The Viroqua American Legion baseball team, Tuesday, played in the last baseball game ever to be held at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis.
Viroqua and Sturgeon Bay split a doubleheader in the iconic indoor stadium, which since 1982 has mainly been host to home games for the professional sports franchises of the Minnesota Twins and the Minnesota Vikings. The stadium is to be torn down in February of 2014 to make way for a new stadium for the Vikings.
Viroqua won the first game of the doubleheader, 6-2; Sturgeon Bay won the finale, 11-6.
In game one, Viroqua’s Tyler Trautsch hit a three-run homer to left center field – the last homer ever to be hit at the Metrodome.
“That was kind of special,” Viroqua Legion Coach Pete Swanson said. “You don’t see an American Legion player hit a home run in a major league park very often.”
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A famous footnote about the stadium, often made light of by Cheeseheads, is that the stadium’s air-supported roof has collapsed five times in its history -- usually due to heavy snow.
The two games between Viroqua and Sturgeon Bay were completed before their allotted time in the stadium was up. Swanson said the teams kept on scrimmaging. At one point, Post 138 was playing an all-left-handed infield.
“That’s something the kids came up with,” he chuckled. “They were having fun.”
Viroqua American Legion teams have traveled to the Metrodome to play games six or seven times since it has opened, Swanson said. To fill the void from losing the venue, the Viroqua Legion program is looking possibly to play games at Warner Park in Madison or Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton.
The Metrodome has hosted events from rock concerts to a Christian gathering of the Promise Keepers over the years. It has received less-and-less use as the Minnesota Twins moved to play at Target Field in 2010, after 28 years of playing at the Metrodome.