Technology and Baseball: The Best of Both Worlds — Bilal El-Ghandour

When I was growing up, my favorite thing in the world was baseball. Watching it, playing it, talking about it – I loved it all. And being born and raised in Minnesota, naturally, I was a huge Twins fan. I had the same dream that so many other kids had: to play baseball for their hometown team.

When I got to high school, I realized this probably wasn’t going to happen. I started thinking about other things I loved to do that I could pursue a career in. It wasn’t until my third try picking a major that I found information technology– something I truly loved.

When I saw that my favorite sports team was accepting applications for a technology intern, I jumped at the opportunity. A month later, I went in for my interview, and left cautiously optimistic. When Tony Persio called me another month later, offering me the position, I was elated.

These first five months have flown by. It’s been an amazing experience so far. I’ve learned so much and met so many wonderful people in such a short amount of time. From setting up the technology at Twins Fest, to helping Joe Vavra with his printer, to participating in the critically acclaimed “Tech Talk,” it’s all been awesome. I get to do what I love for the team that I love, and I love it.


Off To The Races!

Mascot Race- Madeline

Everyone loves a good mascot race at Target Field! On Opening Day Twinterns were the ones who donned the mascot costumes and raced each other along the warning track. Interns who participated were Tessa Sassolino (Marketing Intern), Mitch Kukay (Operations Intern), Jack Hogan (Business Strategy & Analytics Intern), Samantha Kleiner (Call Center Intern), and Dylan Cyr (Operations Intern). 

“You’re Serving Hot Dogs At What Time?!” – Tessa Sassolino

Breakfast on the Plaza

That was probably the main question people asked when I told them that I would be volunteering for my first Breakfast on the Plaza from 6:00-9:00am on the Twins Home Opener. Granola bars, peanuts, chips, Hi-Chew, coffee, bratwursts, Dilly bars, and every baseball fan’s favorite food—hot dogs—were passed out to fans as they walked by or drove down 7th Street in preparation for Opening Day. I’ve volunteered at outdoor races, cheerleading competitions, and parades but nothing has compared to the energy and excitement that came with my first Breakfast on the Plaza.

One thing to note is that when you arrive to the office (or field) and its 5:30 a.m. and still dark out, you get to see some people’s true morning personalities shine through. You have the Ten Cups of Coffee Drinkers, the Sleeping Standing Up-ers, the Everyday Early Birds, and a very specific, special category I like to consider myself a part of—the “I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it” type of morning person. We may have surprised and exhausted some people with our never ending energy, but it was all worth it. From dancing like Elvis while waving cars through the line and whipping out full blown cheers such as “To the G to the O, Yell Go Twins Go!”, Station #2 never had a dull moment.

This was one of the first times many of the Twinterns finally got to work together and also one of our first times getting to interact with the fans. From petting Twins fans’ dogs, to high-fiving children on their way to school and even receiving some unexpected flowers, I wouldn’t have wanted to start my summer with the Twins any other way.

My Top 5 Moments as a Twintern- Kaela Anderson

With the 2014 season in the rearview mirror, I decided to look back and pick out my favorite moments as a Twintern. Throughout the year, I have gained so many new, transferable skills and also made a ton of new friends and connections. It will be difficult to leave, however, I know that I will always have the following experiences to remind me of the great times I had as a Twintern.

5. Running the Mascot Race

In the middle of the 4th inning during the second game of the season, I was fortunate enough to be selected to run the Target Field Mascot Race. I was Wanda the Walleye. I had two goals for the race: to win, and to not fall. Unfortunately, I took third, but managed to keep both feet (or fins) on the ground!

4. ASG Color Run

On the morning of Sunday, July 13th, I got to run my first ever Color Run! The 5k began at 8:00am sharp. There were more than 27,000 runners entered in the race (which shattered MLB’s previous record). During the race, fellow Twinterns and I ran through different color stations. Eventually, we looked like some pretty sweaty, tired, rainbows. It was a great race to be a part of and an even better way to get the All-Star Week festivities started.

3. Singing the 7th Inning Stretch

During the last home game of the season, the Twinterns were selected to sing the 7th Inning Stretch near the Great Clips seats at Target Field. All of us wanted to out-do the 2013 Twinterns, so we sang as loudly as we could! It was really cool to see all of our shining faces on the big scoreboard in center field and also a great way for us to end an amazing season.

