Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Metrodome Lost Twins, But Still Hosts Baseball Games

Great article in the NYT about the Minneapolis Metrodome is still renting out to colleges and high schools for around $2K/game:

Ron Petrich, now an assistant professor of education at Augsburg, a small Minneapolis college, doubles as the scheduler and matchmaker for college baseball games at the Metrodome. Since 1984, he has kept the Dome humming with games, practices and scrimmages almost around the clock from February through April, when winter finally eases. The Metrodome may have said goodbye to major league baseball, but for now, it remains a Teflon-roofed lifesaver for more than 100 college, high school and other amateur teams throughout the upper Midwest.

And no more so than this winter. In February, Petrich said, he was receiving five or six calls a day from coaches with snow-covered fields as far away as Kansas and Illinois. That made for some creative scheduling. [...]

The Metrodome had more available dates than usual this year because two trade shows canceled and it will not host an N.C.A.A. men’s basketball regional. Even with the University of Minnesota playing 28 baseball games and 16 softball games at the dome, Petrich said he had enough slots to accommodate a record 240 college games and 420 over all without booking any between 2:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. That, he said, was a first.

“This year, everything broke right,” he said. [...]

Petrich books time in four-and-a-half-hour blocks, so teams usually play doubleheaders with seven-inning games. Rent ranges from $300 to $500 an hour for high schools and small colleges to $2,000 for a single University of Minnesota game. Admission for small-college games is $5 for adults and $3 for students. Concession stands are closed, so some fans bring coolers.

With so many teams wanting the field — 55 colleges used it last year, according to sports facilities commission records — not all the start times are prime. Olean said St. Thomas played a game last year at 5 a.m., and Augsburg Coach Keith Bateman remembers a 4 a.m. doubleheader.

“That was the only time slot we were able to get in,” Bateman said. “At times, you kind of take what you can get. We’ve gotten done at 2:30 in the morning before and had two teams waiting to go play.”

I think it's cool that they will rent the Triple H Dome out to other schools; it would be even cooler if they allowed groups to just rent it out and goof around and play softball, too. I'd pay $2K for that opportunity.

photo: T. C. Worley for The New York Times


Josh S. said...

If you can get 18 people together, it's only $111 each! A steal!

Fred's Brim said...

I'm in! that's cheaper than going to a Mets game!

i'll bring a cooler - what else do we need? think they'd let us grill hot dogs inside?