Metrodome seats get new life in Litchfield after vandals strike
LITCHFIELD, Minn. (FOX 9) - Optimist Park is the heart and soul of town ball in Litchfield, but the home of the Blues was hit hard by vandals on Monday night.
"There was quite a bit of damage out here for one night," said head groundskeeper Zack Piepenburg.
The vandals stomped on stadium seats, kicked loose railings, tore apart a bathroom and damaged their lawn mower. In all, they caused more than $1,000 in damage.
"We put a lot of work in here. We put a lot of time and sweat, and it just upsets us that people have to ruin things that other people take pride in and work hard to keep nice," said Piepenburg, who took to Twitter to express his disgust with the destruction.
Damaged seats at Optimist Park baseball field in Litchfield.
His childhood babysitter, Anthony Holtz, who now lives about 20 minutes away in Atwater, happened to be on social media. He saw the tweet and had an idea.
"My first thought was, 'Well, we got some Metrodome seats that we haven't used, so maybe we can sell them some, and we could help each other out,'" said Holtz, who says Shane Hagstrom and Johnny Sliden picked up the seats initially in 2014.
A deal was made to purchase the replacement seats in about 15 minutes.
"To see them step up and volunteer and get us seats to replace, it's really cool...it shows you what a tight-knit community town ball is," said Piepenburg.
The stands from the Dome will now join another set that has an important place in Minnesota sports history.
"We have both sets of seats from the stadiums in the 1991 World Series," said Piepenburg, who explains some of the seats at Optimist Park are from Atlanta Fulton County Stadium.
The special seats will be installed and ready for fans in time for players to take the field next spring.