Midway Stadium documentary captures storied ballpark's twilight [VIDEO]
Christenson: "If this stadium isn't going to be here in a couple years, we wanted to show the historical value."
The St. Paul Saints will soon leave Midway Stadium behind for shiny new $27 million digs in Lowertown.
Most agree that's good news. But for those who have enjoyed the quirkiness of the Saints' 30-year-old ballpark, there's something sad about the end of the Midway Stadium era.
That nostalgic sentiment is captured nicely by local documentary filmmaker James Christenson of Vista Pop productions in a new piece entitled "Midway Stadium."
Here's how Vista Pop summarizes the film:
Pigs. Trains. One massaging nun. And Bill Fuckin' Murray. That's Midway Stadium, home to minor league baseball's St. Paul Saints. Built among heavy industry and a transfer rail yard, it's been called a "fairyland" and "the ugliest ballpark in America" by the same man, the infamous Son of Fun Mike Veeck, who happens to co-own the club. It's not hard to see why. Anticipating the announcement of state funding that will help build a new ballpark in trendy lowertown St. Paul and demolish Midway, we headed to the stadium to capture the space and fan experience from sunrise to midnight before it all goes away. We hope you take a trip there yourself next year.
The soundtrack for the short documentary is a sentimental Coleman Hawkins ballad. Christenson said he felt the tune perfectly captured what he felt as he filmed everything from meandering pigs to an interview with Saints co-owner Mike Veeck during a couple nights in the ballpark early last month.
The song "has such a tinge of nostalgia to it and I really think that's the primary emotion we're trying to convey," Christenson told City Pages. "The nature of jazz is improvisational and that's how we went around shooting and recording sound -- everything from the music coming out of the PAs to the crack of the bats, it helped establish the rhythm of what we were doing."
This isn't the first St. Paul-themed short documentary Vista Pop has put together -- last year, they produced "Rice Street Rocker," a film about boxer Mike Evgen.
Short documentaries "are what a lot of audiences are looking for on the internet these days," Christenson said. "It's like a song on an album verses an entire 90-minute film."
Without further ado, here's "Midway Stadium."
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