MLB Proposes Moving St. Paul Saints Out of Independent League and Into Affiliated Ball

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This was a really random find yesterday and I’m not sure how many people have seen this important piece of MN baseball news yet…

Let’s start here: The MLB and MiLB (Minor League Baseball) are in the middle of talks for a new Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA), which is the contract between the two, that governs the minor league system of Major League Baseball. The new one, which will need to be in place after the 2o20 season, is sure to be the biggest shake-up to the minor league system in 20+ years. Baseball America has been covering these discussions for over a year now. Their latest update yesterday, had this bombshell of MN baseball news hidden at the bottom.

Amongst a bunch of massive changes that include single-A teams moving to triple-A (and everywhere in-between), the cutting of many minor league affiliates altogether, and the complete rearranging of leagues and geography, to focus on less travel and smarter team affiliations… there was one little tid-bit that most people, outside of Minnesota and Texas, may have glossed right over.

I’m NOT talking about the pro baseball team that plays in Minneapolis… but rather, the one that plays across the river in St. Paul:

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I don’t know of any other Independent League teams that are currently operating out of St. Paul, so I’m going to assume they are talking about the Saints. Anyone who follows or keeps an eye on the St. Paul Saints, even from a distance, knows how successful that organization is. They’ve found their niche market, built a new and beautiful ballpark, understand the importance of being different, and they work their asses off to get fans in the seats. It looks like it could pay off in a massive way, too.

The Saints are a successful organization and definitely turn a profit but I’m not sure how many of their competitors do. There can’t be that much money in an Independent League baseball organization. The prospect of being affiliated with the MLB cash cow, under the right circumstances, has to be exciting.

After tweeting this yesterday, some have brought up the idea of using the Saints as the AAA affiliate for the Twins.

Before you laugh, you should read the article that this news came from. There are going to be wholesale changes throughout the minor leagues. I don’t know how much the final agreement will look compared to this proposal, but it’s clear the MLB wants big change. A push for smarter alignment between affiliates is one of the complexities they are focusing on but the biggest one is $$$$$$$. The St. Paul Saints are already a brand name in Minnesota, they make more money than the others in their league, they are right across the river (if you need movement quickly), and they have a loyal fan base.

In a newly aligned MiLB world, it almost makes too much sense.

We touched on this news last night on “Minnesota Sports and Stuff” along with previewing the Gophers and Vikings games this weekend.

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Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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