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Dubois: A sense of wonder about the Eighth Wonder of the World

Last Modified: Monday, May 27, 2013 9:42 PM

By Carl Dubois / Special to the American Press

Jeré Longman grew up in Eunice and went to LSU. He's been a writer for The New York Times for a long time.

We met years ago when I covered LSU for The Advocate in Baton Rouge. He lives in the Philadelphia area now. I live in the Pacific Northwest. We live decidedly different lives, but from time to time I'm reminded of the similar sounds of the echos from our pasts.

His story Sunday about the Astrodome was another such reminder.

This part struck such a chord, it could have been me writing it instead of him:

On an August weekend in 1966, we saw Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale pitch for the Dodgers against the Astros. We marveled at the animated scoreboard that celebrated home runs with a snorting bull and a pistol-firing cowboy. We screamed along with the bugling rally cry of “Charge!” We brought home a pennant, a souvenir batting helmet, pens in the shape of baseball bats.

That could have come straight from the journal of my memory. I can even remember asking my parents about Drysdale after hearing the PA announcer say his name, and how the only association I could make was Mr. Drysdale from "The Beverly Hillbillies." Not the same guy, I was assured.

The Astrodome is in bad shape, and not even Mr. Drysdale's bank could guarantee an extension on its life. The 2017 Super Bowl at nearby Reliant Stadium puts a hard deadline on the Astrodome's fate. What will happen?

I remember seeing several TV reports years ago about the state of disrepair of the place once known as the Eighth Wonder of the World. Here is some video I found today:

You can find plenty of "Save the Astrodome" stories and videos with little effort.

There was something else in The New York Times story I could relate to: Game 6 of the NLCS, the 16-inning game between the Houston Astros and the New York Mets. I covered that game for the American Press. The sound after Billy Hatcher's home run off the left-field foul pole remains the loudest crowd noise I've ever heard, and that includes games at LSU's Tiger Stadium, everywhere else in the SEC, and in the Superdome.

There are several proposals out there. This report discusses demolition and turning the land there into a parking lot:

Some say demolition could jeopardize Reliant Stadium. Some just want to keep the Astrodome standing in some form or another.

What do you think? Got any special memories of the place?

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