2. On-Field Employee Recognition

Also during the last home game of the season, all Twins employees were recognized on the field prior to game start. Employees from each department were chosen to stand on the field with the starting lineup at their respective positions. During this time, the fans stood and clapped for us and all that we had done to make this season such a success. It was so amazing to see the fans cheering for us! This moment made all of my jobs, assignments and duties throughout the season worth it.

1. Meeting former Twin, Jim Thome during ASG

Jim Thome partook in the 2014 Celebrity Softball Game as part of All-Star Week at Target Field. One of my duties was to greet the celebrities and baseball legends at the loading dock and take them to their locker rooms or meetings prior to the softball game. The first guest I got to meet was Jim Thome. He walked through the door and had the biggest smile on his face and acted as if we had already met. Jim was great to work with and I was so elated that I met one of the greatest baseball players in history.

Twinterns Take to the Mic

September 24th marked the final 2014 home game for the Minnesota Twins. That means it was also the final game for the 2014 Twintern class. But don’t worry, we made sure to go out with style!

The Twinterns stepped up to the mic and sang “Take me out to the Ballgame” during the 7th inning stretch.

How’d it go? Here’s a recap:

It was a tough test, but we were up for it.


As long as we got a chance to warm up first.


There were a couple of late arrivals.


Sure, they distracted us- but we also were excited.

Kiara and Cassie

So excited!

Kirsten and David

Ok now, focus up and start the countdown.

It’s time to sing in…Three!






While singing, we used our brains.

use your head

But what really got us through was swaying together!


Well most of us at least…


It was tough, but we made it through!

all done

And after? We danced!

dancing Sondra

…and danced

Guys dancind

…and danced some more!

Dancing Sondra 2

Now that our internships are almost over and we’ll be looking for other jobs, I think it’s safe to say that most of us can rule out ‘vocalist’ as a profession. But just in case anyone wants to try, they now have an audition tape! Check it out:

Blueberries- an original song

With the 2014 Twintern season nearing an end, this video needed to be shared of the Twins Social Media Intern, Rachel, and her sister jamming out about Blueberries. Enjoy!

Minimum Wager$ Be Crazy

Every year the Pohlad Companies hold a Charity Softball Tournament. This year the Twinterns had two teams- Pitches Be Crazy & Minimum Wager$. The Twintern teams went a combined 0-6 in the tournament, but that doesn’t mean much to us. It was a great day of fun, sun and softball. We’ll lose for charity any day!

Twintern teams

True to the Name Twintern

One in every 30 United States births results in twins. So of the 30 Twins’ interns, that means at least one intern should be a twin, right?

Well, it turns out that we stay pretty true to the name ‘Twinterns’ around here. The percentage of twins in the Twins Intern Class is higher than the  U.S. average, naturally. In fact, the odds happen to be 4 times greater. That’s right, of the 30 Twinterns, 4 have twins! Go figure.

Luckily for Twins executives, they haven’t had to worry about these four Twinterns pulling the ole’ switcheroo on them at work. All four are fraternal twins and, they’ll be the first to tell you, they don’t think they look the same at all. But be the judge for yourself.

Sondra & Alex Ciesielski

Twintern: Sondra, Community Relations

Twin: Alex, Student at The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse studying Early Childhood Education

Born: 11/13/1991 in Minneapolis, MN

Older twin: Alex (by 7 min.)

Chelsey & Frank Falzone

Twintern: Chelsey, Twins Productions

Twin: Frank, Forester in Mount Hood, OR

Born: 8/10/1992 in St. Paul, MN

Older twin: We were C-sectioned, but technically, Frank. They just happened to pull him out two min. earlier.

Patrick & Michael Stumpf

Twintern: Patrick, Baseball Communications

Twin: Michael, works for AmeriCorp in Chicago

Born: 11/15/1990 in Milwaukee, WI

Older twin: Michael (by 8 min.)

Adam & Taylor Van Clay

Twintern: Adam, Corporate Partnerships

Twin: Taylor, 2nd grade teacher at Seven Hills Elementary

Born: 7/2/1990 in Edina, MN

Older twin: Taylor (by 5 min.)

