By Shakim Muhafiz
The fans walk into the Saints’ home stadium feeling confident. They’re cheerful, laughing, and excited while wearing their yellow and blue shirts. Creedence Clearwater Revieaker’s Fortunate Son starts to play from the speakers while the fans are taking their seats.
The fun was short-lived as the Winnipeg Goldeyes demolished the St. Paul Saints 15-1 in front of 8,500 people. Win or lose, in this case in a loss, the fans support the Saints, and in return, the Saints gives back.
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It’s not a surprise why this independent league team brings out fans to pack most of the stadium. Its average attendance is approximately 8,070 people, while the rest of the 11 teams in the league only average 3,000 people or less. The community of the Twin Cities is embraced by the Saints and its players.
“It’s a unique team,” Director of International Development Seigo Masubuchi said. “People come here for the atmosphere. One of the things people do is bring people here for their first dates, people come here to stand and talk and drink beer.”
With tactics such as having kids car race at the end of the second inning and getting the crowd to cheer for it, the Saints brings different dynamics to get fans excited more than just the game. Just getting a foul ball off of an opposing team hit gives a section of the Saints fans something to clap about as their team is losing 8-0 at the top of the third inning.
Connecting with the community seems to be one of the Saints goals. On June 22 it was Native American Heritage Night at CHS Field. A way of incorporating a group of people that historically isn’t incorporated into many things speaks about the character of the Saints Ball Club.
For this team, giving the fans a show on game day is not the only interaction these two have. Every Sunday the Saints are in town the organization schedules a reading program for children who wants to listen to an author, illustrator, or/and player read.
Outfielder Dan Motl, who batted .346 in the loss, went to schools in the offseason to read children. As a Minnesota native and University of Minnesota graduate, Motl went to both Saints and Twins games as a kid. So he understands the importance of the Saints.
“I played with the kids there and met them,” Motl said. “So it’s been fun.”