On August 26th the Saints began their last home series ever at Midway Stadium. On the field the visiting Winnipeg Goldeyes proved why they won the North Division this year beating the Saints two games to one in the three game set. Off the field the final three days of Saints games were filled with memories of years past and excitement for the future at the newly named CHS Field in Lowertown. We had our Midway bucket list at the ready going into the final home stand and once again had the opportunity to check off a couple really fun ones, along with adding a couple on the fly. From Zombies to tailgating to sitting behind Bill Murray during the last fireworks super show ever, It was a awesome sendoff and some major fun at old Midway Stadium.
My First Pitch
In game one of the series both teams decided Midway needed one more marathon extra inning game before the gates closed. After the Saints tied the game 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth it took to the twelfth inning to decide a winner, four hours and twenty one minutes into the game. Unfortunately for the home crowd it was Winnipeg who won the game 10-6, scoring five times in the top of the twelfth and holding off one last Saints rally in the bottom of the inning. The promotion for the game was, We actually thought this was just a fad. The 5th Annual Zombie Baseball Crawl presented by Savers. Before the game even started I checked off one of the top items on my Midway Bucket list. I was able to throw out a first pitch during the pregame ceremonies. I of course did it in true Saintstrain "fun is good" fashion by accidentally tossing it in there before P.A. announcer Lee Adams told me to. I know what your thinking, accidentally? In my defense, Lee paused a couple times and I was so crazy nervous/excited that I thought it was time for me to throw. Number one moment at Midway all time. No contest. A couple highlights during the game were the brain eating contest where zombies raced to see who could eat their contestants brains (jello in a bowl on top of their head) first, and zombie musical chairs. My MVP for the game is, Mitch Elliot (2-4, R, RBI, BB, SB).
Final Gulag Sunset
Even though the theme of the series finale is "Out with a Bang" the Saints provided their last big bang on offense at Midway in the middle game against the Goldeyes. The local nine tallied fourteen runs on twenty hits including home runs by Willie Cabrera and Jake Taylor, winning the high scoring game game 14-7. The promotion for the game was, The only thing worse than moving is helping someone else move. See how mascots handle it with Mudonna’s Moving van. Plus Andy Nelson’s 1993 Mural Lithograph Giveaway. For the giveaway the first 1500 fans through the gates receives a really nice lithograph of the mural painted on Midway's front wall by artist Andy Nelson back in 1993. We're framing one of ours to hang on the wall. Very cool giveaway. Tonight marked another first for me at a Saints game at Midway. I did not sit in my seat once during the entire game, and we were inside the stadium shortly after the first pitch. Where were you, you ask? Well, first we made our final trip to the Gulag for one last sunset and to say "man, this is a cool view of the game" one more time. We then moved to the SS Porkchop to see some friends we met at a game last year with the party spilling into the Lodge box seats in left field as well. After that Steph made it to her seat for the final two innings of the game, I chose to sit in a non occupied Walser seat behind Lee and Halsey and enjoy the end of the game in comfort. My MVP for the game is, Jake Taylor (3-5, 3R, 2RBI, 2B, HR).
Smoke from the fire departments mid game fireworks
The last game at Midway was played Thursday, August 28th. The Saints jumped ahead early and were holding a 3-1 lead until Winnipeg put up three runs in the seventh inning to take the lead 4-3. The Saints put up a valiant effort to rally in the their last couple at bats but fell just short, losing the game 4-3. The promotion for the game was, This really is The Last Train to Midway. Go Out With A Bang! featuring Fireworks Super Show and Monster Food Truck Rally presented by Saint Paul Port Authority. The evening started with us arriving to the park just after the main lot was closed because it was full (darn 8-5's getting in the way of the baseball season again). Thankfully we have great tailgating friends...check that, great friends...who pulled a couple strings and were able to save us a spot even though the lot was full. Thanks Michelle and Pat!!! Before and during the game the Saints did a great job of recognizing and remembering players and personalities from the past. Including having Dave Stevens (born with no legs, played second base for the Saints in 1996) coach first base for the game. More fun from the night included the Fire Training Center beyond the right field wall hanging a large sign saying "Disco Still Sucks" from their building, and then later on having an impromptu fireworks show from the top of the same building that delayed the game 10 minutes for the smoke to clear the field. After the game was over food trucks and fans flooded the field for a bite to eat and grabbing a prime spot for fireworks. We choose to pass on the food trucks and decided we would watch fireworks from by our seats one last time. That decision allowed us to check off our bucket list what has now become my number two moment at Midway alltime. We (with a little help, thanks Lee!) noticed Bill Murray sitting in the bleachers when the lights went out for fireworks and seats behind him open. We sat behind Bill Murray (who really got into the show and music) for the final fireworks at Midway. That is just so freaking cool. My MVP for the game is, Willie Cabrera (2-4, R, 2RBI, HR).
