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'Pablo Pigasso' will help Saints settle into new home in St. Paul's art district

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The St. Paul Saints think the new ballpark where they'll play their first regular season game Thursday is a masterpiece.

So who better to help with the housewarming than Pablo Pigasso?

The baseball team introduced this year's four-legged mascot Wednesday, explaining that Pablo will be a season-long reminder of the Lowertown district's tradition as a haven for artists.

Lowertown, a warehouse district that built up around the city's steamboat landing before the Civil War, is home to CHS Field, the new home of the Saints.

The tradition of having a pig deliver baseballs to home plate started when the Saints were revived in 1993 and colorful names for the swine quickly became part of the fun, as well.

WCCO says there were 1,400 entries in this year's name-the-pig contest.

A rundown of previous names shows they started innocuously enough with one called The Saint. But by the time Hamlet came along in 1997, the name game was on. (We like 2003's Piggy Smalls – The Notorious P.I.G., although Kevin Bacon and Garrison Squeallor are up there, too.)

The Saints say runners-up in this year's naming contest included Piggy Azalea, Mears Pork (after a park at the center of Lowertown), and Jon Hamm/Mud Men.

Thursday's grand opening of CHS Field is a watershed event for Lowertown. Roger Nielsen, who opened Master Framers in the area four decades ago, tells the Pioneer Press: "There's a real excitement in Lowertown that I've never felt before."

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