Pandemonium Looms in Minneapolis

The Minnesota Vikings will not be in the playoffs this year, but the team has nonetheless become interesting, possibly more interesting than if they were still in the running.


For one thing, Ziggy fired the coach and one of the under-coaches has taken over, and it is interesting to see how he handles his new job. Very well, it would seem. Also, Brett Favre closed out his “Ironman” streak of never missing a game in … several decades? Whatever, a very long time, owing to an actual life threatening injury. The injury will be managed, but both surgery and getting beat up on the field could loosen an aneurysm that would kill even him. Anyway, because he has played less, our other quarterback, Tavaris Jackson, has gotten to play, and he’s quite good except when he makes the devastating rookie mistake now and then. Then, Tavaris got injured, so we got to find out that we have a THIRD quarterback. Bet you didn’t know that!

Then, the Metrodome roof collapsed, in Fine Minneapolis Tradition of collapsing stuff (remember our bridge?). That was spectacular.

But the really interesting event is yet to happen. This will be Monday Night when the Vikings play some NFL team or another (who keeps track of these details?) in the TCF Bank Stadium. Why will this be interesting you ask? I’ll tell you.

The TCF Bank stadium, named after a Minnesota Gophers football player of a bygone era who was also a war hero and eventually president of the school, is the UMN stadium just built last year. It is in “Southeast Minneapolis” across the river form the Metrodome, which is downtown. Actually, TCF Bank stadium is in a neighborhood called, enigmatically, “Stadium Village.” I assume that’s named after some University persona of the old days as well, or perhaps a local developer.

Anyway, TCF stadium is an open air structure. So, several hundred people were tricked into removing the 17 inches of snow that fell into the stadium during the same storm that crushed the metrodome. That was difficult, as the stadium was not really designed to be used in the winter. I mean, really, why would you build a giant expensive stadium in Minnesota, on a University campus that is mainly closed for the summer, and plan to use it during the Winter?

Then, a couple of more inches of snow fell, so that got removed too.

The TCF Bank Stadium holds about 40,000 people. The Metrodome, before it’s (temporary) demise, holds about 60,000 people. And, those seats were all sold for Monday’s game.

Now, I am guessing that something like this has never happened before ’round these parts, because the people in charge of these things have come up with the most idiotic possible solution. They are going to seat people who show up at the game with Vikings tickets … wait for it … on a first come first serve basis.

So, at some point, tomorrow night, there are going to be 20,000 vikings fans outside the stadium who will not be allowed in because they arrived late because they got stuck in rush hour traffic on the way there and could not find a parking place (because the TCF Bank Stadium was built on the old parking lot!!!).

And/or

There will be about 60,000 vikings fans with tickets standing around outside the stadium for several hours, arrived early to make sure they could get a seat, who will be allowed to rush the doors when they open at an as yet unspecified time.

There may be pandemonium.

But wait, there’s more.

Because it is a University of Minnesota sports facility, and the University of Minnesota has dropped all pretense of in loco parentus, it is dry. And by “dry” I’m not talking about arid. I’m talking about no booze sold or allowed on the premises.

There are about 25 restaurants and bars that sell booze within close proximity of the stadium, in Stadium Village and Dinkytown (named thus by Bob Dylan, it is said). Many of these establishments have applied for and received “expansion permits” which allows them to construct, and sell booze in, temporary outdoor structures such as circus tents. In the parking lots. Where now there will be no room for the cars of those of the 60,000 people coming to get to the game.

(Yes, yes, there is a light rail leading right to the stadium from the surrounding areas …. which will be built some time over the next five years or so. Doh.)

By the way, I should mention that the city has not finished digging out from the last big storm, so there is still parking on only one side off the street. Under these conditions, after work hours, many of the ramps (that’s what we Minnesotans call a “parking lot”) are used by locals to get their cars off the roads. The roofs of the ramps have reduced spaces because they are piled with snow, and the open air parking lots are also reduced in size because of the snow. So, no, we really can’t handle this influx of Vikings fans on this side of town at all. Not at all. It will be pandemonium.

So, 60,000 Vikings fans milling around Stadium village on a pub crawl, getting drunker and drunker, with groups of five to ten individuals trading off on keeping a place in line wile the others drink … oh man, I can see it now. Pandemonium. Lots of it.

But wait, there’s more.

As I mentioned, TCF Bank Stadium was not built for winter use. It has natural turf. This is Minnesota and the ambient temperature has hovered between about -10 and +14 F over the last week or so. Do the math. The surface of the stadium is frozen solid.

