PRESS RELEASE – For 28 years the St. Paul Saints introduced the baseball world to pigs delivering baseballs to umpires, nuns giving massages to fans, and promotions poking fun at current events, politics, the baseball industry, and oftentimes themselves, all while being an Independent Professional Baseball Club. The Saints “Fun is Good” motto is about to enter center stage on a completely different level. The Saints, in a partnership with the Minnesota Twins, have received an invitation to become the top tier, Triple-A, Minor League affiliate of their Twin Cities neighbor beginning in the 2021 season.
The Saints and their Major League parent club, the Twins, are separated by just 10.6 miles, the closest distance between any Minor League affiliate and their Major League parent club. This unprecedented relationship makes it easier to call players up from St. Paul to The Show or even allow players to get in a few rehab games before heading back to The Bigs after an injury. They can make the quick jaunt west on 94 or take a smooth ride on the Metro Green Line that connects CHS Field in Saint Paul to Target Field in Minneapolis.
According to Saints Chairman Marv Goldklang, “Our ownership Group has enjoyed a special relationship with the Twins, dating back more than 25 years when we owned their High A affiliate in Ft. Myers and helped operate Spring Training for the Major League club. During my conversations with Jim Pohlad and Dave St. Peter leading up to the decision to move forward with our partnership, they emphasized their respect for what the Saints have accomplished and made clear that, with the exception of the players on the field, they don’t expect much, if anything, to change in terms of the experience of attending a Saints’ game. The opportunity to combine two iconic brands in promoting the game, both on and off the field, was something that was impossible to turn down. I look forward to a special and long-lasting relationship with one of the top organizations in all of Major League Baseball.”
Fans will have an opportunity to see some of the best baseball at two award-winning ballparks. The partnership allows the Twins and Saints to extend the footprint of Major League talent to both sides of the river. The Twins ability to cultivate players throughout their system will assure fans of seeing top-tier talent at CHS Field. From 2015-19 more than 100 players played at Rochester, the Twins Triple-A affiliate, and then were called up to the Major Leagues during the season.
“The Minnesota Twins are ecstatic about the opportunity to form this partnership with the Saint Paul Saints,” Twins President & CEO Dave St. Peter said. “We have long admired the creative excellence of Marv Goldklang, Mike Veeck and their team in making the Saints one of America’s most successful minor league brands. We are incredibly excited for Minnesota baseball fans who can now watch some of their favorite Twins prospects wearing the Saints uniform while playing at gorgeous CHS Field. Simply put, this historic Twins-Saints partnership is great for baseball in the Twin Cities and beyond.”
The Saints and Twins share the Twin Cities region and, on a larger scale, the state of Minnesota. The partnership makes it easier to work together on various philanthropic initiatives across the expansive area. Both teams are instrumental with community grassroots youth baseball programs. The Saints have excelled with their youth baseball camps, developed players through their Saints Sports Academy, and brought their show on the road to local youth leagues with the Saints Spotlight Games. The Twins have shined by getting more kids involved in the game with Play Ball! Minnesota, improved baseball and softball fields with Fields for Kids, made baseball and softball more accessible for inner city youth through the RBI Program, and provided organizations with new and safe equipment with the Junior Twins. Through this partnership these programs will now have an opportunity to grow exponentially and reach additional communities throughout the state.
As the Twins Triple-A affiliate, the Saints will play a longer season than they did as an Independent Club with games beginning in April and extending until September. A 2021 schedule will be available at a later date. The Saints will continue bringing world-class entertainment to a fan base that has packed CHS Field since it opened in 2015. During that time, the Saints are the highest drawing team in all of baseball, at 112% capacity. While the fan experience won’t change, the Twins will be responsible for the players and coaching staff.
The partnership between the organizations gives the Twins a minority stake in the franchise, but the majority ownership remains with Saints Chairman, Marv Goldklang, President, Mike Veeck, and Team Psychologist, Bill Murray.
The Saints are one of the original founding members of Independent Professional Baseball, helping start the Northern League in 1993. The Northern League and Frontier League were the first Independent Professional Baseball Leagues and the success of the Saints, and the Northern League, helped pave the way for the future of Independent Professional Baseball.
During their 27 full-seasons (not counting 2020 when the Saints played half their home games away from CHS Field), the Saints led the league in attendance 17 times, including each year since they moved into CHS Field in 2015. The Saints have been over 100% capacity in 15 seasons, including each year at CHS Field where they’ve averaged 112%. In 2019, the Saints led all of minor league baseball in percent capacity, were eighth in average attendance, only topped by seven Triple-A teams which played in larger ballparks, and 26th in overall attendance. The 25 teams that outdrew the Saints played at least 20 more home games.
“Our fans have been the lifeblood of this organization since 1993,” said Veeck. “Marv, Bill, and I wouldn’t have done this deal without their blessing. When we moved into CHS Field they had one ask and that was not to change our identity. We made that promise in 2015 and we’re making that promise now. I’m excited for this partnership and I look forward to bringing our irreverent fun to the world of Triple-A Baseball.”
The Saints were named Organization of the Year an unprecedented five consecutive years from 2015-19 and six times overall, also claiming the honor in 2009.
“Our champion Saint Paul Saints have provided all of us with a fun, family-friendly baseball experience like no other for nearly three decades,” said Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter. “This incredible evolution benefits our entire community and region.”
The Saints 2021 season will be their first as the Twins Triple-A affiliate. More details regarding tickets and schedule will be made available in the coming days and weeks. For more information contact the Saints at 651-644-6659 or visit saintsbaseball.com.