And so wraps up the 2014 Saints and final baseball season at Midway Stadium. The year was filled with great memories of Midway, so many fun moments, awesome friends, and even a road trip. Words don't seem to be enough to say thank you to everyone for being a part of our "Fun is Good" story this year, but Thank You! We can not wait to start a new chapter of Saints baseball next year in a awesome new home, with all our awesome friends!
With the LastTrain able to be seen in the distance the Saints began their second to last home series at Midway on August 15th. The three game set was played against the New Jersey Jackals and did not have a favorable end for the home team. Even though the Jackals swept the Saints on the field we once again found ourselves checking fun off our Midway bucket list and having a great time with friends.
The first game of the series saw both teams trade punches early leading to a 5-5 tie in the fifth inning. The pitching staffs then settled in until New Jersey scored two runs in the top of the eighth taking the lead for good and winning the game 7-5. The promotion for the game was, We'll try to prove "There's no place like home plate" as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz. The evening was highlighted by all of the main characters from the Wizard of Oz being on hand to celebrate the anniversary and entertain fans. One of the best moments was Dorothy and Seigo Masubuchi doing a duet for karaoke with the real Japanese guy in between innings. Wow, Dorothy had a great voice. Also on hand for the night were the St. Paul Vulcans (in full uniform) who sang Take Me Out to the Ballgame during the seventh inning stretch. The game was then followed by the last Friday night fireworks show at Midway. In a homage to the olden days Bill, Steph, and I decided to have one last after fireworks tailgate to watch the line wait to leave the ballpark on a Friday night. Drinking beer and watching people waste gas for a half hour in line, yep it was still as much fun as the first time. My MVP for the game is, Angelo Songco (2-4, R, 2RBI, 2B).
Game two was almost a polar opposite to the first. Both teams starting pitchers allowed only one run through the first seven innings before the Jackals broke the game open in the eighth and ninth scoring five runs combined to win the game 6-1 over the Saints. The promotion for the game was, The Monkees wouldn't license their song so we made our own (with a little help from our friends). Take the Last Train to Midway Vinyl LP Giveaway. The first 1000 fans through the gates received a actual full sized LP with eight songs on it celebrating the Saints, Midway, and baseball. This was one of the giveaways I was looking forward to all year. Very cool. Prior to the game we attended the final 10th Inning Stretch with George and Ole at Midway. It was awesome talking baseball with them and getting to know them better before Saturday night games this year. Tonight also gave me another chance to cross an item off of my Midway bucket list. I was lucky enough to be able to drag the infield between innings to smooth the dirt out for the players. Oh yeah I forgot to mention I was in drag (a wig and a dress) get it, "drag" the field? It was really cool to be on the infield while the Saints players were warming up for the next inning, and to have fun with P.A. Announcer Halsey (he didn't know I was out there at first). My MVP for the game is, Jeff Shields (7.2IP, 3ER, 3K).
The Sunday afternoon series finale was the last day game ever for the Saints at Midway. Unfortunately for the local nine New Jersey jumped ahead early and never looked back, winning the game 8-2. The promotion for the game was, Commemorate our miserable winter and celebrate your survival with the Polar Vortex Snowglobe Giveaway presented by White Bear Mitsubishi and KSTC-TV, Channel 45. The first 1000 fans through the gates received a snow globe with Mudonna inside. Another really fun giveaway. Prior to today's game I had the opportunity to check another item off my Midway bucket list. After Steph was done taking picture's of our friend Michelle (Candy Lady), who had the chance to walk the line up card to home plate we stayed on the field for the National Anthem. I stood on the field during the National Anthem. To me this is one of the coolest bucket list items yet. My MVP for the game is, Willie Cabrera (3-4, R, 2RBI, HR).
And here it is, the last home stand ever at Midway Stadium for the Saints. The Wichita Wingnuts come to town for the three games starting Tuesday, August 26th. The midweek sendoff is sure to be full of fun and memories so come say hi, and goodbye to Midway.
