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Fans relishing extended stay at Dome

Fans relishing extended stay at Dome

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins fan Phil Eastgate made the 450-mile drive from Beulah, N.D., to Minneapolis last weekend, expecting to see the last game at the Metrodome.

Last Sunday's regular-season finale, however, wasn't the final game played under the Teflon roof. Nor was Tuesday's tiebreaker against Detroit, in which the Twins beat the Tigers, 6-5, in 12 innings to advance to the playoffs.

Now, Minnesota faces New York on Sunday in Game 3 of the American League Division Series, meaning at least one more game will be played in the Dome. Naturally, Eastgate had to again make the trek.

"We thought, 'OK, that's it. We got to see the last game in the Dome,'" Eastgate said. "Four-hundred and fifty miles later, I'm back again. It's great. I think it's a great sendoff for the Dome, too."

Eastgate wasn't the only Twins fan who came back for more. Season-ticket holders Jason and Sharyl Saver of South St. Paul, Minn., were at the Dome for Sunday's playoff game.

"Hopefully today won't be the last game either," Jason said. "I like the playoff atmosphere. It's pretty neat."

"Hopefully we can pull off a win today and bring it back tomorrow and hold on for another series," said Sharyl.

Although the Twins entered Sunday's Game 3 down, 0-2, against the Yankees, optimism abounded in the Metrodome concourse prior to the game. Bob Brancale, of Bloomington, Minn., said he isn't quite ready to say goodbye to the Dome -- and doesn't think he'll have to just yet.

"I don't want it to end," Brancale said. "I was so disappointed Friday. I thought if they could just squeak that one by, they could take [the series]. I'm still pretty optimistic. I've stood with them all these years. I'm not going to back out on them now."

Brancale hopes he'll be the good-luck charm for the Twins on Sunday. This season, Minnesota has posted a 29-7 record with Brancale at the Dome.

"With this kind of record, I should be sitting in the dugout," Brancale said.

Regardless of what happens Sunday -- or beyond -- many fans have been able to appreciate just how special the final season of baseball in the Metrodome has been.

"It's been a great year," Eastgate said. "Every radio that I own is tuned into the Twins' station throughout the summer. It's a lot of fun."

"They just kept battling back and battling back and never giving up and never losing hope," Sharyl Saver said. "Here we are in the playoffs."

As entertaining as the season has been, Jason Saver knows exactly how he'd like to see it end.

"It'd be nice to really go out with a big bang," he said, "and maybe win another World Series."

Tyler Mason is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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