MINNEAPOLIS - The St. Paul Saints became the newest Class AAA affiliate of the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday, and both clubs couldn’t be more excited about it.
The Twins announced they’ve extended four invites for minor league clubs to join them as an affiliate at various levels, including the Saints at the highest level. The Twins got a taste of what that will feel like this year, having their top minor league prospects at CHS Field while the big leaguers did their thing across the Mississippi River at Target Field.
The news had been rumored for months, and two big questions emerged from it: Will the fan experience change, and will ticket prices go up? Executive Vice President and General Manager Derek Sharrer had answers for both that should please fans.
“Short answer, no. Who we are is affordable. Who we are is fun and that’s going to stay the same,” Sharrer said.
That was just part of the allure of going to CHS Field: Having a little fun watching baseball while not burning a hole in your wallet.
Saints’ President and Co-Owner Mike Veeck said he felt better about the partnership between the two teams as they talked more. He said an early conversation he had with Jim Pohlad left him sold.
The Saints are known to push the envelope when it comes to fan entertainment. They have whoopee cushion night, and have been known to have nuns give massages.
“He said ‘I just want to you do to what you do.’ That was delightful to hear. There are things that can be edgy and not cross any line, but create new lines. I think it’s terribly important right now for the game’s overall health,” Veeck said.
The St. Paul Saints aren’t going to change their identity by joining the Twins. If anything, some of those concepts might come to Target Field.
“Jim Pohlad challenged us from the first conversation we had. The Saints need to be the Saints. We believe fun is good, and we believe that that brand can work and will work in AAA baseball. We have no doubt,” Twins President Dave St. Peter said. “Mike (Veeck) asked for forgiveness, not permission.”
The Saints have always toed the line with their humor, and provided an affordable experience for fans. The Twins are thinking outside the box, and not touching their approach. It’s worked, so there’s no need to fix it.
“The Saints have always been considered a part of the anti-establishment historically. If there’s a concern that we are becoming a part of the establishment, I’d like to look at it as let’s give the Twins credit for stepping closer to the anti-establishment,” Sharrer said. “We’re just very excited about the opportunity and comfortable with the fact that the Saints experience is going to continue to be the Saints experience.”