I’ve written about the American Association's St. Paul Saints before, and for good reason, because they’re a fun-loving bunch and attending their games is a blast. They have good beer, good vibes and good times over at Midway Stadium, and this coming year is supposedly their last at Midway before they move to a modern ballpark in the Lowertown area of downtown St. Paul. For at least one more year, the Saints are bringing their off-again, on-again winter baseball game to Midway on Saturday, February 1, this time as part of St. Paul’s Winter Carnival. Gates to the stadium open at noon and the five-inning game begins at 1pm. Tailgating is an option beginning at 11am, but it remains to be seen if the weather will allow much comfort. By “comfort,” I mean not having to amputate your limbs before the game starts.
Joining forces with Leinenkugel’s of Chippewa Falls and ironically featuring their “Summer Shandy” beer, the event will not be a purist’s vision of baseball, of course, but will rather include shoveled-out baselines, obstacles placed in the snow-covered field and other hijinks. Saints alum, former major leaguer and current “Intentional Talk” co-host Kevin Millar will reportedly attend, though it’s unclear to me if he’ll play in the game. Other participants will be former Saints players and regular folks who sign up for the honor/experience.
I’ve attended a couple of these winter games and they are quite enjoyable, provided you can mostly ignore the cold. It’s key to bundle up with multiple layers of socks and gloves and everything else, much like you’re going to a Packers game at Lambeau Field. Most of what ensues is just to laugh your ass off at the absurdity of it all, while getting together with others who are salivating for baseball’s return. It’s all in good fun, and if you’re lucky, the cold won’t turn you into a solid block of ice or freeze your beer. If you’re in western Wisconsin or the Twin Cities area, consider coming out to the game; admission is free of charge. Kudos to the folks who always seem to be at Midway when I’m there, flying their Miller High Life and Brewers flags in the parking lot. That’s a sight for sore eyes, especially in February.
(Rendering of new Saints ballpark...........Image: twincities.com, courtesy of City of St. Paul)