A whole new ballgame: St. Paul Saints play first game at CHS Field since pandemic started

The St. Paul Saints play in front of a limited, distanced crowd as the pandemic continues.

The St. Paul Saints are back in action in downtown St. Paul for the first time this season, and even though there were some changes because of the coronavirus, fans couldn't be happier.

On and off since 1884, the St. Paul Saints have called the capital city home. Now, after playing most of the summer on the road, the comeback kids are hosting a homestand like no other in their history.

“Being at the stadium feels familiar because we've come [here] so much, but looking around, it doesn't feel normal," Connor Tripp, a fan, said.

Tuesday night, the team played in front of a hometown crowd at CHS Field for the first time since the coronavirus arrived in Minnesota back in March. To cover their bases, seating is limited to 1,500 fans socially distanced in six areas of 250 people a piece. Each area has its own entrance, concession stands and bathrooms, and fans are required to wear masks unless they are in their seats.

“We've been taking the approach of practicing safe fun, and we have the opportunity now to prove that you can play it safe, but still have fun while doing so," General Manager Derek Sharrer said.

For the players, it’s a chance to go hog wild on their home field for the first time since winning the American Association Championship last year.

“1,500 will feel like 8,000 compared to what we've been playing in front of, so we're excited," St. Paul Saints Third Baseman Chensy Young said. 

Meanwhile, for fans, a night at the ballpark in the middle of a pandemic is a whole new ballgame.

“This is all a little different than normal, but overall we’re excited to see the Saints play again," Connor Tripp said.

The Saints say they sold more than 1,400 tickets for the game.