COLUMN: A Malat Musing: The Passing of the Dome

Updated: 05/06/2014 1:38 PM By: Phil Malat

Photo: MGN Online
Photo: MGN Online

7There exists the need for a proper perspective on the razing of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metro Dome or the Mall Of America Field or as it is commonly referred to “The Dome” and the construction of a new billion dollar stadium on “The Dome’s” current site. 

To begin with, “The Dome” was primarily constructed as a football facility.  It is still an excellent venue for viewing that sport.  As such, the construction of the new $288.5 million “Glorious TCF Bank Stadium” on the University of Minnesota campus was totally unwarranted and an absolute waste of precious financial resources.  It also follows that the new Viking stadium (a plethora of names have yet to be attached to the new monstrosity) is following in the same time honored debacle of the U-of-M, in that, it simply is not needed; unless you believe that a legitimate function of government should be turning the Wilfs family into billionaires. 

Yes, all the blackmail factors have been considered here (L.A. still doesn’t have an NFL franchise) and yes, the Vikings are a positive economic force in Minnesota.  However, none of those arguments validate the NEED for a NEW facility when “The Dome” suffices: nor does this rationale validate the greed driven desire for this new edifice. 

Yet legitimate arguments do exist for remodeling “The Dome” and perpetuating a more civilized environment for the game.  It is in fact true, that a root canal is now preferable to attending a Vikings game.

Let’s begin with the fact that one’s presence at “The Dome” on a Sunday requires filing for food stamps on Monday.  Add to this burdensome cost the fact that one must now sacrifice an entire day to attend a game.  It is almost impossible to engage in the endeavor in anything less than six and a half hours.  The average sports fan can now leave home, play a round of golf, and return home in less time than demanded by our beloved purple gang.    

And of course, there are those wonderful spacious seats the fans must occupy for three and half hours. They were unmistakably designed to serve as validation that there is plenty of room provided in the center seat on a commercial airliner.  You can rest assured that at least one inadvertent knee will strike you in the back or head before the game is over. 

Forget about seeing a vendor wandering around during the game.  A three-year-old must turn sideways to traverse the aisles.  Also, we have more vendors on the injured reserve list than the Twins do at mid-season.  Tossing crackerjacks and peanuts to patrons 350 feet away routinely results in torn rotator cuffs.   

Next is the harsh reality that a visit to “The Dome” can result in either temporary or, if visited often enough, permanent deafness.  Fans are subjected to a constant barrage of rap played at jet engine decibel levels.  The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission obviously has a large vested interest in the hearing aid industry.

Then there is the inevitable pushing and shoving that is the result of a building way too small to house the capacity it can seat.  It has become impossible at halftime to navigate the unending sea of humanity to visit either the concession stands or the restrooms.  Anyone drinking beer at a Viking game spends more time praying for urinary relief than watching Adrian Peterson scamper about.

And we have the unrelenting attack from commercial messages.  They leave no doubt that the primary purpose for the event is to sell stuff.  We are no longer viewed as fans but rather as consumers- lots and lots of consumers. 

So as we leave “The Dome,” half deaf, with a migraine headache, and a sore back for the last time on December 15, we should really ponder (no pun intended) the reality that had more prudent minds prevailed regarding Viking demands, a remodeling projected would have been more than sufficient.  If such logic is badly flawed then why are we merely remodeling the Target Center for a meager $97 million?