ST. PAUL, MN (April 16, 2013) – In ballparks across the country, “Three Blind Mice” often blares over the speakers when they are introduced. Fans will heckle them, managers will argue with them and every close call they make is scrutinized. The men in blue on a baseball field often wish they could disappear when thousands of people are against them. The St. Paul Saints will make that happen for one game during the 2013 season.
The Saints “Umpireless Game” presented by Hamline University will take place on Saturday, May 11 in a game against the Gary SouthShore Railcats. In this unique twist a judge in a robe will stand behind the pitcher’s mound calling ball and strikes strikes while a jury of both teams “peers” will act as the base umpires. The Killebrew Box Seats, which are designated seating areas on the first and third base side at field level, will have 12 Little Leaguers in each area deciding if runners are safe or out. There will be no hung jury, as majority will rule, but any ties will be decided by the judge on the field
Instead of “Play Ball” hollered by an umpire, the judge will pound a gavel on home plate to signify the beginning of the game. The players on the field will not be the only ones who will have a judge and jury preside over the proceedings. Fans will have an opportunity to take their disputes to a “judge” that will be set up on the walkway in the main seating bowl of the stadium.
While umpires have arbitrated games since 1876 there has never been a game void of umpires. Networks use technology to define the strike zone and slo-mo instant replay is used to show viewers if runners are safe or out, but ultimately umpires have the final say. The Saints and Hamline University are using the rules of the courtroom for one day to decide everything on the diamond.
Hamline University is the top-ranked university in Minnesota in its class according to U.S.News & World Report has also been named a “best value” school. Founded in 1854, Hamline is also Minnesota’s first university, and among the first co-educational institutions in the nation.
“We respect all baseball umpires and believe this promotion will allow our ‘jurors’ and both teams to realize how important they really are to the game,” said Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Derek Sharrer. “This is something that has never been attempted before and I think it will make for an interesting and intriguing nine innings of baseball.”
The Saints and Railcats will play a 7:35 p.m. game at Midway Stadium with gates opening at 6:35 p.m. Tickets for Saints home games are $5 for general admission, $8 for outfield reserved and $12 for infield reserved. Tickets purchased on the Day of the Game are an additional $1 per ticket. Tickets to the July 6 and September 1 Fireworks Super Show are an additional $3. Children under the age of 14 and seniors 65 and older receive $1 off the admission price. Children under 2 that don’t require a seat are free. Tickets are available by contacting the Saints ticket office at 651-644-6659 or visiting saintsbaseball.com.