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Midway Stadium

Photo of No Wave Zone sign
Midway Stadium is a "No Wave Zone"

Fun is Good! ...and it's not called "The Midway" for nothing.

Midway Stadium is not the newest, fanciest, or prettiest. It has little history beyond the Saints (and the high school games) played here because it was landfill. What brings the throngs to the park is the carnival atmosphere every game. It is very much like an ongoing side show that could, if necessary, be packed up and moved to a new ballpark.

Here the spirit, fun and frivolity make up for an otherwise undersized and misplaced ballpark. Taking what was here and adding, even building on it is an art. Where else are people encouraged to count or wave at the freight trains passing behind the outfield fences? Where else does the community fire department regularly set buildings on fire for practice? What other stadium uses a cloth batter's eye because the outfield is used for concerts (like Bob Dylan or the B-52's) when the team is on the road. And of course no other teams has bizarre promotions like "Mime Night" or "Big Bang Night" (with free Saints whoopee cushions).

Photo of Hamilton the Pig
Hamilton visiting tailgaters (Opening Day 1999)

No other ballpark is "officially" a "No Wave Zone." Those who try to start "The Wave" will be chastised by Eric Webster on the PA system. Eric also has many other comedy bits such as "The Secret Microphone on the Mound" (when opposing managers go to the mound), calling out "train." in the middle of an announcement, or teasing other teams that they have to go back to their "little town" (compared to the big city of St. Paul).

Other problems have lead to more character(s). The big crowds lead to long lines at concession stands so there are lots of vendors. Many of them are institutions themselves.

Other nuances include the St. Paul Fire Department practice buildings beyond the right field fence. It's not unusual during a game to see a hook and ladder pull up and extend into it or see smoke and flames rise from them. During Darryl Strawberry's time as a Saint the Fire Dept. hung a banner promising to donate $15,000 to charity if he hit the five story tower (which he nearly did had a light tower not been in the way).

Photo of webmaster with pig
Webmaster looks to the skies
with the Original Saint (1993)
Note: Fire Dept. practice
building in outfield.

In the distance over the left fence is the Minnesota State Fair Grounds. Some buildings visible include the main arena, grandstand and "Space Needle." During the Fair (which causes additional congestion when the Saints play during it) you often see some of the rides or fireworks shows in the distance.

Just beyond the left field property are two main rail lines for freight trains. Throughout the game trains roar by, often honking their horns. About once per game there is the "rare double train." More amusing are those instances where the engineers stop the train and watch the game for a couple innings.

Also along the left field fence are one of the league's early hot tub "seating" sections well as the "fish house." The Fish House looks more like an elaborate tree house, but another group seating option.

Last but not least is the SS Porkchop (aka the "Pork Chop Yacht"). At one time this would be "paddlewheeler" may have floated on a river somewhere. But it's (more or less) permanently docked near the foul pole as a deck from which to watch the game.

To try covering up it's general "ugliness" nearly all exposed concrete (or other) surface has been painted over with murals by Andy Nelson, had advertising or photographs placed on it, had plants (or other usual things) hung from it, or other attempts at beautification.

Midway Memorials

Photo of Augie's hat
Augie's Hat and Plaque in the "Augie Box"

"The Augie Box"

The press box has been officially renamed "The Augie Box" in memory of St. Paul Pioneer Press sportswriter Mike Augustine. Augie's career started during the previous incarnation of the Saints. He stood out as one the few major local sportswriters to support and cover both the Saints and the league.

Mike's untimely death removed one of the best loved people in the press box where you can see this plaque. It includes has his hat hanging from it but not a stogie which he would often smoke after the end of games.

To see this plaque climb the stairs in Section F to "The Augie Box." It faces the field in the "middle" of the press box main room where you find the official scorer, some writers, visiting radio announcers, and the TV field camera.

Photo of Section Dave sign
Section J is "Section Dave"
in memory of Dave Moore

"Section Dave"

Another less obvious "memorial" is the large "Dave" sign over Section J. It is a memorial to Dave Moore, local news anchor (WCCO Channel 4) and sports fan. Dave had many memories of the original Saints as well as being local media "institution."

Dave was a Saints season ticket holder and deeply enjoyed going to Saints games. He even interviewed former minor league star Joe Hauser for the fans at the third game of the current Saints incarnation. Sadly both Dave & Augie died the same year (1997).