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RandBall: Is a Twins-St. Paul Saints partnership closer to reality?

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • June 17, 2014 - 5:25 PM

More than four years ago, during the glory days when commenter Clarence Swamptown wrote a weekly post called Clearance Clarence, he mused openly about an affiliation between the Twins and Saints that would produce a minor league ballteam in a then-theoretical new Saints stadium. He wrote:

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.

Fast-forward to 2014. A new Saints ballpark is slated to open in Lowertown next year. The Twins' low-A affiliate has moved to a better situation in Cedar Rapids, but that contract is up in 2016. And now we hear talk from the two sides that indicates such a thing might be possible in the future. Per the Business Journal, which hosted Twins President Dave St. Peter and Saints GM Derek Sharrer at a breakfast Tuesday:

"Long-term, there are aspects that make a lot of sense," St. Peter said. "Short-term, it's more challenging. We have a tremendous partnership with Cedar Rapids and the Kernels. It's been a home run for the Twins. It's been strategic for the Twins relative to marketing in the state of Iowa."

St. Peter said he thinks the Twins will discuss the idea with the Saints when the Kernels contract is up.

"I think it's something that will require some additional discussions and I'm guessing that dialogue will take place," St. Peter said.

To repeat: St. Peter is endorsing a Clarence Swamptown idea from four years ago as something that makes sense. This is a miracle in and of itself and something that bears watching going forward.

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