ST. PAUL (WCCO) — This year marks a new era for the St. Paul Saints baseball team — in two months, they’ll play their first home game in Lowertown.
CHS Field was built on the site of the old Gillette factory. The brand new building cost 62 million dollars, but it still honors some old Saints traditions.
From the outside looking in, CHS Field looks every bit the shiny, new, outdoor ballpark. For Saints President and Owner Mike Veeck, however, all the effort that has gone into building the stadium becomes all too clear.
“I feel like a 64-year-old kid waiting on Christmas Eve,” Veeck said. “It’s a building that works from 22 years of experience.”
He left the design to architect Julie Snow, who’s better known for condos and museums than stadiums.
“Who wouldn’t want to do a ballpark, and who wouldn’t want to do a ballpark for the Saints?” she said.
Snow incorporated quite a few upgrades to the new ballpark: chairs instead of benches, 1,400 more seats, club seating, an indoor event space, seating closer to the field, four game-day suites, and most importantly, new locker rooms.
“St. Paul, over 22 years, has become famous for having the worst locker rooms,” Veeck said.
Snow also envisioned a 360-degree view of the city, brought to life in a concourse that wraps around the entire stadium.
“What’s great about it is there’s more of an emphasis, particularly with this group, on the fan experience,” Snow said.
But with so much emphasis on the new, Veeck still plans to keep some of the old traditions alive — the new ballpark even has a built-in pen for the pigs.
Afterall, Veeck says the Saints’ reputation isn’t just built on baseball, but the entire game day experience.
“We started with the mantra ‘fun is good,’ and we’re going to continue with that,” he said.
The Saints first home game is scheduled for May 21, with tickets on sale for $5 to $18.