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Saints Derail Railcats in Opening Series

And....the 2014 St. Paul Saints season is underway! The last season at Midway Stadium began Thursday, May 15th with the hometown team hosting the Gary Southshore Railcats for a four game series. The Saints won three of the four games. 

Saints owner Mike Veeck taking tickets at the gate

The season opener was played on (let me know if this sounds familiar from last year) a cold May night in St. Paul. But the weather would not slow down starting pitcher Anthony Claggett and the Saints offense. Claggett pitched 6.2 innings of one hit ball with five strikeouts. While the offense was powered by a five run third inning that included the first home run of the year (a two run shot) by first baseman Henry Wrigley. The Saints won the game 6-1. The promotion for the night was, The Final Opening Night at Midway with Big Brothers and Big Sisters, plus the 2014 Saints magnet schedule giveaway courtesy of Mississippi Market. The evening started out by having our tickets taken at the gate by Saints owner, Mike Veeck, and the fun kept rolling from there. The Entertainment team was dressed to the nines for opening day in tux jackets and bow ties for the guys, and a gown for Gert the Flirt. They also introduced a new in between inning contest where P.A announcer Halsey shoots clay pigeons from a launcher on top of the Saints dugout as two fans with nets on the playing field trying to catch them. A very entertaining contest in itself, but made better that night by the fact that Halsey was having trouble shooting strait and he almost hit the Railcats third baseman with the last shot. The game also featured new ball pig Stephen Colboar, who is a rambunctious little guy. My MVP for the game is, Anthony Claggett (6.2IP, 0ER, 1H, 5K's).

Me with Manager George Tsamis at home plate

The second game was (surprise) a cold Friday night at Midway in May. But once again the Saints brushed off the chills to provided some offensive pop, and another quality start winning the game 7-2. Pitcher Robert Cole tossed 6 strong innings allowing two earned runs while striking out three Railcats. The bats were paced by Joe Bonfe's three hits and two runs batted in. The Saints knocked fifteen hits as a team in the game. Prior to the game starting I had the opportunity to walk the line up card out to the umpires at home plate with Saints manager, George Tsamis. This is a new season ticket holder perk for the last year at Midway where a different person gets picked for each game. Special thanks to the Saints, and George for giving me a chance to be part of the #LastTrain at Midway. It was awesome! The promotion for the night was, The Return of 1993's silent night, featuring Mime-O-Vision. The night had mimes reenacting close plays, and arguments from the field, on top of the dugouts and in the stands. Easily the best contest of the night was, guess how many mimes are in the Mini. Where two contestants had to guess how many mimes were in a Mini Cooper as it was driving around the warning track towards home plate. The answer was seven, but I say it was six and a half because one was standing up and half out of the sunroof. Funny to watch, regardless. The funnest moment of the night for me was watching The Nerd walk around trying to sell dollar hot dogs (which he was holding in his bare hands). And then having him stage a homage to the famous story from the first mime night in 1993 where fans started buying dollar hot dogs just to throw at the mimes because they disliked them so much. He asked my wife to take pictures while two mimes stood a few feet from him and acted like he was throwing hot dogs at them. The pictures don't lie, it was hilarious! I also saw my first talking mime at this game. Entertainment Director, Brian Kelly, was dressed as a mime but, "I still had a job to do" said Brian, who is on a microphone a good amount during the games. My MVP for the game is, Joe Bonfe (3-5, 1R, 2RBI, 2 2B).

Evan Bigley getting high fives after his 3 run home gave the Saints the lead

Game three was a Saturday evening affair played in much better weather (I think it may have hit 60!). The Saints trailed for the first time this season, down 4-2, after a four run seventh inning from the Railcats. But late game heroics from Evan Bigley, who hit a three run home run, gave the Saints the lead for good in the bottom of the eighth. The evening started off for us with Kevin and Bill at the 10th Inning Stretch where we were joined by Saints Manager, George Tsamis, and Hitting Coach, Ole Sheldon to talk baseball. It was great getting to meet and talk to Ole, and George was awesome and a wealth of baseball knowledge as usual. The promotion for the night was, DARE Night presented by Old Country Buffet. One of the amusing moments during the game was when a train stopped and parked outside the left center field fence and watched the game for a couple innings. My MVP for the game is, Evan Bigley (1-5, 1R, 4RBI, HR).

Game action from the Gulag

The series finale was played on a absolutely gorgeous Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately for the Saints the game didn't turn out as good as the day. The Saints lost the game 14-5, and set the franchise record for walks, issuing thirteen on the day. The day started off early with tailgating with Michelle (Candy Lady), Pat, and some of their friends. We were also joined by Sister Ros, Seigo Masubuchi, and Brian Kelly for some food and good conversations. Great time as always! The day also included our first trip of the year to the Gulag in center field. The promotion for the day was, Kids replica Saints jersey giveaway. The first 500 fans 14 and under received replica Saints jerseys. My MVP for the game is, Angelo Songco (3-4, 1R, 2RBI, 2B).

The Saints next home stand begins Thursday, May 22nd against the Sioux Falls Canaries. The teams play a four game series ending with food trucks and fireworks on Sunday night. Also, George is planning on being at the 10th Inning Stretch again on Saturday night at six. Stop on by to say hi and talk to the Saints manager. I hope to see you there!

Go Saints!