The St. Paul Saints Silver Season Preview
Image courtesy of Image courtesy of Szer DesignTeam
Regular season success and the numerous records broken by the team over the last two years at CHS Field are big reasons for optimism for this year’s squad. With a returning core of solid players and a few solid offseason acquisitions the team has nothing but a championship on their mind.
“Your goal every year is to win a championship, we’ve had a couple good years and came up short in the playoffs. You need to give credit to the teams that beat us, we lost to two really good teams the last couple of years.” said Tsamis.
Having an opening day rotation that is stacked, to say the least, is certainly a good start toward reaching that goal. Mark Hamburger, Robert Cole, John Straka, Kramer Sneed, and Eric Veglahn return to form one of the best opening day rotations the league has ever seen.
On the offensive side of the ball, power may be the name of the game for our boys this year. New additions Brady Shoemaker and Kyle Roller, along with returning vets Nate Hanson and Tony Thomas, all have double digit homer potential. Shut-down pitching and big bats should keep the team in almost every game this year, along with making them extremely fun to watch every night.
One quick note about the team’s Opening Day roster. If I’ve learned one thing from watching this team closely for the last few seasons, the roster will change - and quickly at times. From injuries to players being signed by a major league team, it changes. Manager George Tsamis is and always has been committed to helping his players take the next step in their career, while also putting the best team on the field every night to bring try to a title back to St. Paul.
There is one big change to note in the South Division of the American Association for the 2017 season. It was announced earlier this month that the Laredo Lemars will not be operating in the AA this season. They will be replaced by the Salina Stockcade operating out of Salina, Kansas.
The only changes to the schedule due to the team swap is the Saints will now play Salina in the beginning of June at Depot Stadium, the home of the Cleburne Railroaders. And, Salina will play at CHS field in late July when Laredo was originally supposed to visit St. Paul.
As you would expect, this year’s promotion schedule is highlighted by the Saints 25th Anniversary season. Included in the celebration and fun are five bobble head giveaways featuring Saints greats from the past. Ila Borders, Bill Murray and Kevin Millar, JD Drew, Jack Morris and Darryl Strawberry all get the honor.
Kicking off the season is Mary Tyler Moore Night. The first 6000 fans through the gates will receive a Moore-style tam hat. Then everyone will be encouraged to toss them in the air together after the second inning when the opening to her show will be played on the video screen. It should be a great tribute to the late star.
The Monday Night Variety Show promotion, which features a different local celebrity guest MC and musical act, is back and has an impressive list of guest stars, including Fancy Ray, Nick Swardson, Chris Hawkey and Tom Barnard.
Then on Tuesday, August 22th the Saints take their Fun is Good motto to a whole new level with The World’s Largest Game of Twister. Yes, Twister on a baseball field. After the game that night, all fans will be invited on to the field, along with Saints players and staff, to play the classic game. From foul line to foul line the outfield grass will be turned into a giant game board. Consisting of 70,896 game squares, 17,724 of each color, all 7 inches in diameter just like the real game.
Before The Season: The World’s Largest Game Of Catch
On Wednesday, May 17th the Saints are holding their annual World’s Largest Game of Catch in celebration of the upcoming season. The event is located on Jackson Street between 5th and 6th Streets in Lowertown, from 11:30am-1:00pm.
Fans can meet the team and coaches, get autographs, and even get the chance to play a game of catch with them. Everyone in attendance will receive a soft baseball with the Saints logo on it. And don’t worry if you haven’t thrown a ball for a while, Sister Ros will also be on hand to massage out any kinks you may have, as befits her Christian ministry. This is also when the Saints reveal this year’s new ball pig and its name chosen from fan submissions.
First Home Stand
The Saints open the regular season Thursday, May 18th in St. Paul with a four-game set against the Gary Southshore Railcats. The local nine swept Gary to open the season last year and are a combined 8-0 in opening series at CHS Field. Can you say home field advantage?
The promotion highlights include the above-mentioned Mary Tyler Moore Night, followed by Harley Night and Friday Night Fireworks, featuring the music of punk rock. Star Wars Night is on Saturday. And the always popular, Bring Your Dog to the Park Day rounds out a fun-filled weekend.
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