Photo and story by Gordy Jones
The Twins’ organization and players are very generous with their time, all year long, when it comes to raising awareness and funds for those in need. Once a year, however, they string together a series of worthwhile events within a week, and they call it the Twins’ Week of Hope.
On Monday, the Twins’ flagship radio station in Minneapolis, K-TWIN, sponsored a golf scramble to raise money for Spare Key. When a child is seriously ill andhis or her parents are spending time away from work to focus on helping their child recover and heal, Spare Key will make their mortgage payments. Such events raise great awareness for such organizations. Example: Before this event, I had never heard of Spare Key, and now I have…and so have you.
The golf outing, which had as its special guest, 70′s rock star Eddie Money, was a huge success. Many local personalities were on hand volunteering, to make sure that it was.
Led by Brian Duensing and Josh Willingham, some of the players and their wives got together to stuff gift bags for Cheerful Givers. Cheerful Givers is a great charity that many baseball families across the country support. The bags, which are filled with really nice toys, games, and books, will be delivered to a food shelf. Parents in need will have access to these bags to give to their children on their birthdays.
Another cool event was the Joe Mauer pizza party for patients and their families from Gillette Children’s Hospital. The only wrinkle in this event was that it was to be held on the grass at Target Field, but it was moved indoors to the Legends Club because of rain. However, not one child was disappointed. Many of these kids have
been through a lot: illnesses, surgeries, and more. But the only emotion they felt during this party was joy. Every child wore an expression of pure delight, and most of them wore Mauer shirts, too. Some brought gloves and balls, and they were all given caps, and a few other Twins novelties.
As long as I’ve known Joe, every time I attend an event like this with him, I am even more amazed. At this pizza party, Joe sat at every table and talked to every kid. And when Joe talks to a kid, he is that child’s best friend. He talks from his heart about everything: baseball, health, family, whatever the child wishes. No one else exists for that moment; it is just Joe and the children. Twins front-office people worry about the schedule and sometimes try to speed things up, but the children are Joe’s priority. And this group was extra-special to him, as his wife, Maddie, has been a nurse at Gillette for many years.
While making the rounds, he came across a set of cute little twin boys, decked out in
Mauer jerseys, with caps, gloves and balls, and, unfortunately, matching wheelchairs. The boys’ mother said, “Tell Joe what you wished for this morning.” One of the youngsters replied, “I wished I could play catch with Joe Mauer.” At that, Joe squatted down into a catcher’s crouch and proceeded to play catch with both of them.
Joe had support at this indoor picnic from teammates Brian Duensing, Chris Parmelee, Chris Herrmann, P.J. Walters, Glen Perkins, and T.C. Bear.
During the Week of Hope, manager Ron Gardenhire, who was raised in a military family, took some of his crew and visited the Veterans Administration Hospital. Ron is very big into supporting the troops.
Twins front-office staff visited Feed My Starving Children to prepare food for shipment to developing nations.
Players, front-office staff, and coaches all participated in this special week some way, but then again, they do this all year long. Hopefully this’ll carry over to the field — we have an organization filled with winners!