Chris Kluwe is our punter. Excellent punter. Someday they will name a stadium after him. CK Bank Stadium. Anyway, Kluwe tweets, and when he was inspecting the stadium earlier today, he tweeted thusly (remember to read from the bottom to the top for full effect):

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Huh. The people organizing this day of pandemonium claim that everything will be fine, but I’m not sure how that’s going to work. As Kluwe points out, if tomorrow’s blizzard (yes, we are expecting a blizzard to be raging during this whole time with the 60,000 angry drunk Vikings fans with no place to park) drops enough snow, that may soften the field up a bit.

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Comments

  1. #1 Benton Jackson
    December 19, 2010

    To add to the pandemonium- it’s forecast to snow tomorrow, 2-4 inches.

  2. #2 daedalus2u
    December 19, 2010

    What they should do is pour alcohol on the field to act as antifreeze. Doing a few calculations, 20% alcohol by weight has a freezing point of ~ -11C or ~ 12F.

    The soil has ~20% moisture in it, so to antifreeze the top foot of soil would take about (0.2)*(0.25)*60lb/ft3 * 400ft *100ft = 120,000 pounds or about 20,000 gallons.

    You could use fuel grade ethanol which should be readily available. At gasoline-type prices that is less than $100k.

    The temperature is cold enough that the vapor pressure would be so low it would not present a health or combustion hazard.

    They should do it right away because the alcohol will melt the ice in the soil which will lower the temperature.

    They should probably dilute it first. spread it on the field and let it soak in, then cover the field to try and warm it up.

    By spring bacteria in the soil will metabolize it.

    You could use acetone too.

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    December 19, 2010

    No alcohol allowed in the stadium!!!

  4. #4 baf
    December 19, 2010

    But wait, there’s even more. The U is still in session. Monday is the 4th day of final exam week and there will be thousands of U of M students taking their exams tomorrow, including many in the evening starting at 6:30 (one hour before kickoff). Lots of these students commute to campus.

  5. #5 dean
    December 19, 2010

    This should cut down on ticket scalping for the game.

  6. #6 chezjake
    December 19, 2010

    Any team who hires a (functional or not) QB who doesn’t even know how to pronounce his own name (since when is “Favre” pronounced “Farv”?) deserves whatever else ensues.

  7. #7 TylerD
    December 20, 2010

    It actually should be pretty interesting to see the Vikes play the Bears on frozen tundra.

  8. #8 TylerD
    December 20, 2010

    “The injury will be managed, but both surgery and getting beat up on the field could loosen an aneurysm that would kill even him.

    Favre makes sure everyone knows about every ache and pain he experiences, why he has such a reputation for being tough is beyond me. He’s a prima donna of the first order. When he took that hit from Ron Brace during the Pats game, he got a little cut on his chin. He hammed it up so badly that people thought he broke his jaw.

  9. #9 DB
    December 20, 2010

    Two corrections to your misinformation about local lore:

    Dinkytown” — the cluster of businesses along or near 4th St SE immediately north of the UofM campus — was “Dinkytown” well before WW2, when my parents attended the U. Bob Dylan, born in 1941, lived and performed in the neighborhood while a student at the U ~1960, but certainly did not name the district.

    “Stadium Village” — the commercial strip along Washington Ave, SE of the campus — was named for Memorial Stadium, built in 1924. The new stadium, for which TCF Bank purchased the naming rights, was built on the same site.

    Before TLAs were cool, TCF was known as Twin City Federal Savings & Loan, and before that, Twin City Building and Loan Association. As a schoolboy in the 1960s I was infested with their earworm jingle, “tuck-a-buck-a-day-away”, while listening to Twins broadcasts on WCCO. For at least three decades that bank has perverted the educational mission of the University with trainloads of corporate dollars for the Athletics Dept.

  10. #10 symball
    December 20, 2010

    here in the uk the football (the one where you use your feet) season has been disrupted where up to 4″ of snow has fallen- the pitches are still completely playable as they all have undersoil heating- it is just that with some snow on the ground they cannot guarantee the safety of the supporters. it just goes to highlight the difference between the two cultures!

  11. #11 J-Dog
    December 20, 2010

    Someone from MN – hint, hint! – should go to the MN Supreme Court, witch has former Viqueen & Chicago Bear lineman Allen Page on it, and get an injunction to STOP THIS MADNESS! As Kluwe pointed out this is a major safety issue, and the game should not be played. The NFL approved it to keep owner Ziggy Wolfe happy with money coming in to his pockets.

