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Cops, teams, fans set for Saints to come marching into new ballpark

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Expect more police on the beat at the new Saints stadium in Lowertown, as the St. Paul Police Department takes steps to make sure nothing is stolen but second base.

KSTP reports there will be a heightened police presence when 7,200-seat CHS Field opens May 21, with seven additional officers added to beef up the downtown beat. The department detailed its plans to keep a watchful eye on tens of thousands of people coming downtown to enjoy baseball and the new stadium.

Commander Dave Mathison told the station the department "has identified some key intersections for traffic flow and officers will use regular crowd control policies" as the neighborhood around the park sees the influx of people.

WCCO noted the $63 million CHS Field has already gotten a test run when the Hamline University baseball team played a few games to inaugurate the field. The Pioneer Press reported the Saints staged their first practice at the new field on Saturday.

The Pioneer Press story noted Saints fans will have a different stadium experience as the team moves from Midway Stadium, but the newspaper said many elements of the fans' game-day experience will remain, including the team's pig mascot and longtime gimmicks like massage chairs and goofy between-inning stunts.

The new stadium offers the independent-league baseball team new enclosed bullpens and indoor batting cages for the players, quite an update from the old Midway Stadium, which offered no air conditioning, even in the clubhouse.

Spectators will enjoy a grassy picnic area and a craft beer corner. CHS Field also boasts carpet with an enormous Saints logo, flat-screen TVs and leather couches. Tailgating, part of Midway Stadium ritual, is not settled yet; the team is working on agreements with some nearby parking lots, but those haven't yet been finalized.

"This is as beautiful as it gets," Saints manager George Tsamis told the Pioneer Press. "You can sit here for hours and hours and not get sick of looking at the place. We are very lucky to be here."

The Saints are planning a series of home-opener festivities, with a parade to honor politicians who made the stadium happen, plus a flame swallower and circus celebrants.

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