The Saints began their third home stand of the year, and first home games of June, with what was supposed to be a three game series against the Wichita Wingnuts. The third game scheduled to play at Midway on Sunday June 9th was rained out. This was the Wingnuts only trip to St. Paul this season so the makeup game was scheduled as a double header when the Saints travel to Wichita to open an away series June 14th.
For most of Friday night's opener the game looked like it was going to be a run away victory for starting pitcher Wes Roemer and the Saints. But with the score 8-2 in the 8th inning the Wingnuts rallied for five runs to bring the score to 8-7. The rally consisted of two hits, one hit batter, one error, and four walks issued by the four pitchers the Saints used in the eight inning. I think the strike zone used by the home plate umpire in the 8th was put perfectly by fellow fan and blogger Midway Tailgater on twitter (@midwaytailgater)during the inning, "In honor of National Doughnut Day, the Ump at Midway Stadium has shrunk the strike zone to the size of one." After sending down the Saints 1,2,3 in the bottom of the 8th the Wingnuts would threaten again in the top of the 9th. With two outs and runners on first and second Colt Loehers hit a soft single to left field which looked like it would score the game tying run. But left fielder Willie Cabrera came through with a laser of a throw to catcher Dwight Childs, who not only caught the throw and applied the tag, but blocked the plate brilliantly from the sliding Tim Rotola trying to score. Rotola beat the throw to the plate but Childs stopped him from touching the plate with the block before tagging him a moment later. The Saints won the game 8-7 in an exciting fashion to continue their winning ways at Midway this year. As mentioned in the tweet above this was National Doughnut Day, and in typical Saints fashion, the theme at the ballpark was Law Enforcement Appreciation Night. The Saints had a cop character at the ballpark all night "enforcing the law" by giving speeding tickets to the kids participating in the White Castle Crave Case power wheel race, and all other infractions he could spot. This was also another Friday night fireworks spectacular sponsored by Xcel Energy that did not disappoint as usual. My MVP of the game is Dwight Childs (3-4, 3 RBI, 2B), and a special play of the game to Childs and Cabrera for teaming up to stop the tying run in the 9th and win the game for the Saints.
Saturday started out with exciting news for the Saints as they resigned Ole Sheldon to the roster. Ole is the Saints all time home run and RBI leader. Unfortunately the signing, and debut of Ole in the lineup, did not help the outcome of the game. The Saints lost to the Wingnuts 7-2 as starting pitcher Mark Hamburger was roughed up for all 7 runs in his 5.1 innings pitched. The evening was also Northern Spark night at the ballpark. Northern Spark is a 75 project art and event festival in Lowertown St. Paul that was open from 8:58pm-5:26am Saturday night through Sunday morning. We did not attend Northern Spark but from what I've heard it was a successful and fun night for the city and all participants. My MVP for the game is once again Dwight Childs (2-4, 2 RBI, 2B, HR)
Sunday's game was one of the most disappointing rain outs I have ever been a part of. Not just because the rubber game of the series was postponed and rescheduled as an away game in Wichita, but because the promotion for the day was one that I had been looking forward to since the schedule came out. The day was to be a celebration of the 75th anniversary of Abbott and Costello's Who's on First comedy routine. This was to include all Saints players wearing jerseys with the different names from the routine on the back, i.e. Who, What, and I Don't Know, with the game worn jerseys being auctioned off to fans. Also the first 500 fans 14 and under were to receive replica jerseys with the names on the back. As I put on twitter from the ballpark shortly after the game was called, "St. Paul Saints game rained out today. #booooooomothernaturebooooooo".
As the Saints keep fighting for the top spot in their division a split with one of the better teams in the league can be taken as a positive for the series. Next the Saints shift their focus on to the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks, another of the top teams in the league, and a division rival.