A few weeks ago, our La Velle E. Neal III reported that the Twins and Saints were working on a deal to have St. Paul replace Rochester (N.Y.) as the organization's Triple-A affiliate — a fairly seismic shakeup for the two biggest baseball entities in the Twin Cities.
While a lot of questions remain — including how to finance the up to $20 million required to become an affiliate and exactly what becoming an affiliated team would mean for the Saints' brand — we seem to be inching closer to a final decision.
Baseball America, which has been ahead on the reporting on the massive nationwide overhaul of the minor league affiliate system, reported recently that a full list of 120 affiliates for the 30 MLB clubs could be announced this week.
But in between La Velle's report a few weeks ago and the official announcement sometime in the near future, the Twins-Saints story was advanced in a different way — via a hat tip, literally and figuratively, from Twins manager Rocco Baldelli.
In a video message posted on Twitter on Saturday, Baldelli thanked Twins fans for their support, told them how much the Twins miss them and reminded them that because of Covid-19 the organization had to cancel TwinsFest and the Winter Caravan this season.
The text of the 88 second video was nice. The subtext was far more interesting.
In the video, Baldelli is wearing a vintage St. Paul Saints cap. If that was some sort of mistake, I'm sure Baldelli wouldn't have tweeted it out — nor would the Twins' official Twitter account have retweeted it just minutes after he sent it.
So we are left with the possibility that it's just a massive coincidence and Rocco just likes vintage caps … or that the Twins-Saints affiliation is close enough to being a done deal that Baldelli is already wearing the merchandise of the new Class AAA team.
"I'm really excited to see what the Twins have in store and are coming up with right now," Baldelli says in the video.