|Monday, October 4, 1999||
Volume 65, Issue 30
Nandagiri on Houston
Ed De La Garza
Dome sweet Dome
Astrodome -- eighth wonder of the world, Taj Mahal of the Gulf Coast, palace of the Buffalo Bayou -- we hardly knew you.
Until the Astros decided to relocate to new digs downtown, the Astrodome went largely unappreciated. In fact, most fans berated it as a cold, sterile dungeon, not a place to watch America's favorite pastime. It lacked the atmosphere of Chicago's Wrigley Field and New York's Yankee Stadium.
The Dome was not conducive for football, and yet it housed the Houston Oilers. Through thick and thin (mostly thin), it was home to the Columbia Blue. Its one bit of mystique -- the electric scoreboard that taunted opposing teams with an animated Wild West show after an Astros' home run -- was taken down to meet Oilers owner Bud Adams' demands for increased seating capacity.
It's only now that fans look back at the Dome with fondness, remembering the times they spent there, events they witnessed, legends they had the chance to see play.
The list is endless. Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan, Earl Campbell, Mark McGwire -- all of them played on our home Astroturf.
The UCLA-Houston basketball game in 1968 was played in the Dome. The greatest game in baseball -- the sixth game of the 1986 National League Championship series -- was played in the Dome. Ryan pitched his fifth no-hitter here. Mike Scott clinched the '86 West Title by no-hitting the San Diego Padres here.
Tennis' battle of the sexes, pitting Billie Jean King against Bobby Riggs, was played in the Dome. After the Oilers lost the AFC Championship game to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1979, the Dome was the site of the greatest pep rally ever held for a losing team. Muhammad Ali fought in our dungeon. Elvis Presley, and countless stars since, sang in our cold, insensitive cavern.
We remember these things now, after seeing the Astros play their last regular season game on Kirby Drive. But we want it to last just a little longer. For all the times we derided our Dome sweet Dome, we want it to be home to the 1999 World Series. Before it becomes an all-purpose convention center, we want it to be the site of the Astros' first world championship.
It's only fitting. Then we'll be ready to say goodbye.