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Clearance Clarence: Making the St. Paul Saints a Twins farm team?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Twins fans Updated: March 16, 2010 - 3:01 PM

Commenter Clarence Swamptown is back with his increasingly popular feature "Clearance Clarence," which is basically an unfiltered plunge into his soul. It's a terrifying place, but there are sweet rewards. This week he delves into several areas, including this question: should the St. Paul Saints be reconfigured as a Class A farm club of the Twins? As usual, the opinions expressed on Clearance Clarence don't necessarily represent those of RandBall or the Star Tribune. Clarence?

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*The Gopher men’s hockey team finished their forgettable season on Sunday night with a 4-1 loss to the University of Southern Canada North Dakota.  You will not get a Dr. Michael Baden post-mortem season analysis from me.  It was a mostly frustrating and underachieving year.  Let’s just put it behind us and hope for better next season.    I did have an opportunity to travel to Grand Forks to watch the series from the UND Alumni Suite, but I declined.   A guy in a Minnesota sweatshirt shouting dirty, dirty vulgarities at Dave Hakstol and Derek Shepherd from the UND Alumni Suite would not last long.  But I will be at the WCHA Final Five tournament this weekend so  I would appreciate any suggestions on which team I should adopt (@randballsstu & jamax2:  I am anticipating your “WOOOO HUSKIES WOOOO” plea.  You can save it.  That will not happen).
 
*Country & Western Song of the Week: For the Gophers, this week’s C&WSotW is Keith Whitley’s I’m Over You.  
 
*KSTP AM-1500 SportsTalk has hired Phil Mackey to be Patrick Reusse’s sidekick on weekdays from noon to 2 p.m.  I am a Phil Mackey fan and hoped he would eventually become Paul Allen’s partner on KFAN.    PMac’s sabermetric knowledge is unrivaled on local radio.  I believe his young hipster viewpoint will play well with Reusse’s cantankerous seen-it-all perspective.   KFAN’s loss is KSTP’s gain.
 
* Tom Pelissero, Assistant Sports Editor and Packers beat writer for the Green Bay Press-Gazette, was also hired by KSTP AM-1500 SportsTalk as their Senior Web Editor. 
 
*Peter Graves, an actor in the Airplane scene which spawned the Clearance Clarence title, has passed away.
 
*The series premier of Justified airs tonight on FX.  It looks awesome.
 
*In February the Star Tribune ran an opinion piece authored by Chris Coleman and Mike Veeck, the mayor of St. Paul and an owner of the St. Paul Saints, respectively.  The article lobbied for the construction of a new Saints ballpark in St. Paul’s Lowertown.  They trotted out all of the expected arguments:  a new ballpark will “create” jobs and promote economic growth, green, will somebody – ANYBODY – please think of the children, etc. 
 
I understand both sides of the ‘public funding for stadiums’ debate.  Maybe stadium construction does promote economic growth.  Or maybe we’ve already spent enough on stadiums.  I waffle back and forth between both sides.  On this specific proposal I can only speak for myself.  I would not support public funding for a new Saints ballpark (or renovating Midway Stadium) unless they somehow partner with the Minnesota Twins to become a Twins farm team.  I realize that this is a very odd and selfish condition, but there is no reason why the Beloit Snappers (the Twins’ Low-A affiliate) cannot be moved to St. Paul. The Saints’ sell three times (!) more tickets each year than Beloit (Beloit sold 83,480 tickets in 2009.  St. Paul sold 267,398.).   Beloit currently plays in a league with teams from Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa,– so moving the team to St. Paul would not require a league change.  Aaron Hicks, the Minnesota Twins top prospect, is likely to start this season in Beloit.  I would drive to St. Paul to watch Aaron Hicks play.  The St. Paul Saints are good baseball players, but most Minnesotans live within 10-minutes of an amateur baseball field.  I can hit the Miesville Mudhens’ ballpark with a well-struck six iron from my backyard.  I enjoy going to St. Paul Saints games because it’s a fun and unique atmosphere (pigs, TRAIN, etc.), but I do not need to drive to St. Paul to watch a slightly elevated brand of town-team baseball.  The Twins should want a farm team in their backyard, if only to increase the average fan’s connection to their young players.  It seems like a natural partnership.  If the Saints partner with the Twins for additional private funding, I will consider supporting the Saints ballpark for public funding.  That’s just me.
 
Your thoughts on WCHA Final Five team adoption, Phil Mackey, Tom Pelissero, Peter Graves, and my St. Paul Saints proposal are welcome in the comments.

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