Claude Walker | Bicentennial-By-Buttons

“Fun is Very Good: pigs, drones, 11th inning rule”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2015

A pig mascot named "Stephen Colboar". A beer belly contest. A nun masseuse. Jane's Addiction. An odd 11th inning rule. You can't beat fun at the old ballpark and the Saints clearly believe that "Fun is Good".

My pals & I recently took in 31 innings in 28 hours, including two Cubs-Twins contests & a Saints-Railcats game. I am now a Saints' fan.

The history of Twin Cities baseball runs deep and the history of the site of CHS Field is fascinating, too. What was once the site of a notorious brownfield (previously a slaughterhouse, gas plant & shampoo factory), now claims to be the "Greenest Ballpark in the U.S.", complete with solar power, recycled water & composting.

The historic Lowertown neighborhood is worth exploring before the game. Easy access via the Green Line Light Rail or on foot from downtown St. Paul. I-94 zips past the ballyard, which is sunken below street level. The exterior blends in nicely with Lowertown's architecture.

The interior is airy and open. Beyond the fences are historic old buildings, the Interstate and some woods. I like the grassy berm and love the cedar ceilings above the concourse.

The music was cool, including Juana's Addicion's "Stop" and an obscure Fugazi tune called "Waiting Room" (during a pitching change). Since it was 'Merica Night, we also heard "Cat Scratch Fever" and Patsy Cline, saw the Clydesdale horses, and received a free tire gauge.

The Saints have a reputation as zany & wacky (Doctor Bill Murray is team shrink), and the between-inning contests are proof. The biggest beer belly, drone-driving, "Dirtiest Car in the Parking Lot", truck tire racing, and the usual "spin-your-head-on-a-bat" routine, except the contestants wore farm animal suits and a dizzy cow rolled into the first baseman during warm-ups.

The beverages are cold & cheap, and cupcake vendors work the aisles. I had a tasty dog named "The Brat Favre"; my pal had the "Kim Lardashian".

And what a game! Two players were injured on the first two pitches of the game! A booming homer by Angelo Songco, 5 Railcat errors, weird double-plays. A seesaw battle between the powerhouse Saints & mediocre Cats until the 11th inning, when the announcer described the new 11th Inning Rule. Used in international competition and another way professional baseball hopes to speed up the game, a runner is put on 2nd base to start the 11th inning. In this case, it led to the Saints' demise. Interesting idea; not sure I'm crazy about it.

Anyhow, CHS is a great ballpark, the Saints are a storied franchise and Fun is Very Good in Lowertown.

Visited June 2015

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