SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Brian Glowicki woke up on Tuesday morning nearly 250 miles from home. He rolled out of bed, put on his mask, and drove a couple of miles away to grab a bite at a nearby diner.
“No continental breakfast at this hotel,” Glowicki explained with a laugh. “Just trying to make the most of it right now.”
This is life for members of the St. Paul Saints for the foreseeable future as they slowly adapt to their new home of Sioux Falls, S.D.
With the Twin Cities still under certain restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Saints aren’t allowed to host games until Gov. Tim Walz deems it safe. So, instead of living in the Twin Cities and playing in front of packed crowds CHS Field, the Saints are hunkering down at Sioux Falls Stadium, home of the Canaries and locally referred to as the Birdcage.
Maybe soon enough the Saints will be using that terminology, as well. They’re now locals, after all.
It’s a weird feeling for longtime Saints manager George Tsamis, especially after the team won its first championship in more than a decade last season.
“We would much rather be playing at home. Who wouldn’t?” Tsamis said. “Hopefully at some point, we can get back to CHS Field and be playing there. We remain hopeful that’s what will happen. In the meantime, we are really happy to be on the field.”
That’s the biggest takeaway for everyone as the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball might be the only professional league in the country playing right now. To make that happen, a half dozen teams are sharing a ballpark. The Winnipeg Goldeyes has teamed with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, and the Chicago Dogs paired off with the Milwaukee Milkmen.
“I’m grateful that I’m able to play in any capacity right now,” said Glowicki, who played collegiately at the University of Minnesota. “We are used to the grind of being on the road, and it’s exciting to be able to play again.”
Still, Glowicki admitted he is a little bummed not to be playing closer to home. He lives in the Twin Cities with his girlfriend, Maddie, and their yellow lab Zeus and was looking forward to being able to see them regularly.
“It would’ve been awesome to have an opportunity to see them every night,” he said. “We are definitely hopeful that we get to play in our home stadium at some point. We have been pushing for it. Let’s hope it works out.”
For now, the Saints are staying in a hotel, and even when they travel for road trips within the league, they don’t have to check out of their rooms. Asked about the living situation, outfielder Max Murphy likened it to any other season.
“It’s really not that much different living here now,” he said. “I’d say pretty much every season I go wherever they tell me to go. This feels like pretty much every other small town I’ve played in before. I’m just doing whatever I can to try to get to the next level.”
That’s something to which Glowicki can attest. He spent last season in the Chicago Cubs farm system and shared a spot with a half dozen other teammates.
“Even that didn’t totally feel like home to me,” Glowicki said. “It kind of always felt like I was living out of a suitcase because then we travel and I’m back in a hotel. That’s kind of how I’m looking at it right now. It’s not too bad.”
Plus, the Saints spend most of their days at the ballpark, anyway. It’s not like they are missing out on too much being nearly 250 miles from home.
“You grab a bite to eat in the morning and maybe grab lunch and then head to the field,” Tsamis. “It’s the same thing in pretty much every city. And I’m not a guy that goes out too much, anyway. We spend a lot of time at the field during the season, so this isn’t much different.”
Not that he wouldn’t love to be back at CHS Field as soon as possible.
“Make no mistake about it,” Tsamis said. “We want to be playing at home, especially in that beautiful stadium. Until that time comes, we will go out there and play hard every day and try to win as many games as possible.”
Just another chance for the Saints to make a name for themselves.
“We all have dreams of making it to the next level,” Glowicki said. “That means we have to take advantage of every opportunity no matter where it is.”