In April 1982, the Minnesota Twins took the field at the Hubert H. Metrodome for the first time.
Their odds of a pennant were slim: The team had finished in last place in 1981, and was destined for a repeat performance.
This weekend, the Twins take the field at the Metrodome for the last time.
Their odds of a pennant are slim: They’re stuck two games back with three to play. They need a sweep and a few big favors.
The Twins can do two things right now: Win and pray.
But in its final days as a baseball stadium, the Metrodome can do a little bit more:
It can send off the home team in raucous fashion, and give the visitors a miserable three days in the process.
The Dome has never been a friendly venue for visitors. The turf is quirky. The roof is the same color as the ball. The ball doesn’t carry, and the wall is more of a tarp.
Oh, and it's really, really loud.
It's loud enough that players can't hear one another on the field. It's loud enough that Kirby Puckett described his ears ringing for days after big games.
During the 1987 World Series, the decibel level peaked at 125. In '91, it hit 117. That's loud enough to cause pain. It's the equivalent of revving a chain saw three feet away from your face.
Hey, there's a reason opponents can't stand the place. There's a reason the Twins scratched out 85 wins and a playoff berth in '87 even though they went 29-52 on the road, or why they won 90-plus games four times this decade without topping 43 wins on the road.
When the Royals come to town this weekend, the Dome will greet them with more than 140,000 fans. For Sunday's season finale, the curtain that covers parts of the upper-deck will be lifted, paving the way for some 55,000-plus fans to pack the house.
That's a lot of voices to cram into the Midwest's biggest echo chamber. And if Minnesotans rise to the occasion, Kansas City will hear every last one of them, loud and clear.
When umpires call strikes and balls, they'll need to use sign language.
When Trey Hillman makes a call to his bullpen, he'll need to use smoke signals.
And when presumptive Cy Young winner Zack Greinke toes the mound, he'll channel his inner John-Rhys Davies and ask, "Why does the floor move?"
I can't tell you what the Dome will sound like when Joe Mauer bats. Odds are good that fans in attendance won't be able to tell you, either—at least not until the ringing subsides long enough for them to ask.
Fans will get loud for the National Anthem. They'll get loud for the starting lineups. They'll get loud for the hot dog vendors.
They'll get loud for the scoreboard, too—provided the White Sox give them a reason to cheer.
Maybe the roof will be good for a lost pop-up. Maybe the noise will be good for a booted grounder. Maybe the baggie will be good for a Carlos Gomez web gem.
None of it might matter, of course. If Detroit takes care of business, Minnesota is done, and that's all she wrote.
All the Twins can do about it is win and pray.
All the Dome can do is make sure God can hear them.