IF YOU followed this year's World Series, you might have concluded by the time it was over that the victorious Minnesota Twins' key position was that of Designated Architect, followed closely by Left and Right Loudspeaker and First Organist. Unlike any series before it, this one was dominated by a structure -- the Metrodome in Minneapolis -- which was portrayed as a chamber of horrors for visiting teams and an unfair advantage for the Twins.
And both of these things it surely is. The noise created by the crowd, the organist and the recorded rock music is enough to make your teeth ache, even over TV. Every time a batter hits a high fly ball, you wonder whether it will be sucked into an exhaust vent or disappear through some other aperture. Fielders lose sight of the ball against the pale dome, or maneuver under it frantically as it bounces off various protuberances far above the field. In the hysterical atmosphere of the place, every minor rally by the Twins threatens to turn into an avalanche of runs as the visiting team is unnerved by the racket.
Yes, the place was unfair to the St. Louis Cardinals and it's probably unfair to baseball, and the commissioner should do something about it. But meanwhile let it be said in defense of the winners that no dome could have accounted for all those base hits or for Frank Viola's fastball. And more important, even if it could, when you are a franchise with the history of the Minnesota-Twins-formerly-Washington-Senators you don't spend a lot of time worrying about the fairness of it all.
The last time this team won the Series was 63 years ago (when Washington was a baseball metropolis and the Twin Cities were just a couple of sleepy northern towns) and it was done this way: in the bottom of the 12th inning of the seventh game against the New York Giants, a dropped foul pop (followed by a double) and an error by the shortstop put Senators at first and second and Earl McNeeley at bat. Then (as told by Shirley Povich in his book on the Washington Senators), "A sharp grounder went toward Freddie Lindstrom at third base, and Lindstrom poised for a routine play on the ball, and then came a funny bounce! A high, hopping bounce went over Lindstrom's head into left field for a freak single. The ball hit a pebble perhaps," and the winning run scored.
Pebble, domed stadium, whatever; these guys will take a World Series any way they can get it.