When Gemini and Saints unveiled their new partnership last December during a Zoom teleconference with the media, both sides made one thing very clear: The “Fun is Good” mantra that the Saints guided would not change, and no one wanted it. …
The Saints may no longer be independent, joining the Major League baseball umbrella as a Triple-A Gemini affiliate, but they will still be the same quirky, fun-loving team that fans in sister cities have loved over the decades.
A season after the partnership began, the Saints were left on their own – with only promising Gemini, and occasionally with major league members on field rehab activities – and the Gemini benefited a lot from having their main partner nearby.
“It had several different aspects, right?” Saints executive vice president and general manager Derek Scharrer said. “There was a local relationship with the Twins here in terms of business, there was a partnership with the players as a Triple-A partner, and then of course there was a relationship with Major League Baseball and participation in 120 subsidiary teams. (We are) very happy with how things went this first season. ”
It was the same with the Gemini, who had extra time deciding on player deals, and who could provide players shuttling between main and minor players some stability away from the field. Instead of walking from hotel to hotel, players were able to find a place in the sister cities where they could stay throughout the year, no matter which team they played for.
The proximity also made the Gemini front office more convenient as the organization’s player development staff and coordinators became more frequent.
“I think the unexpected part, at least to me, was the relative connection with the employees,” said Derek Falvey, president of the Twins baseball division. “I know we didn’t have a full coordinator trip this year because of the nature of it. Seeing how these people come into our office and to some extent around, I kind of expected it, but seeing it live, knowing what it looks like, was a real positive moment. ”
With Target Field and CHS Field less than 20 minutes apart, the Twins are the closest major league team to their Triple-A affiliate, and all the benefits they expected from it they got.
“I think it is probably difficult to even put into words how important and how effective it is for us to not just have a Triple-A branch in such close proximity, but also be able to work only with a great organization and – a well-organized organization, – said Twins manager Rocco Baldelli. “This is a luxury that no one can take advantage of. No one. And we were able to consolidate and shape this relationship, which, I hope, will last forever. ”
And why not? The relationship so far has been a win-win for everyone.
While Scharrer said it was a period of adaptation for players – the Saints in-game presentation offers something different from what they’ve seen in other parks across the country – he thanked Saints manager Toby Gardenshire and his staff for helping make this transition smooth. especially during the year when front office and player interaction was limited due to concerns over COVID-19.
While attendance for the Saints was high while they were an independent team, Scharrer said there was new energy in the game, especially when major league players like Byron Buxton came to rehab. The Saints finished the season with a record 67-63.
“(There was) a new level of buzz about baseball that wasn’t much when we were an independent team,” Scharrer said. “There was always a hype about going to the Saints games, but you could feel the excitement about what was going on between the white lines and it was a lot of fun.”
After all, entertainment is what you would expect at CHS Field.
“I know the people who come to the games have responded to what the Saints are doing, and they have responded very well, appearing for so long that you know people love it,” Baldelli said. “Is this an amendment for guys who have been in professional baseball at the Triple-A, Major League level to go and see this kind of thing? Of course, this is different. But I think our game could use some things that are different and some shake-ups to make people have fun. I mean, that’s the whole point of it all. ”