The St. Paul Saints open their 21st season at Midway Stadium tonight, starting the 2013 schedule against the New Jersey Jackals.
Mark Hamburger is the Saints starting pitcher tonight. He's a Mounds View graduate hoping to earn his way back to the major leagues. In February, Hamburger, 26, was suspended for 50 games from organized baseball for marijuana use.
He'll be under the wing of former major league reliever Kerry Ligtenberg, the Saints' pitching coach.
Ligtenberg, a Park of Cottage Grove graduate, tells the Pioneer Press that Hamburger's stuff "is better than half of the guys in the big leagues. It's just a matter of him keeping his head on right and doing his work."
Hamburger is one of nine Minnesotans on the Saints roster, the most in nine years.
Outside the foul lines, the franchise will ham it up again this year ... bringing back a pig mascot (Mackleboar is the name, picked from more than 600 entries), along with a slate of special nights at the ballpark. Among our favorites:
May 17: This is Twinkie Territory! The first 10,00 fans recieve the last remaining Hostess Twinkies and Cup Cakes.
June 7: Law Enforcement Appreciation Night. Why? It's National Donut Day!
June 25: There's no such thing as a free Craigslist item. Except the 1,000 free Craigslist items to be given away tonight!
July 20: Many more days until Star Wars Episode 7 it is. Celebrate anyway with Parsons Electric we will.
And ... there are many more. The full slate is right here.