June 17, 2005

What Will Happen to the Metrodome?

The Pontiac SilverdomeWith all the stadium talk nobody ever discusses what will become of the Metrodome, the perfectly useful stadium that's barely 25 years old. A similar stadium has met a similar fate: The Pontiac Silverdome outside Detroit. It was once home to the NBA's Pistons and the NFL's Lions. Now both teams have swanky new homes (sort of: the Pistons moved out in 1988).

The Silverdome has drive thru movies in the parking lot and rollerblades in its concourse. It will probably be torn down next year.

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June 2, 2005

Fishing For Life: Score a Total Gym Makeover for the Ober Center

KTIS Faith and Family Night presenting Fishing for Life with Go FishAttend a Minnesota Lynx game on Saturday, June 4 and you could help score a new gym for the Union Gospel Mission. It's part of Faith and Family Night presented by KTIS, the Minnesota Lynx, Fishing for Life and featuring a concert by Twin Cities natives Go Fish.

The WNBA is offering a $25,000 gym renovation as part of their Court of Dreams sales promotion. Whichever community group sells the most group tickets to a single game across the league will win. Last fall KTIS won the promotion after selling 3,467 tickets to a Lynx vs. Storm game and concert by the Christian group FFH. The new basketball court went to Total Victory Church in Minneapolis.

This year KTIS and the Lynx are partnering with the Union Gospel Mission and if they win the gym renovation will go to the Ober Center in St. Paul. The game that counts is this Saturday, June 4 at 7:00 p.m., the Minnesota Lynx vs. the Charlotte Sting. Go Fish will sing the national anthem and perform a post-game concert. Fishing For Life will be promoting their upcoming Fish-a-Thon and offering fishing activities for kids before the game.

How to Order
You can order tickets by calling the Lynx/Timberwolves Christian Community Program at 612-673-1225 or ordering online (though I'm told you get a better seat selection by calling). If you buy tickets through Ticketmaster or at the gate they will not count towards this promotion. Tickets start at $10.

Other Ways to Help
You can also sponsor tickets for the Union Gospel Mission, buying $10 tickets that will be distributed for free to people the Union Gospel Mission serves. This tax-deductible donation is a great way to give people a night out who otherwise couldn't afford to go. Businesses are encouraged to donate.

In addition, the Union Gospel Mission is accepting donations to help remodel the Ober Center.

The Ober Center
Located in the Frogtown neighborhood just west of downtown St. Paul, the Ober Center houses the Promise Program, an office training program for women, and the King Family Foundation Child Development Center, a toddler and pre-school daycare center run by Bethel University. Until recently the Salvation Army also ran after school programs at the Ober Center, though the Union Gospel Mission has been remodeling the Ober Center for new ministry.

My wife works at the King CDC and they often use the gym when the weather prohibits them from going outside. Just last week when I picked my wife up I saw the inside of the gym for the first time and realized just how badly it could use a renovation. It's the size of a single basketball court with absolutely no windows and severe cracks in the walls. It's like stashing neighborhood kids away in the basement.

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May 7, 2005

Saints Play at Sunrise

Nothing says Happy Mother's Day like a sunrise baseball game. The St. Paul Saints will be playing a 5:30 a.m. game against the Sioux Falls Canaries on Sunday, May 8: Mother's Day. It will be the earliest starting time ever for a pro baseball game, and the first time a ball game started under the lights and finished in daylight.

So why are they doing it? A portion of the ticket sales will go to the Foundation Fighting Blindness and Darkness to Light, a non-profit organization that teaches adults how to protect children from sexual abuse. That and it sounds goofy, which is sort of the modus operandi for the Saints.

As a special bonus, fans who attend Saturday's game can stay overnight at the stadium and sleep on the field.

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May 2, 2005

St. Paul Saints Looking for Baseball Players

Speaking of the Saints, they're looking for a few good men. The minor league team is holding open tryouts tomorrow morning, Tuesday May 3 at 9:00 a.m. Registration begins at 8:30. Bring your own glove and cleats.

In previous years the Saints have actually offered on the spot contracts to several players at their tryouts.

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Minor League Ball, Major League Business

Newsweek covers the booming business of minor league baseball, which owes a major tip of the hat to actor Bill Murray and his fellow co-owners of the St. Paul Saints, one of the teams that started the minor league turnaround.

The charm of attending a Saints game is what it's all about. The smaller, more personable stadium lets the sun shine down on the field like it's supposed to, a far cry from the astroturf and indoor lighting of the Twins and their Metrodome. Then there's the goofy between innings antics and the announcer who deadpans, "Train" every time a train rumbles by the outfield fence, which happens several times a game. It's baseball the way it's supposed to be.

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