Listen: David Broder - dome is undermining society

MPR’s Gary Eichten interviews David Broder, journalist for The Washington Post. Broder laments the existence of Minnesota’s sports dome, and its detrimental effect on baseball.


1987 Minnesota AP Award, honorable mention in Sports category


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DAVID BRODER: It's a symbol of everything that's gone wrong in America in the last generation.

GARY EICHTEN: The dome is that bad?

DAVID BRODER: The dome is that bad per se. And it's also symbolic of the decline of standards. I mean, if you can't play baseball in a prep or baseball field and in a proper stadium to watch baseball, why bother?

GARY EICHTEN: Well, what about a place like Minnesota, though? Without a dome, without the artificial surface that goes with a dome, we probably wouldn't have been able to keep our franchise. Should we lose our franchise? I noticed, for example, you suggest in your column that really, they ought to move the World Series out of Minnesota. Not really fair to fans here, is it?

DAVID BRODER: Well, when you talk about moving franchises-- as I recall the Minnesota team may have been someplace before it came to Minnesota. Is that-- is my memory playing tricks on me?

GARY EICHTEN: Absolutely not. It was moved from Washington, as you well know, Mr. Broder.

DAVID BRODER: Washington. Oh, that's where it was in Washington, D.C. That's right. What did they call them then? I'm so young, I can't remember that very clearly.


GARY EICHTEN: Well, no, I mean should we lose our franchise, you think?

DAVID BRODER: No, I think you should return your franchise would be a good policy to start out with. And then, you might find yourself a way to build a real baseball stadium in Minnesota. And I'm sure that in due course, your virtue-- civic virtue would be rewarded.

GARY EICHTEN: And the Republic would be saved?

DAVID BRODER: Well, Washington, D.C. would be a far better place, obviously, if we had baseballs. The deficit has risen probably 25 times since the Washington Senators went to wherever it was that they were taken. This has been a catastrophe all around for this country.

GARY EICHTEN: So do I detect a hidden agenda here, Mr. Broder?

DAVID BRODER: A hidden agenda? No. I don't think it's hidden at all. We just want baseball back on grass in Washington D.C. And from that point on, anything that happens in the Metrodome would be fine. You can play soccer or tiddlywinks or whatever you'd like there, or even professional football, since pro football doesn't seem to suffer so much.

GARY EICHTEN: Some people would suggest that this is pretty elitist, you know. And that if you look back, for example-- by golly, they even criticized when radio started covering the World Series and TV came in, and when they built stadiums like Busch Stadium, all cookie cutter type stadiums.

Each time, the game has changed a little bit. There's been a hue and a cry from the traditionalists. Should we dismiss you as just another huer and crier?

DAVID BRODER: [LAUGHTER] I think that-- I think that'd be fine. I'm certainly a traditionalist. The tendency to meddle with the game, to move it to stadiums that are designed for other purposes, to switch it from day time to night time-- all of this has probably hurt the game.

GARY EICHTEN: Well, given the fact that that is what's happened to baseball, should we scrap baseball, do you think? Would baseball be better just dropped as a sport? Or are we going to learn to live with the changes as they occur?

DAVID BRODER: Well, clearly we're going to learn to live with the changes as they occur. But when you see it being played under the conditions that we saw the first two games of this World Series, if you have even a modicum of taste, let alone respect for tradition, you have to raise your voice in protest. Because there are young people who will probably grow up thinking that's how baseball is supposed to look. And I would hate to have a whole generation of Americans think that that's what baseball is.

GARY EICHTEN: But, Mr. Broder, I mean, we're not all boors out here. You say a modicum of taste-- goodness gracious, we like our baseball too. And you're suggesting that--

DAVID BRODER: I think that it's wonderful that you like baseball. And I like baseball. And as a fellow Midwesterner, I like Minnesota and baseball and so on. But what you're playing in the Metrodome is not baseball. And while you may-- would like to think that it is, it ain't.

GARY EICHTEN: If the Twins win, especially if they win in Saint Louis, are you going to eat your words?

DAVID BRODER: I've been eating my words for so long and so many subjects that I would starve to death if I didn't have words to eat. And I figured when I wrote that column, that that would probably provide diet for at least enough to get me through the month of October.


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