Friday, August 30, 2013

St. Paul, Minnesota: Midway Stadium

I could start by describing the experience of going to see the St. Paul Saints at Midway Stadium, but it's better to start with the picture.

Yes, that's a pig in costume, on the field, in a professional game between innings. The umpire seems to be thinking, yup, business as usual in St. Paul.

The Saints are an independent league team, and play a good caliber of baseball. They also have a sense of humor that's unmatched in the game. This is not surprising since Bill Murray owns a share of the franchise. He is listed in the club directory as team psychologist. And Mike Veeck, of THAT Veeck baseball family, is a special advisor to the chairman.

It's an old ballpark, located halfway between Minneapolis and St. Paul, I would guess by the name. The first thing that strikes the visitor is that there are a lot of different beer brands on sale. I've seen good-sized bars with fewer choices. It's still ballpark-priced, but I don't think many go away thirsty. The concessions have some other unusual items by baseball standards.

Let's see - there are comic characters walking around the place, interacting with customers. And every half-inning has some sort of contest for fans on the field. I think the tire rolling contest was the most exciting. The pig comes out every other half-inning in costume. Naturally.

Oh, and the souvenir stand sells shirts with the word "TRAIN!" on them. There are train tracks just outside the left-field wall. When a train goes on them, and I saw about one an inning this night, the p.a. announcer and fans yell "TRAIN!" Sometimes the engineer waves. Great stuff. A little sorry I didn't buy a shirt.

I heard that a new ballpark is coming to St. Paul next year. I'll bet a lot of people, and one pig, will miss the old place.

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