MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Twins’ second annual Hope Week concluded Saturday at Target Field, capping off a week that saw Twins players, staff and family members giving back to the local community.
Saturday’s finale involved the players’ wives filling birthday gift bags with toys for Cheerful Givers, which will eventually be given to food shelves and homeless shelters. Also this weekend, the players took part in the Field Day for the Kids, which allowed area children the opportunity to hang out with their favorite Twins players at Target Field before Friday’s game.
“That was fun,” Twins catcher Joe Mauer said of the field day. “Kids running around who don’t get a whole lot of chances to get out there on the field and get out there with big league ball players and just have a good time.”
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Twins center fielder Denard Span took part in the field day as well and played video games with children. The images were put up on the giant Target Field video screens.
“Just seeing the good spirit that they were in, you would never know that these people were in need,” Span said. “Just to be able to put a smile on their face, a couple people said this was a blessing and a dream come true for them to be on the field interacting and playing with us. It’s a good feeling when you’re able to put a smile on people’s faces.”
Earlier in the week, Mauer led an event that involved meeting with kids from the Gillette Children’s Hospital for a pizza lunch. Pitcher Carl Pavano took a group of local disadvantaged kids fishing at Lake Harriet in Minneapolis.
“The more simple you make it, the more you get out of it, I think,” Mauer said. “I thought all the events had good showings. A lot of guys in here participated, which is great. It was a good week.”
The week kicked off last Sunday with Justin Morneau’s fourth annual Casino Night, which raises money and awareness for Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. Monday involved two events — a Habitat for Humanity project during the day, and the “Hang with the Majors” event that night, which benefitted the Minnesota Military Families Foundation and the Wounded Warrior Project.
On Tuesday, manager Ron Gardenhire was joined by several current and former Twins at the VA Hospital, where they met with veterans, shared stories and signed autographs.
With plenty of events throughout the Twin Cities, the Twins were well represented this week as they gave back to their local community.
“It’s a busy week, but it’s nice to get out in the community and make a difference,” Mauer said. “We’re in a really good position to give back and make a difference in our community. It’s a way for us to show our appreciation for fans supporting us, too.”