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Saints' Gear Up For 1st Home Opener At New CHS Field

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Thursday marks the St. Paul Saints baseball team's first home opener in their new stadium at CHS Field.

By the numbers, the stadium cost about $65 million to build, $55 million of which was public money. It won't just be used for Saints games, either. CHS Field will host both Hamline and amateur baseball games.

"I pinch myself every day when I come to work. It's just a beautiful ballpark," Annie Huidekoper, the Saints' vice-president of community partnerships and customer service, said. "It'll be magical when we have 7,000 or 8,000 people in here on opening night."

The Saints have a new name for their porcine mascot to honor the occasion. Each year for the past 22 seasons, the pig gets a unique name. Owner Mike Veeck announced Wednesday that this year's pig is named "Pablo Pigasso."

The name was selected out of 1,400 entries in the St. Paul Pioneer Press contest, and was so chosen because CHS Field is considered a masterpiece.

Stew Thornley, an official Major League Baseball scorekeeper for the Minnesota Twins, recently published a book all about the minor league team called "The St. Paul Saints: Baseball in the Capital City." Thronley said no one expected the team to survive past their first season in 1993.

"The fun and the connection with the community … was amazing in 1993, when they started, and people didn't think that they'd last very long. They almost sold out the first weekend," he said. "They were doing things that people scoffed at. I did, when I first started going to Saints games. I thought it was a little too much."

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The Saints open up the season against the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks for a four-day season series opener across Memorial Day Weekend.

The Saints play Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7 p.m. On Sunday, they play at 5 p.m. Following that game there will be fireworks.

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