Without a Dome, Gophers also without a home

Minnesota will have to move at minimum 21 games originally scheduled for the Metrodome to a new location.


Daily File Photo


Andrew Baker

The Vikings werenâÄôt the only Minnesota team affected by the roof collapse seen âÄôround the world last month.

The Metrodome also serves as de facto home for the Gophers baseball team âÄî itself no stranger to coping with an inadequate facility âÄî which now finds itself with nowhere to play through at least March while the MetrodomeâÄôs Teflon cover is fixed.

With the timetable uncertain for completion of repairs to the roof âÄî which caved in after a blizzard dumped 17 inches of snow on the Twin Cities last month âÄî the Gophers announced Dec. 29 that they would change the location of 21 games in February and March previously scheduled to be played at the Metrodome.

âÄúWith 32 games at the Metrodome, the well-being of the facility obviously has a big impact on our program,âÄù Minnesota head coach John Anderson said in a release. âÄúAt this point, we are working with the opposing teams that are affected to make alternate arrangements. With the recent developments in this situation, we do not have any definitive answers regarding those plans.âÄù

The team announced Monday that the Dairy Queen Classic, which accounts for six of the 21 games in question, has been officially moved to Tucson, Ariz. For that tournament, the Gophers will now âÄúhostâÄù South Alabama, Washington State and Oklahoma State on March 4, 5 and 6, respectively.

Although the University has so far officially announced only the change to the Dairy Queen Classic, ESPN 1500 reported Monday via an anonymous Gophers spokesman that âÄúthe annual alumni game and four games vs. Washington State, Hamline and North Dakota State (2) were canceled,âÄù and that the GophersâÄô three-game series with Cal Poly scheduled for March 15-27 has been moved to San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Gophers spokesman Garry Bowman said he was not aware of any cancellations.

He did confirm however, that the team has addressed the possibility of moving some home games to Target Field.

âÄúI think what we know right now on Target Field is that the scheduling works well for both the Twins and the Gophers because when weâÄôre home, theyâÄôre away, but nothing has been finalized on that yet,âÄù Bowman said.

Minnesota plays home games at the Metrodome for obvious weather-related reasons during the colder months, but also because infrastructure and fan access at the UniversityâÄôs Siebert Field is widely considered to be outdated and subpar.

This has led to a push for a new stadium on campus, embodied by the Siebert Field Legacy Campaign.

Chaired by former Gopher and National Baseball Hall-Of-Famer Paul Molitor, the group aims to raise $7.5 million to break ground on a new, state-of-the-art baseball facility at the current Siebert Field site.

The baseball teamâÄôs present homelessness will presumably only help the cause.

The group has so far raised about $4 million, and will host a banquet at TCF Bank Stadium on Feb. 4, featuring keynote speakers Molitor and Dave Winfield, to try to raise more cash.

Longtime booster Bob McNamara, an active member of the campaign, said Anderson will update the group on his plans for the season at the groupâÄôs next meeting Friday. McNamara said that if anyone can take on the dual challenge of preparing to play while also figuring out whereto play, itâÄôs Anderson and the Gophers.

âÄúHe knows what has to be done and he can do it,âÄù McNamara said, later adding, âÄúOver the years when you think about these kids only having one losing season in [46 years], the mentality has got to be tough. I mean, they are tough kids. TheyâÄôre determined and I think this year theyâÄôre just going to be even more so.âÄù