  12. #12 Greg Laden
    December 20, 2010

    DB, right on cue! The Dylan story always enrages people, and I’d love to know why.

    Local lore (“it is said”) has it that Dylan named Dinkytown. That is not incorrect. The lore may be wrong (probably is). Your correction of the lore is appreciated, and expected, but please target your corrections more accurately in the future.

    By the way, I’ve heard the lore that Dinkytown was named Dinkytown before Dylan was around, but I’ve yet to see proof. Do you have any? That would be great. Something in writing, a sign, a letter, a song, anything. When and from where did you first hear that it is wrong?

    And, why dinkytown?

    And another thing: Dinkytown is like Uptown, or for you Easterners, Cape Cod. The boundaries are expanded by those who would but don’t live in them. Updown does not touch Franklin. People fight over Bourne: Those who live there say they live on the Cape, but they don’t. Does Dinkytown go to Como or not?

    Also, Dylan lore gets extra points for being Dylan Lore. I mean, after all, who are your parents? Bob Dylan? I don’t think so.

    You do get that my references to TCF Bank as a former Gopher, war hero and U president, and my reference to “Stadium” in a similar manner are jokes, right?

    Thanks for the background on TCF. I came here after the name was changed, and I had assumed it was “Twin Cities” something or another.

    I dropped them as a bank the last time they gave access to my ATM account to some random individuals (fortunately, that person only made deposits, but whatever….).

    What I left out of my amusing post was a rant about naming rights. I mean, really. I RESENT TCF for doing this, and Target for doing that, and all of it. If you are a big corporation you can have a whole wall of advert in the lobby if you want, but for goodness sake, name the damn thing after a worthy person or thing.

    Like Bob Dylan Stadium! Or even The Dinky Dome! (Oh wait, that’s taken.)

  13. #13 Chris
    December 20, 2010

    Old Tyler C.F. Bank will be rolling in his grave!

  14. #14 SMT
    December 20, 2010

    Don’t worry- they’ve done the math and enough ticket holders have asked for a refund that they are certain it will only be 40000 angry drunks roaming campus preventing academic success and the delivery of organ transplants.

  15. #15 denature
    December 20, 2010

    Never heard any lore re: Dylan naming Dinkytown. Must be trolling that occurred after my time there. Is there a reference anywhere to said lore indicating its existence?

    I do recall the story that he used to play where the Burger King is now at. And I believe the Dinkytown Business Association was created in the ’40’s, if one desired documentation.

    Positively 4th St. was not written about a music store in the area.

  16. #16 DB
    December 20, 2010

    @Greg #12:

    Yeah, I wrote #9 in pedant mode. Sorry.

    I had never heard the Dylan/Dinkytown story, and I responded in surprise, not anger. My undergraduate days at the U more or less coincided with Bob Dylan’s rising stardom. Though I have no documentary proof of Dinkytown’s etymology, I can offer two bits of anecdotal evidence. My parents — both of whom attended the U during WW2 — testify that “Dinkytown” was in common currency in the 1940s. And this past summer, I sorted through boxes of my Dad’s college paraphernalia (notebooks, snapshots, etc). I am sure I saw references to Dinkytown in old copies of the campus newspaper (the Minnesota Daily). Alas, I threw them out, so I can’t scan them for proof. Still, I betcha $200 that “Dinkytown” appears with high frequency on microfilms of the Daily dating back to 1945. (And probably decades earlier).

    I share your abhorrence to the sale of naming rights to the campus stadium, though the practice is of a piece with how other campus buildings are named for wealthy donors. I save my rage for the malevolent effects of Big Athletics on the academy. The football & basketball programs are nothing but farm teams for professional sports, and have nothing to do with higher education or scholasticism. Better to evict them from American campuses.

  17. #17 Greg Laden
    December 20, 2010

    The worst part is that they are not even showing the game on TV (except for the elite owners of expensive cable services, etc.)

  18. #18 Greg Laden
    December 20, 2010

    Er … actually, it is being shown on local TV, I’m told.

  19. #19 Charles Sullivan
    December 21, 2010

    No pandemonium. It’s too damn cold.

    Minnesota fans are spoiled. You would have had pandemonium in Chicago, Buffalo, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, New England and anywhere north of the Mason-Dixon line where the fans don’t depend on a stadium to be as warm as it is in their hot toasty cars and homes.

    I argue that the Super Bowl itself should be held in an outdoor stadium in a cold-weather city instead of in the semi-tropics (or in domed stadiums up north). It is a autumn-winter sport after all.

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