Why Saints fans won’t see the downtown skyline

A sharp-eyed Stadium Watch reader spotted something he didn’t like in the latest architectural concept drawings of the new Saints ballpark.

I’ve noticed in renderings of the stadium’s orientation, the beautiful downtown St. Paul skyline is ignored. Sitting in the stands behind home plate will give fans a nice view of the Pigs Eye Sewage Treatment plant and other industrial sites along the rail lines south of the stadium.

Has anyone questioned this orientation issue with the Saints, the City of St. Paul or the site developers?

Sincerely,
Marvin Welinski
Resident of Plymouth, MN

St. Paul released this architectural rendering of the new ballpark on Tuesday.

 

The ballpark site sits on the edge of downtown St. Paul, and the stands face east, away from the tall buildings.

But while re-orienting the field might be good for fans, it would cause major problems for the players — in particular those at bat, ballpark architect Logan Gerken explained.

Because baseball games are held in the afternoon and evening, the sun will always be in the west, and the goal is to keep it from shining right in the batter’s eyes.

“The players on the field have their hats. They can wear sunglasses. They can shield their eyes,” Gerken said. “Whereas the batter, they’re really at the mercy of staring at the pitcher.”

A sketch from the Greater Lowertown Master Plan shows the approximate easterly orientation of the ballpark.

 

That’s why Major League Baseball’s official rules say it’s “desirable that the line from home base through the pitchers plate to second base shall run East-Northeast.”

Even in the big leagues, plenty of teams ignore that dictum, but none makes sluggers stare directly into the setting sun, no matter the vista.