Saints Claim League's Top Award, Voted American Association Organization of the YearST. PAUL, MN October 6, 2015
SAINTS CLAIM LEAGUE’S TOP AWARD, VOTED AMERICAN ASSOCIATION ORGANIZATION OF THE YEAR
ST. PAUL, MN (October 6, 2015) – Awards season isn’t quite over for the St. Paul Saints. It started with the recognition of pitcher Mike Zouzalik as Rookie of the Year and then Vinny DiFazio earned American Association Player of the Year. Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager, Derek Sharrer, was honored with the league’s Executive of the Year Award. The final trophy on the mantle was claimed by the Saints as they were honored with the American Association Organization of the Year as voted on by the league’s managers and media members.
CHS Field, the jaw-dropping new Lowertown ballpark, opened to rave reviews from players, front office and media members throughout the season. The 7,210 seat ballpark provided amenities and comfort for everyone that walked through the gates this season, including visiting players.
“On behalf of the Saints ownership and staff, and our friends with CHS, it's an honor to except this wonderful award,” said Derek Sharrer, Saints Executive Vice President and General Manager. “Anytime you receive an award as voted on by your peers it means a little bit more. From our incredibly talented front office staff, to Professional Sports Catering and their hard working team, who've helped us entertain and service record crowds throughout the season; all deserve credit and our gratitude. While it may sound cliché to say this has been a team effort, there is truly no better way to describe what has happened in Lowertown Saint Paul this summer.”
The Saints were one of the top drawing teams in all of minor league baseball. They drew 404,528, an American Association record, averaged 8,091 and played to 112% capacity, tops in all of baseball. They were 10th in all of minor league baseball in average attendance (excluding Mexican League teams) and 26th in overall attendance. The Saints played 10 fewer home games than the next team on the overall attendance list, the Triple-A Columbus Clippers. The other teams ahead of the Saints on the overall attendance list played between 65-70 home games. The 53% increase in attendance from last season was second in all of minor league baseball behind the Triple-A Nashville Sounds, who increased their attendance by 62% and also opened a new ballpark. The Saints surpassed their single-game franchise record when they drew 9,960 on July 4. That record didn’t stand for long as 10,430 took in the August 20 game.
Along with its move into the state of the art CHS Field the team maintained its position at the forefront of creative and entertaining promotions that captured the attention of fans of all ages. It began with the “Saints Go Marching In Parade” that included the Mayor of Saint Paul, dignitaries and those that helped with the ballpark interspersed with a Mardi Grad style theme of jugglers, fire swallowers and burlesque dancers (family friendly of course). The on field promotions provided game long entertainment with the crowd favorite being Tales From the Bullpen/Dugout as fans learned the lighter side of the Saints team.
The Saints set a Guinness Book of World Record for largest pillow fight on July 21. A total of 6,261 people took part in the pillow fight surpassing the previous record of 4,201 that was set at a Motel 8 in Brookings, SD before a college football game.
All the old staples were back including a pig, Pablo Pigasso, delivering baseballs to the home plate umpire, Sister Roz giving her famous massages and the ushertainers interacting with fans to enhance the game experience.
On the field the Saints set numerous franchise records including most victories going an incredible 74-26 and reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Saints pitcher Kramer Sneed tied the American Association record with 15 victories while DiFazio won the batting title, finished tied for first in RBI (82) and was tied for third in home runs (17).
This is the first time in the 10-year history of the American Association that the Saints have won the Organization of the Year Award.