Saints' gimmick jabs at Senate race

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The St. Paul Saints are taking advantage of the seemingly never-ending U.S. Senate race in Minnesota.

The first 2,500 fans at Saturday's game against the Sioux Falls Canaries will get a bobblehead doll that is dressed as Count von Count, one of the characters from the children's show "Sesame Street."

The Saints' version of the doll, however, is named Count von "Re-Count," with the face of Republican candidate Norm Coleman on one side, and the face of Democrat Al Franken on the other.

The two have been locked in a bitter scrap for the U.S. Senate seat since Election Day, trying the patience of the state's residents with recounts, recriminations and accusations about absentee ballots.

The Saints, an independent minor league team, said third-party candidate Dean Barkley will throw out the first pitch.

"The Saints have really outdone themselves with this one," Barkley said on the team's Web site. "I am glad, however, they decided not to make this a talking doll. Norm-Al will look great on someone's shelf -- silently."

Saints fans will be asked to choose to spin the bobblehead doll's head to either Coleman or Franken, and the team will have attorneys present to help with the count. According to the Web site, "challenges may be submitted to the Saints Fan Services Booth in written or oral form."

A three-judge panel had ruled in April, after a seven-week election trial, that Franken was the winner of the Senate seat by 312 votes. Coleman appealed the ruling, and the state Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments for June 1.

The team said -- facetiously? -- on its Web site that it will make the result of the Saints game official sometime in mid-June -- about when the real-life court is expected to wrap up the results of the appeal.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.