Thursday, October 8, 2009

Twins Final Game Photos Part I (Vendors)

The following photos are from the final Sunday Twins game at Metrodome. This batch is of many of the vendors.

It's really funny, but I saw lots of vendors with cameras on final game. We all seemed to want to capture this period of our lives with a last minute photos. Why I/we didn't do this years ago, I don't know.

There are so many great people we come in contact with every day. It would have been great to take pictures of friends, fans, and players for the past 20 years and look back and wonder where everyone was today.

Final Twins Game at Metrodome. I decided to wear a "throwback" jersey. These were the shirts worn from 1998-2004.

Pro: They looked pretty good and had the Bud and Miller logos right on them.
Con: I forgot how hot they were to wear.

Doug Rutz in his 2009 vending uniform prior to the final Twins game in Metrodome.
There was a line about 15 deep to take your picture in front of the countdown sign. I paid off the people in the line with a bag of sunflower seeds and a bag of peanuts.

They probably would have let us go anyway... after all, we had to work.

This is the "Class of 1982". These are the vendors that have worked since the opening season of Metrodome.
Front Row L to R: Nancy, Joe, Trixter, Dave
Back Row L to R: Wally, Jerry, Lyle, Tom, Brian, Jake, Jon, Becker, Steve
Quite an accomplishment.

Tom Newell was a member of the "Class of 1982". Somehow he had saved his uniform from that very first year and wore it to the final Twins game at Metrodome.
He also had his very first price button from that very first year. In 1982, the price of beer was $1.90.
(There was quite a lengthy discussion prior to working whether beer was actually $1.90 or $1.50 in that first summer. I think either way, it is amazing considering the price of a beer next summer at Target Field will likely be $7.50... and people will pay for it.)

There are more photos to come. I will share more as I get time.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Final Metrodome Game (part II)

Metrodome baseball just will not end.

Games like tonight are the kinds of games that I wish I would/could have written about years ago. There were no blogs back then… Hell, there was barely an Internet back then.

Tonight’s game reminded me so much of 1991. Even the Homer Hankies were out again.

Not that this team is going to win the 2009 World Series or anything beyond this game, but the crowd “in the building” had many of the same emotions. This was “Do or Die” baseball at it’s finest.

The crowd was AWESOME.

There are too many games at the Dome that when the home team gets down early, the crowd goes into a shell. Not only do the fans not care about the outcome, but they feel obligated to “sit on their wallets” because they are unhappy with the product on the field.

NOT TONIGHT!!!! Not with everything on the line.

The Twins were down 3-0 early, but this Metrodome crowd was going to do whatever it took to help the Twins win the 2009 AL Central Title.

I worked the left field corner tonight. These are interesting fans in the corner for a busy game. They are the fans that get in line early for special tickets (i.e. Yankees, Red Sox, playoffs, etc…), but I get the feeling that they don’t attend too many games during the regular season. They just like to go to the best ones.

Not that they are bandwagon fans, because I am sure they hang on every pitch at home on their TV. The fans I sold to tonight were great fans. They just want to go to games that really mean something, and not just a whole bunch of normal games.

The best thing about fans like this is that they are into EVERY pitch. They know when to cheer… They know when to be quiet… and best of all; they know that this type of game is no place for The Wave.

Sidenote: (I have always HATED The Wave. For years, I have called The Wave, the first sign of a completely uninterested crowd. The wave is made for a crowd that has no clue what is taking place on the field. They are only interested in making a spectacle of themselves. Any time the wave starts, a regular fan knows that either there are thousands of kids in the building, or too many people do not know what the score is.)

So when the Twins got down early tonight, the fans didn’t sit back down in their blue flappy chairs or forget where their wallet was, they kept tipping back the Buds knowing that all 54,008 “in the building” could have an impact on the game.

…And they did.

You could still sense it in the 12th. The fans were as tired as the team (or as a beer vendor after 25 miles of stairs in 5 nights). We had been taken on an emotional roller coaster ride and desperately wanted to survive to play another night. All that yelling and screaming (and drinking) could not be wasted on a loss. So nobody left, and everyone kept cheering even though many had very little left in the tank.

It wasn’t wasted. It was a great finish. Lots of beer vendors stayed until the end. I stayed even though I knew that my parking meter had expired 30 minutes ago. It really didn’t matter.

Everyone wanted to see what could be the final pitch for the Minnesota Twins. Fortunately it wasn’t tonight.

The baseball field at the HHH Metrodome just isn’t ready for retirement… yet.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Final Game???

Tomorrow is it; The final Twins game at the Dome. …or is it???

The curtain with former players on it in right field has been removed. The Vikings have already renamed the Metrodome “Mall of America Field” starting on October 5th. What happens if there is baseball in the Dome on Tuesday… or later? Do the Twins now play at MOA field at HHH Metrodome?

