Twins aside, many rely on Dome baseball field

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- Despite being criticized as a poor place to watch baseball, the Metrodome has been a big help for college and other amateur teams.

Since early February, at least 60 college baseball teams from 15 states have played in the Metrodome. College softball teams, high school baseball teams and amateur teams also have used it, paying up to $400 per hour.

The Dome's main baseball tenant, the Minnesota Twins, wants a new outdoor stadium that will be more suitable for fans and generate more revenue for the team.

But the Dome is used for baseball more than just for the Twins' 84 home games.


It was in use an average of 14 hours per day between Feb. 26 and March 10. The Gophers baseball team, which has yet to have a full practice outdoors on Siebert Field, has played 18 games in the Metrodome.

"Obviously losing the Dome would have a big impact on our program," said Gophers coach John Anderson. "But it would also have an impact on amateur baseball of all levels."

Augsburg is among many college teams that have relied on the Metrodome to help level the playing field. The Auggies played five doubleheaders in the Dome before their spring trip.

"Without access to the Metrodome we would not be able to get game experience before heading south, which would put us at a competitive disadvantage," Augsburg men's athletic director Paul Grauer said.

Concordia-St. Paul coach Mark McKenzie, said, "By scheduling games in the Dome, we are guaranteed to play, our student-athletes miss a minimum of class time and the kids, parents, family and friends can come to the games."

In addition to high school and college baseball teams, amateur teams also play games in the Metrodome throughout the summer.

John Wilkens, a coach and secretary of the Minnesota High School Baseball Coaches Association, said, "I don't think people fully comprehend how many use it and what a valuable tool it is to the Twin Cities area."

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