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Meet your 2024 Saints ballpig: Ozempig

It’s still one of the best promos in Minor League Baseball, and this year sees Ozempig crowned as the first-half 2024 St. Paul Saints (Triple-A; International League) ballpig, beating out the likes of Sloppenheimer and Malibu Lardie.

Ozempig is the latest in the long line of Saints porcine ball carriers. Many of the names play on hot topics of the year, current events or local celebrities. Last season saw two ballpigs take the field–Mud Grant (named for former Vikings great Bud Grant; shown above) and Squealon Musk–and in 2022 the Saints had a pig that believed it could fly with Space Ham. During the pandemic year they made sure the pig went into lockdown with This Little Piggy Stayed Home. In 2019 the championship drought ender was Daenerys Hoggaryen. In 2018 the Saints struck a chord with the younger generation with Porknite. The year before that they tested the political waters with Alternative Fats. In 2016 the Saints honored one of the most iconic artists with Little Red Porkette. During the first season at CHS Field the Saints paid homage to Lowertown artists they went with Pablo Pigasso. In 2014 the Saints received the Colboar bump with Stephen Colboar.  The 2012 season saw two mascots for the first time: Kim Lardashian and Kris Hamphries. Past names have included Mackleboar (2013), Brat Favre (2010), Slumhog Millionaire (2009), Boarack Ohama (2008), Notorious P.I.G.–Piggy Smalls (2003) and Kevin Bacon (2001).

Here’s the explainer from the Saints:

One pig, however, stood out above all the rest promising to change the way pigs are viewed by the rest of the world. He promises to spend the first half of the season in the best shape possible, curb the five to seven pounds of food he eats in a day, and bring a positive light to his name as the Saints unveil their 2024 ballpig…OzemPig.

After a winter spent eating everything from vegetation, roots, fruits, eggs, fish, and even dead animals at a rapid rate, a change was in order for the Saints new four-legged swine. After a visit to his doctor, who was extremely worried about his cholesterol and heart, OzemPig vowed to change his lifestyle. That’s when he sauntered into CHS Field and went toe-to-toe with fellow ballpig challengers. The competition was stiff with seven-time livestock winner, Sloppenheimer, the British contender, Porky Blinders, the extremely popular Malibu Lardie, and the deep learning Artifisqueal Intelligence. His backstory, sheer determination, and vow to change the perception of sus domesticus was too much for the challengers to overcome and OzemPig was crowned as the obvious choice to become the first-half Saints ballpig.

Why a ballpig? There are a few versions of the origin story floating around out there, one involving team founder Mike Veeck and another involving his wife, Libby, but they all connect to one Pierre “Pig’s Eye” Parrant, one of the first white settlers in St. Paul. Known for a rather rough appearance and a proclivity for selling bootleg whiskey from a cabin located outside the caves near downtown St. Paul, he inspired the initial name for St. Paul–Pig’s Eye Landing–before a) being booted from his cabin by U.S. soldiers and b) city fathers realizing St. Paul made a much better name for the growing community than Pig’s Eye Landing. Parrant also inspired a now-defunct beer, Pig’s Eye Pilsner, sold at Midway Stadium and other area liquor stores and bars, brewed from the old Schmidt Brewery–located not far from the location of Pig’s Eye’s original cabin.

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