rated outburst, every single person-every man, woman and child alike sitting below us in our section-turned their heads in synchronous, counterclockwise, Hitchcockian slow motion to stare at us in their silent, furious, six-hundred eyed judgment. All because we had apparently ruined the tranquil atmosphere of the ballpark by being, well, fairly well behaved baseball fans.

It's emblematic of Beyond Metrodome: two parts of the psychic apparatus enter, one part leaves. Here, you are entering the id-versus-superego crucible, and in the Land of 10,000 Manifestations of Passive Aggressive Behavior, the don't act out/don't rock the boat/don't have fun superego has a scandalous Dome-field advantage. For every Twins fan who exhibits certain actions that fall under the rubric of demonstrative, totally acceptable public displays of emotion-you know: arguing obviously shitty calls, cheering for the home team, laughter and, uh, joy, etc.-they will inevitably encounter the legion of moralizing goons bent on transforming an afternoon at the game into the largest Lutheran Bible camp in Western Civilization. And for the Legion, any outburst that rises above the decibel level of the mild susurrations typically reserved for one's local library is regarded as a rank crime of passion and met with shame-inducing scorn. There's a code of conduct here, people. You better observe it.

And you wonder why you hear such an echo in there. Good times, indeed.

The fact is that, for all the Homer Hankie-waving, bloody eardrum-screaming fervent fan myths of yore, a typical Twins game at the Dome will yield more reprimands of "Down in front!" if you dare to stand during the 2-out, full count, possibly final at bat of a tense, hella exciting Joe Nathan save situation than should ever, ever actually happen. That's not the acrid odor of stale hotdogs and cheap beer you're inhaling in the Dome. That's "Minnesota Nice." And if you're not careful, you just might suffocate from it. To wit, too many Minnesotans keep it all inside a double-walled, Teflon-coated monstrosity that is completely unnatural and ugly as hell. And their baseball is no exception.

I prefer hockey games, personally.

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