The fire marshal had the night off, as the St. Paul Saints (independent; American Association) set a single-game attendance record of 9,455 at last night’s final game at Midway Stadium.
Yes, team psychologist Bill Murray was on hand, taking bows before the game with Mike Veeck and Marv Goldklang, founders of the franchise. Yes, there were the usual between-innings hijinks, and yes, the Midway Stadium was a party zone well before the gates opened. We covered the last game at Midway Stadium yesterday, and the event certainly lived up to its billing. From the Star Tribune:
The Saints built their success — in the face of some skepticism, Veeck said, even from his own mother — with quirky, family-oriented entertainment woven in with quality baseball. Arriving at a time when the Twins were playing indoors and not too well, tailgating and outdoor baseball was a major appeal. A pig brought out baseballs to the umpire (this year, it’s Stephen Col-boar); a nun offered in-game massages; promotions were imaginative and funny. And it didn’t hurt that they won the league title that first season.
Replicating what built that unique success in the new downtown location poses a new challenge, one of which Veeck is very aware. But he is confident in the formula. Veeck, noting he risked everything on this independent baseball venture, recalls ticket lines extending to Snelling Avenue several blocks down Energy Park Drive from the stadium. Even the team, he said, was not ready for that first surge of success.
“My mom, by the third inning of that first game, was going ‘You know, this might just work,’ ” he said. “And she was right.”
The Saints finished 573-426 all-time at Midway.
This wasn’t the last event at Midway Stadium: the Replacements will be playing their first hometown gig since 1993 at a Sept. 13 concert. The concert is long sold out, but tickets are available from our aftermarket service.
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