The Saints began the 2013 season with six games at home. Two exhibition games 05/11, 05/12 against the Gary SouthShore RailCats, and the first four games of the regular season 05/16 - 05/19 against the New Jersey Jackals.
The first of the two exhibition games was a typical Saints start to the season having an Umpireless game sponsored by Hamline University. Presiding over the game was a judge (in full robe) standing behind the pitcher calling the balls and strikes along with 12 little league players from the area in the Saints on the field seating area by first and third base calling safe and out on plays on the base path. Each little league "umpire" had a sign that had safe on one side and out on the other side to call the plays. In the event of a tie of opinion the judge had tie breaker power to decide the play. This was also the first tune up for the saints staff and characters at the home ball park. This game was a blast to watch with the Saints winning 4-3 in the ninth inning on a very chilly 40 degree night in St. Paul.
The second exhibition game against the RailCats was a more typical ballgame (umpires on hand to call the game). This game was also played in much more favorable conditions, 60 degrees and sunny. This was the last tune up for the Saints players and staff before regular season action started. On the field the Saints rolled to a 10-3 victory. Off the field the characters and staff were rounding into regular season form. The characters especially were loud and humorous trying to get the crowd going to cheer the Saints on.
Now on to the regular season action for the Saints....
Opening day was 05/16 against the New Jersey Jackals. This was an exciting game to be at both on and off the field. The atmosphere in the ballpark was electric as everyone there was happy for baseball to be back again. The game was exciting and close to the end. The Saints rallied from two down in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game at four, but fell short in the end losing 6-4 in ten innings. My MVP for this game is a tie between Adam Frost (2-4 with 2 rbi), and Mark Hamburger (7 inn, 2 runs, 8 K's).
Game two against the Jackals was dominated by the Saints pitching staff. Only three hits allowed and one unearned run. The Saints won the game 5-1. This game was also the beginning of the Saints giveaway / fun promotion nights. The promotion for the game was "This is Twinkie Territory". The first 1000 fans in the gate received "the last remaining Twinkies known to exist". This promotion was of course played up by the characters around the ballpark. The game was also followed up by the first Friday Fireworks show presented by Xcel Energy. It was a very good (and longer than I expected) fireworks spectacular with the fireworks being shot out directly over the center field wall. My MVP for this game is starting pitcher Wes Roemer (7 inn, 3 hits, 7 K's).
The third game was more of a offensive battle between the Saints and Jackals. This game saw a total of 23 runs and 29 hits between the two teams. The Saints opened up a 10-2 lead going into the 7th inning before the Jackals rallied back for 6 in the inning (including a grand slam). The Saints came back with two more in each of the next two innings and ended up winning the game 14-9. This was also celebrating women in sports night. The Saints paid tribute to women in sports and to the Gopher women's hockey team that just won the National Championship with a 41-0 record on the year. My MVP for the game is (another) tie, this time between Joey Becker (4-5, 4 runs, 3 rbi, SB), and Brad Boyer (4-4, 4 runs, 3 rbi, SB).
The finally of the series was bring your dog to the park day at Midway. This made people and animal watching almost as fun as watching the game itself. The Saints won the game 9-3 in 8 innings. Only 8 innings you ask? The game was called due to a monsoon type downpour that began just as the 8th inning came to a close. As you can imagine this was a very interesting rain delay / wait for it to slow down a little before you run to your car with all of the remaining people and dogs in the concourse of the ball park. The Saints though once again showed their class by handing out free Saints rain ponchos to everyone waiting to swim to their cars. My MVP for the game is Brandon Tripp (3-4, 2 rbi, HR).
Overall, the exhibition games, and opening weekend were exactly what we have come to expect from the Saints. Great baseball games, great people, great promotions, and a great time had by all!