If you attended a Twins game at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome within the last 9 years, then you are no stranger to the Hormel Row of Fame, and the masterpiece that is the “Dome Dog.” You know how the song goes:
“... Great for lunch, great for dinner, you will be a wiener winner in the Hormel Row of Fame!”
As great as that tune was, and as great as it was to see the sheer happiness on the faces of every individual Twins fan who was lucky enough to be in that particular row on any given night, sadly this tradition will no longer continue.
As a recent college graduate, Wednesday nights from April through September were absolutely wonderful. It was a well known fact that you could hop in your car, drive down to the Metrodome, and park (depending on how adept you were at finding a cheap lot), get a ticket to a Twins game, and eat two hot dogs for a total of $11. If you were lucky enough to arrange a carpool with 3 of your friends, you could lower that nightly price to $8. You would be hard pressed to find a bargain like that for parking, attendance and food at another professional sporting event (unless you count the fact that the Timberwolves are practically paying people to attend games at the Target Center these days...). Even the Minnesota Swarm charge $10 for a student ticket!
It was announced earlier this week, that Hormel and the Minnesota Twins would be cutting ties as the Twins prepare to enter their first season at Target Field. This will end a 9 year run, during which Hormel “Dome Dogs” and the Row of Fame were absolute staples at Twins games. Julie Craven, Hormel's vice president of corporate communications, cited the change in cost for sponsorships at the new stadium and Hormel’s change in marketing focus in 2010 in a written response as the reason behind the split. Hormel did however wish the Twins the best of luck during the inaugural season at the new stadium. That is like breaking up with your girlfriend of 9 years because she just became too expensive to date, and then writing her a letter wishing her the best of luck in the dating world. Obviously I am over exaggerating just a bit, but I don’t think Hormel realizes how upset some Twins fans were to hear that Dome Dogs will not be moving to Target Field with the Twins. One search of “Dome Dogs” on Twitter the day of the announcement, I was immediately bombarded with a variety of posts from both angry and saddened former “Dome Dog” fans.
I was lucky enough to have been in the Row of Fame at least once in my lifetime as a Twins fan, the best part of it was that my extended family had bought the entire row of seats and we were all there together to share in this spectacular moment. As those wonderful beef (not positive about that) hot dogs were being passed down the line, you can’t help but smile as the catchy jingle rang over the speakers above, and you just knew that everybody was singing along, whether out loud or in their heads. No longer will people feel that exact joy that I have once felt, instead this tradition will have to be replaced by another. I can’t imagine another hot dog taking the place of the famous wiener, I mean, can anybody really get excited about the “Hebrew National Happy Fan” or “Nathan’s Section of the Game”...
Obviously hot dogs will be sold at Target Field, and I am sure they will taste great, maybe even better than their predecessor. Who knows, they may even have “dollar dog nights” every once in a while, to satisfy the needs of penny-pinching college students. But the fact remains, Dome Dogs and the Hormel Row of Fame were traditions for the last 9 years at the Metrodome, and you can’t just replace a tradition. It truly is the end of an era.