Thank goodness Sid Hartman did not live to see this.
On Wednesday, the Twins, located in downtown Minneapolis, gleefully announced a bonding with a new Class AAA affiliate, the Saints, located in downtown St. Paul.
Or, as Mr. Hartman alternately referred to it in the decades after the attached burgs battled through the 1950s to land a major league baseball team, "East Berlin" or "East Germany."
Sid died in October at age 100, after 76 years as a Minneapolis newspaperman. And that Twins logo still prominent high above Target Field featuring the two gents shaking hands over the river — take off the baseball uniforms and those could have been Sid from the Minneapolis Tribune and Don "The Eye" Riley from the St. Paul Pioneer Press, without the handshaking part.
Minneapolis forces opened an expandable Met Stadium in Bloomington in 1956 to recruit a big league team to the west side of the river. The contrarians in St. Paul opened the original Midway Stadium near the State Fairgrounds in 1957 to bring a big league team to the east side of the river.
Always the heavy favorites, Sid and the Minneapolis big cigars wound up with the Washington Senators on Oct. 26, 1960, for their stadium. The lopsided underdogs, The Eye and St. Paul, wound up with Don Bosco Conference football games.
Victory did not lessen Sid's suspicions of what they were up to behind George Vavoulis Gate over there in St. Paul. It took awhile, but in 2000, St. Paul opened a spectacular hockey arena with an NHL franchise, in 2015 it opened a splendid boutique ballpark in Lowertown for the independent Saints, and in 2019, it opened a soccer stadium to be envied by all in the Midway district for the major league Loons.
In other words, East Germany had traveled quite a distance from hosting the annual St. Agnes vs. St. Bernard's grudge match as a main event in its pro stadium.
There were a few years that Sid vowed the Wild would have to come to its senses and move to Target Center, but he finally was forced to admit that it turned out people from Edina, Minnetonka, Eden Prairie, etc. would travel all the way to St. Paul for a sporting event.
He also took a liking to CHS Field, when being feted by Saints President Mike Veeck, although Sid's recommendation to Veeck that the low-profile stadium should have seating for 40,000 might not have worked, architecturally speaking.
Yet, the sweet somethings the Twins and the Saints, Minneapolis and St. Paul, were uttering to each other on Zoom on Wednesday afternoon would have been too much for Sid.
The Twins were represented by team President Dave St. Peter and baseball boss Derek Falvey. Owner Jim Pohlad was listening, and confirmed the Twins will be making an investment in the Saints.
Co-owners Marv Goldklang and Mike Veeck and general manager Derek Sharrer participated for the Saints. As impressions go, mine was the Twins wanted this deal more than the Saints.
That's understandable, since the Saints had something of a mini-goldmine with Veeck's "Fun Is Good," independent-ball vibe in that fantastic ballyard. Meantime, Falvey and Co. were seduced by the idea of having the Class AAA club a mere 10½ miles to the east, raising the possibility of upping the club record for pitchers used in a season from mid-30s into the 40s.
Minneapolis and St. Paul, the Millers and the Saints, were rivals in the original American Association from 1902 to 1960. Legend has it, there was no neutrality permitted, even in the press box.
Without Sid to confirm the acrimony in those Triple-A days, I called Birmingham, Ala., to get a report from Al Worthington, now 91, a star reliever for the Twins in the 1960s and previously a star starter for the Millers.
"We always played doubleheaders — one game in each park — on the holidays," Worthington said. "Those games were always interesting. The St. Paul fans were tough.
"Now, the Saints are going to be a Twins farm club? That's OK. The rivalry was a long time ago."
What wasn't a long time ago was this:
Veeck setting up the independent Saints in 1993 at the second Midway Stadium, with the Twins early in a downturn, and spending 27 years agitating those big brothers in Minneapolis, both subtly and blatantly.
And here he was Wednesday, embracing the Twins as a partner in the ballpark that he miraculously was able to get built in St. Paul, and saying: "Our fans are going to love this change."
So, it has happened, Sid's gone, and the Twins requested, "Tear down that wall, Mr. Smarty Aleck," and Veeck has done so, ending the last vestiges of a once bitterly divided sports market.