We’re hoping to bring you some additional coverage here at Twinkie Town once baseball is underway this season. The American Association of Independent Baseball has a number of teams in “Twins Territory”, including the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, Winnipeg Goldeyes, Sioux Falls Canaries, and St Paul Saints. The indy league cultivates a lot of talent and many players and umpires from the AA have been picked up by big-league teams for their farm system and made it to the majors. Jonathan kicked it off with the announcement that the league has decided to delay the start of their season due to the pandemic.
One team mentioned above is within stone’s throw of Target Field, and that is the St Paul Saints. They recently released a plan - hat tip to gintzer and roger13 for pointing this out in the comments of a recent post - to have fans attend games at CHS Field once the AA season is in full swing. In addition to workers having their temperature checked, wearing masks, and having hand sanitizer available, they have gone what seems to be a mile ahead of other teams in planning to have a safe fan atmosphere.
As for seating, every other row will be unoccupied and the first three seats at the end of each row in each section will also be empty. This allows for social distancing while going up and down the stairs. The Saints will sell tickets in two groups of four per row with a buffer of four seats between each group, allowing for six feet of social distancing.
Additionally, St Paul plans on taking further action. Cashless payments will be enacted, paper tickets will not be issued, and concourses will have lanes to guide fans in different directions. Bathrooms will be sanitized continuously, with every other urinal and sink being blocked off to maintain distancing. Suites and parties will be scaled down as well, including no buffets and an updated kids play area. The Saints will also limit the amount of individuals in their fan store.
Players will be kept separate from fans, media, and the front office as much as possible. Media and front office members will most likely not be allowed in the clubhouse. Players will not be allowed to sign autographs or toss balls into the stands.
There’s a few more points to their plan which you can read in full on their website (link). The Saints seem to be ahead of the game and, although things can change, ready to welcome fans into CHS Field.
Onto the fun side of the article... The current St Paul Saints franchise has been around since 1993 and is owned by a group that includes Bill Murray and Mike Veeck. If the Veeck name sounds familiar, Mike’s father Bill was known for his... interesting promotions while owning the St Louis Browns, Cleveland, and the Chicago White Sox. Disco Demolition Night, anyone? Of course, the Saints have also had a slew of their own interesting promotions.
This year is no different, even in a COVID world, as they plan to hold a virtual home opener called “Nopening Day” on May 19. The Saints plan to give away 500 shirts via curbside pickup in front of the park to kick off the event. Through their Facebook and Twitter feeds, fans can enjoy the 2015 Home Opener celebrations starting at 6p. 2015 was the first year of games at their new CHS Field ballpark.
Following the celebrations will be the inaugural home game played at CHS, played against the rival Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks. Those that tune in will still get the fun of between-inning entertainment that will be put on by their front office and entertainment staff. Sun Country Airlines will be sponsoring moments that will honor those on the front lines battling COVID.
After the game will be an interview with manager George Tsamis about the inaugural game. Ending the night for fans will be a five-minute fireworks show broadcast from CHS Field.