St. Paul Saints will play for Duck, Duck, Glory this summer

IMAGE: St. Paul Saints

You remember the game. Everyone sits in a circle on the floor. One kid walks around the exterior of the circle tapping each person on the head while saying “Duck” each time.

“Duck, Duck, Duck, Duck …”

Until finally, the kid taps another kid on the head and says something different. The utterance of this word demands that the tagged person leap up from their place on the floor. They must catch the person before they run all the way around the circle to take their spot. If they fail, they must assume that person’s duties of tapping people on the head while saying, “Duck, Duck, Duck …” And so forth.

So, which word serves as the catalyst for this flurry of activity? Well, that depends on where you’re from. For most of the United States that word is simple and incontrovertible. The word is “Goose.” As in the game’s common name: “Duck, Duck, Goose.”

But in parts of Minnesota, the game plays out differently. We have the ducks, but no geese. The tagged individual leaps into action when they hear the words “Gray Duck.” As in, “Duck, Duck, Gray Duck.”

If you follow “Minnesota Twitter,” you know this topic blows up periodically in a storm of controversy. No one wants to admit that their childhood nostalgia is wrong. So people who believe in “Goose” regard the “Gray Ducks” as crazy. “Grey Ducks” believe they are superior, despite being overwhelmingly outnumbered in nearly every corner of the continent.

Again, the “Gray Duck” phenomenon is largely based in Minnesota, with slight spillage into neighboring states. However, “Gray Duck” is not ubiquitous in Minnesota. I attended school in the small hay-farming community of Cherry on the Mesabi Iron Range. We said “Goose,” as did many of the people I know who grew up on the Iron Range.

Anyway, this debate won’t be solved anytime soon. But the St. Paul Saints, the minor league baseball team in our state’s capital, is cashing in on the controversy.

On Aug. 19, the St. Paul Saints will host the Cleburne (Texas) Railroaders for a late summer ballgame. But for that game only, the two teams will play under different names. The Saints will be the “Duck, Duck, Gray Ducks” while Cleburne will be the “Duck, Duck, Goose.”

This social media-conscious publicity stunt was born of a contest in which Minnesotans could pick a new name for the Saints for one game this summer.

The Saints took to social media to decide the name for the night.  The staff narrowed down the list of 50 names to five finalists and fans had the opportunity to vote on the Saints Facebook page from the following five names: St. Paul Duck, Duck Gray Ducks, St. Paul Holy Buckets, Minnesota Nice, St. Paul Gutteral Uff Da’s and Minnesota Cabin Goers.  In a landslide, with more than 1,000 “likes,” St. Paul Duck, Duck Gray Ducks outdistanced itself from the other four.  Per a fans suggestion the Saints decided to ask the Railroaders if they would change their name to the “Duck, Duck Goose” for a night and a one game rivalry was born.  Following the game the two teams will battle it out in an actual game of Duck, Duck Gray Duck (this is Minnesota, so Duck, Duck Goose will not be allowed).

As you might imagine, there is a tremendous marketing tie-in here.

During the August 19 game both teams uniforms will be auctioned off.  In addition, fans can purchase t-shirts at the souvenir shop of the five finalists, plus the Duck, Duck Goose team name.

You can find more information here.

As for me, I would consider paying to see professional athletes play “Duck, Duck, [redacted]. That could be exciting. And I’d definitely bring my glove so I could try to catch a fowl ball.


  1. The St. Paul jersey depicted reads “Duck, Duck, Gray Ducks,” and the title underneath it says “ST. PAUL DUCK DUCK GRAY DUCKS.” Which of course is what they should say.

    So it’s a little mind-blowing that the blog post refers to the latter category of waterfowl as “Grey Duck”s no fewer than SEVEN times.

    Misspellings are embarrassing enough in ordinary circumstances–but when the word in question is spelled correctly, over and over again, in the source material (check out the block-quoted text–three more correct spellings there!), it’s just hard to fathom.

    • Well aren’t you just a ray of sunshine. “Grey” and “Gray” are interchangeable in the English language, so “hard to fathom” is a stretch. You are right that Gray was used in the jerseys and pictures. I didn’t notice that because I tend to use “Grey.” I’ll make the correction to match the style used in the jerseys and press release.

      • David Gray says

        Shockingly I tend to use “gray.” 🙂

        When I lived in the UK it seemed like the tendency, and it was only a tendency, that Scotland tended to use Gray and England tended to use Grey.

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