With the 7th of August came the third to the last regular season home stand for the Saints at Midway. The opponent for four the game series was the Sioux City Explorers. Alas the end result was not a positive one for St. Paul, losing the series 3-1. Even with the outcome on the field the weekend was filled with fun at the ballpark. Friends from out of town, bobble heads, and tailgating made it another great stretch at Midway.
A noon start is not normally a good thing for a team with an eta back into St. Paul from Kansas City of 4:30am, but the Saints decided to buck the trend and pull out the win in the series opener. Starter Robert Cole along with relievers Mikey Mehlich and Dan Sattler turned in another solid pitching performance, and Keith Brachold and Joey Becker provided some more clutch hitting at home with back to back doubles in the sixth ninning. Final score 4-2. The promotion for the game was, YMCA Day. Being a weekday day game, the last ever at Midway, Steph was not able to attend. Three missed games in a season, I'm stating to worry about her dedication, haha. My day started by arriving in the Midway parking lot at 9:57am. Officially the earliest I have ever been at the ballpark. Another bucket list item checked off, a small one but still. I expected to tailgate with just our friends in town from Mexico Julie and Beto and their kids Emiliano and Luca, who were taking in their second game this year. But I was soon surprised and surrounded by more friends as Bruce, and Pat and Michelle showed up with a group of friends and we all partied together. We were also joined by Star Tribune sports writer, and ESPN1500 radio host, Patrick Reusse, who was there talking to fans, and manager George Tsamis for a column he wrote for the Sunday paper on the Saints. Bruce and I were quoted in the story, Reusse: Midway Stadium's days are numbered. I have to say I do love brats and chicken wings on the grill, but unless it's two for one's and I'm broke, I'm not drinking a PBR or Leinies. Fun day. My MVP for the game is, Willie Cabrera (3-3, R, RBI, BB, 2 2B).
Game two of the four game series didn't go as good as the first for the Saints. The Explorers won the game 6-2 as the home team was held to three hits in the game. The promotion for the game was, The fans designed 'em and the fans voted on 'em. Now the team wears 'em! Fan Vote Jersey Night. For the game the Saints players and coaches wore jerseys designed by fan Chad Jeske that were also auctioned off during the game in a silent auction. We decided not to bid this time as our jersey collection has grown at a much faster rate than we expected this year. We joined at the game by our good friend Mike who now lives in Baltimore. This was his first Saints game in years so we tailgated before the game, made a trip to the Beer Dabbler Bullpen, and even took in some of the fireworks from the parking lot. Fun night. My MVP for the game is, Jared McDonald (1-4, 2 RBI).
Saturday's game, much like Friday's did not turn out how St. Paul would have liked. The Explorers won 10-1 by scoring six runs in the ninth to seal it and holding the Saints to five hits in the game. The promotion for the game was, The game protested by squirrels around the world. Peanut Free Night presented by Midwest Ear, Nose, & Throat Specialists. A highlight of the night was a disgruntled squirrel mad because their were no nuts in the stadium grumbling to fans. Very funny. The evening started at the 10th Inning Stretch with friends and a visit from George and Ole. It is so much fun talking to them about baseball. My MVP for the game is, Angelo Songco (1-3, R, BB).
The last game of the home stand saw both teams trade punches early on and then the pitchers take over. Sixteen total runs were scored in the first four innings of the game, zero scored the rest of the way. Unfortunately for the Saints they only accounted for seven of the sixteen runs scored and lost the game 9-7. The promotion for the game was, Peanuts Day featuring the return of 2001's Charlie Brown Bobblehead Giveaway. The first 1000 fans through the gates received a really fun Charlie Brown bobblehead. We got ours, did you? A very cool moment from the game is one that not many fans knew about at the ballpark that day. Brain Kelly helped a family pay tribute and say goodbye to their Dad and Grandfather. He set up a hair salon outside of Midway's gates where the grandson got his haircut, just like he remembered from games with his Grandfather. It was a moving story, and just another way Brian Kelly and the Saints put the fans first. I love it. You're awesome Brian! My MVP for the game is, Henry Wrigley ( 2-4, R, 2 RBI).
Two. Only two regular season home series left at Midway for the Saints. Coming to town next are the New Jersey Jackals for a three game series starting Friday, August 15th. Lots of fun and really cool giveaways are in store. Don't miss out on the LastTrain at Midway!