Minnesota Twins donate new gear to local high school baseball, softball teams
MINNEAPOLIS – While the Minnesota Twins' roster is still working through spring training in Florida, with 11 days until opening day, the club at home is making a point to take care of the community around them.
The team wants to help make an effort to grow the game. It's one thing to say that, but it's another to take direct action and work with partners to ensure this can happen.
One of the most tangible ways to do this is to alleviate the economic barrier to the game. In this case, by helping the city schools out, by making sure they have the bats, balls, gloves and other equipment they need.
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"I think as a Major League Baseball team we do have a responsibility to community," said Twins President Dave St. Peter. "This community has supported us through thick and thin since 1961."
The Twins partnered with Pitch In For Baseball and Softball to donate gear and uniforms to 43 Twin Cities teams.
"Softball is our sport. It's absolutely imperative that they have the same opportunities that baseball players have," said Twins Youth Engagement Manager Chelsey Falzone.
A level playing field is important.
"And not just getting the equipment for them, but the fact that they get like new stuff, it's awesome watching them," said Matt Grill, Harding High School's assistant varsity baseball coach. "We'll bring all our equipment home and they open up the thing and they have these brand-new gloves. Like the smiles that they have, how much they're so excited to get to practice using the new stuff."
"The bats that they gave us are really nice, they feel really nice," said Harding High School baseball player Aiden Thao.
All this equipment is about affording schools more equitable access to baseball, and making sure that equipment is not part of the barrier to entry.
"The financial challenges that these schools are facing, that their athletic programs are [facing] are also very real," St. Peter said.
"This closes it up that much more that when we go play these teams from, suburb teams that we see, 'Oh, they have the same stuff we do,'" Grill said.
This benefits more than 600 baseball and softball players, supporting their love of the game for years to come.
"It's really great for them to really step in for us and help smaller schools and really help them play baseball and stuff," Thao said.
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