Twins-Saints Merger is a Match Made in Heaven, On and Off the Field
Image courtesy of © Jesse Johnson | 2020 Sep 29“Since moving to Minnesota in 1961, I think player development has been the heartbeat of the Twins franchise,” St. Peter told reporters during Wednesday’s press conference announcing the move. “Thinking back over six decades of Twins’ baseball there hasn’t been a single successful team that we’ve had that wasn’t really largely fueled by players that were ultimately products of our farm system. And with that reality in mind, I think today’s news of an enhanced player development model is absolutely central to our future success.”
“We are uniquely positioned now as a major league franchise to have our two highest levels of play within a few short miles of one another and we view that as a competitive advantage,” Falvey said. “As something as, in this game when you’re seeking every possible competitive advantage in scouting, in development, in player selection, in performance, this is something that we feel is going to be a significant benefit to our club.”
While there is undoubtedly a large element of truth in those statements - the Twins will now be able to have a fully functional “taxi squad” for a second season in a row, something most other MLB teams will not have access to due to geographical limitations - it also can’t be ignored that the Minny and Paul Merger allows for the Twins to develop the Twin Cities into a Midwestern baseball Mecca, a factor that likely played into the decision as well.
A select few MLB teams have their Triple-A affiliate in close proximity - though not all teams have officially announced their respective Triple-A teams and all are longer than the 13 miles between the two Minnesota stadiums - and it is safe to say that none have the same cachet as Target Field and CHS Field.
Both fields are considered to be crown jewels in their respective leagues and, in the case of CHS Field, provide a fan experience that is unique and Saints’ owner Marvin Goldklang stated that ticket prices - which begin as low as $5 - will not be changing. These factors are the primary reason behind why the Saints are able to draw in crowd sizes that are practically unrivaled, even by Triple-A standards.
According to the official press release, “Since [the Saints moved] to their current home, located in the historic Lowertown District of St. Paul, the club has drawn 2,028,402 fans over five full seasons (2015-19), leading the American Association in each of those years. They have been over 100% capacity 15 times, including a combined 112% capacity in the first five full seasons at CHS Field. In 2019, the Saints led all of Minor League Baseball in percent capacity, were eighth in average attendance (topped only by seven Triple-A teams), and 26th in overall attendance.”
The ability to watch top prospects such as Royce Lewis, Jordan Balazovic, and Trevor Larnach in person and on a near daily basis will surely draw even more fans to lowertown St. Paul. This will allow fans to become even more familiar with the Twins’ stars of tomorrow, which, in turn, will likely have a ripple effect on the overall attendance numbers at Target Field - and the franchise’s bottom line.
This line of logic applies to the Saints as well. Combining their state-of-the-art field and fan experience with the Twins’ top prospects will likely drive attendance above the 112% capacity number cited previously - once fans are allowed to go to games uninhibited - and will drive revenue skyward.
In essence, this pairing was a no-brainer for all parties involved. The ability to create a competitive advantage by pairing with the Saints was undoubtedly an enticing proposition for the Twins - and one that ultimately proved too good to turn down - but at the end of the day, baseball is a business and businesses are driven by the bottom line. Not only will the merger with the Saints make the Twins a better baseball team around the margins, it also will have a significant impact on their margins of profit as well.
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