St. Paul, MN
Review by Mike
CHS Field in St. Paul, Minnesota is the home of the St. Paul Saints of the AAA International League. There have been Saints in St. Paul since the turn of the last century, playing in various affiliated and independent leagues before the 2021 Minor League reorg saw their return to affiliated ball as the top farm team for the neighboring Minnesota Twins. One of their most famous moments as an independent club was when Darryl Strawberry signed with the team, hit a home run halfway to Wisconsin and was promptly sign by the Yankees.
CHS Field replaced Midway Stadium in 2015, when the team was still part of the American Association, and it is top level in every way. Located right in downtown St. Paul, very near the Mississippi River, with easy access to bridges and highways, the ballpark is easy to get into and out of.
Forgoing the usual forest green or dark blue seats, the Saints have opted for an interesting color palette, with dark and light gray seats abounding, sprinkled with seemingly random yellow seats. The facing of the upper level is also done in very dark gray, almost black, and contrasts nicely with the bright red brick buildings behind the first base side.
The underside of the upper level, and therefore the ceiling of the concourse, is done in a nice hardwood-looking material that provides warmth amongst all the monochrome. The seating bowl consists of a single level of seats, close to the field and a full walk-around concourse. The capacity seems a bit small for AAA, but that’s probably a good call considering that there is a major league team just a few miles away. Better to have a robust smaller crowd, than a half empty stadium with no atmosphere (see Smith’s Ballpark).
There are no seats along the right field fence. Instead, there is a walkway right over the home run line where fans can lean over the railing and try to snag a home run before it clangs off the railing. There are other picnic areas and party zones, but it’s all very compact and urban and close to the field. CHS Field is a really nice ballpark for a team with a long history that now is home to players just a twisted ankle, and a short cab ride, from the big leagues.