Will Sunday be the final game, or do the Twins play on Tuesday. Or do we just host the Yankees in Game 3 of the ALDS next Sunday?

This is the life of a beer vendor in the playoffs. Game times change on short notice. If you want to work, you have to stay on top of the baseball schedule.

Lots of time in a pennant race or in the playoffs, we aren’t even told what time to report to work. All management can tell us… “Umm, check the paper and show up 45 minutes before game time.” Network TV and MLB decide when each game will be played.

But that’s alright… we’ll rearrange our regular schedules to sell beer. Don’t worry; we will be there just like the fans!

We are beer vendors. If there are beers to sell and a game to sell them at, fans can count on us.

After all, we want to make sure everyone has a good time… oh yeah, and there’s money to be made.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Last Call!

Tomorrow starts the final homestand of the Twins at the Metrodome. 3 more games left selling beer to some of the best fans in baseball.

It is really hard to believe this is it… Seems like just yesterday the countdown was 162… now it is 3.

The Metrodome is hated by many people around baseball. Local media, national media, Mike Ditka, Ozzie Guillen, rookie outfielders… hell, there are many days that I hate the place.

Through all the criticism, the Dome has been my second home for over 20 years. There are many great memories that I have shared. …But left out of all of that are the great friends, players, fans and colleagues that I spent over 1200 games with since 1989.

Where does one begin… where do I finish… who gets left out? Forgive me if I forgot anything. It was 20+ years and I never wrote anything down until 2 months ago. Please tag your own favorite Dome memory.

These are my final Random Memories… It is THE collection of the things I remember most after 20 years. Not so much“thank you’s”, but things that I feel I must mention before it ends. Most of these will mean nothing to everyone reading this. This is my “Closure”.

I will never have another opportunity like the last 20 years… whatever opportunity it was.

Kirby Puckett always looked up and said “Hey Man, how ya doin’”
Rick Aguilara after a “Save Wave” in ’91 or ’92 – “Hey guys, thanks.”
Cal Ripken Jr. signed a baseball for me on the second try.
Dick Bremer bought/took a beer when he and Bert broadcast the game from left field.
Tony Oliva sang Happy Birthday to my Mom in 2008
Jodi Mientkiewic & Dark Star drank Bud Light
Tom and his wife are Nick Punto fans in section 117
Sue will drink whatever light beer I am selling in section 116
Jennifer needs a lemon in section 133
Jeff Lenihan made “don’t settle for that sugary stuff” famous in the press box when I sold Diet Coke
The woman in section 130 always bought a Diet Coke from me in the early ’90’s
3000th hits by Cal Ripken Jr., Dave Winfield, and Eddie Murray… all games I worked.
500th HR’s by Frank Thomas (Sydney was at that game with YMCA too)
Leading the Metrodome for 7th Inning Stretch in 1990.
The Bud group on occasion in section 232
The customer that asked, “How much for the entire case?”… Then he bought it. $138 please.
Section 129, Row 4: 4 Michelob Golden Lights
Susie, Grace, Bobbi, Wilbur, Mike, Jim, Linda, Rod, Steve – my earliest friends at the Dome
Early Coke vendors: Gerald, James, Jack, Dave, Roger, Paul
The other Dan Smith
Wooden Nickels & Straws
The Bud Fresh Day and the LUCKY draw
Almost getting arrested in section 212 after Game 7 ended.
Dave at the guard desk
The 95-degree game in 2004. Someone forgot to turn on the air.
Andy, Mike, Tony, Tim, TK, Big Ed, Wegs, Z, Tom, Tim, Mike, Scott, Igor, Tom, Jake, Dave, Doug, Papa Chad, Justin, Al, Lyle, Troy, Trixter, Wally, Jerry, Ross, Ron, Craig, Gary, Jon, Dan, Beck, Lisa
Dan Schaal’s stories
Bosses: Jay, Mike, Molly, Mark, Roy, Paul, Ken
Leah born during All Star Break 2005
Big John, Amy
Dog Pound
Forklift races
“You do the Math!”
1st game after 9/11/01
Dome vendor picnics
Baldwin Parking lot
Brut, by Faberge
The Porch
Gate C picnic area

Vendors that will be missed on Sunday
Tim Wallman, Tom Plantenburg, Ray “Your Vendor”

There are so many stories, and so much more to the list above… If you want to hear the story, buy me a beer at Maxwell’s, and just ask. I will always enjoy sharing Metrodome beer vendor memories.

Hope to see everyone this weekend. If you are going to be “in the building”, let me know. Who knows where I will be working or what I might be selling, but I will try to find everyone I can.

I am anxious to find out who buys my final beer in the Metrodome for Twins games.
LAST CALL for alcohol at the Metrodome.