Are there other twins, multiples in your family?

SC: Not that I know of.

CF: Nope – nada,we were test tube babies so that could be why.

PS: Yes, identical girl cousins (Mom’s sister-in-law).

AVC: Nope, just us.

Did your parents try to  dress you alike growing up?

SC: Growing up we dressed alike with the same colors in our outfits but that quickly stopped the older we got.

CF: No, but I stole all of his clothes anyway because I wanted to be a boy just like he was. I just loved him so much.

PS: We dressed alike once in a while, not usually though!

AVC: No, thankfully!

What is your favorite part of having a twin?

SC: You can never truly be bored. I also enjoy showing pictures of him to people because they’re always surprised to see what he looks like.

CF: You always have someone to go through life with you. When my friends and boyfriends have wronged me, I can always come crawl to my brother and he will pick me right back up. We go through things together, and although not always at the same time, we always understand where each other is at.

PS: It was cool to have a sixth sense about certain things. Sometimes we would be singing the same song in different parts of our house and walk into each other singing it. Weird stuff like that.

AVC: When I figure one out I’ll let you know.

What’s the worst part about being a twin?

SC: Sharing things; if he gets something I have to get something or else it’s just unfair. It’s just a natural reaction.

CF: I always intimidate Frank’s girlfriends just because I’m the same age. They think I’m so scary (I think because Frank and I are so tight). Back off Barbie!!!!

PS: Living in the same/connected room through high school. It got old after a while, but it’s hard not to appreciate that years later.

AVC: That everything is shared.

How often do people make the joke about you being a twin and working for the Twins?

SC: A lot of people think it’s pretty cool.

CF: My mom was the first person to point it out to me – I didn’t even realize it. But now, I think I make the joke more often than anyone else does, but sometimes I’m not as funny as I think I am.

PS: My mom made a joke about it to me at first. Also, add the fact that we live in the Twin Cities too. Kind of a unique trifecta.

AVC: People will bring it up every once and a while.

Have you had any moments of twin telepathy?

SC: I feel like I get more effected when something is wrong with him, but I wouldn’t say I can read his mind. We definitely have an understanding of everything each other is going through without having to speak about it.

CF: Oh yes. It helps in catchphrase – hardly any words are spoken and we win! One time Frankie and I were playing a game and I asked him to guess what I was thinking about. Without giving him any hints, he said “Shampoo?” He was right; I was thinking about shampoo. I was absolutely stunned he guessed it.

I’m not so sure I believe in twin telepathy though, at least not between Frank and I. I think we think alike sometimes just because we were raised the same way around the same things. Our way of thinking has been shaped the same way. We are actually extremely different though. I wish I could have the brain he has.

PS: Other than the songs around the house stuff, not a whole lot since we’ve been living apart through college, etc.

AVC: Nah, I don’t believe in that.

What question do you get asked most often when people find out that you’re a twin?

SC: Does he look like you? I don’t think we look alike at all.

CF: “Are you identical?!” We need to inform the entire planet that boys and girls CANNOT be identical!!! People don’t get it. I get that question all the time.

PS: Whether we’re identical or fraternal. (We don’t look anything alike).

AVC: After I say we are fraternal twins people follow up with “do you look alike?… NO

Do you have any funny twin stories?

SC: I found out in 8th grade, that in 6th grade, people thought we were dating because I would always be walking home with him or talking to “his” mom. If you know we’re related than you can tell, but if you didn’t know you wouldn’t think about it.

CF: Whenever Frankie and I go out to eat with each other, the servers usually think Frankie is mean for not paying for my meal too. They think he isn’t a good boyfriend, so usually I have to say we are brother and sister so they don’t think he’s some tool who won’t pay for a nice girl’s meal.

Also, growing up I always used to blame Frankie for my messes around the house. If I left my dishes out, I said Frankie did it, etc… Mom always believed me.

PS: Not really funny, but my mom always used to make each of us separate cakes for our birthdays every year. Mike always had chocolate, I got cheesecake. And since her birthday is November 10, needless to say, we had a lot of cake every November.

Twintern ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has gone viral, so it was only a matter of time that it made it’s way to the 2014 Twintern class. It just so happens that time has come!

The challenge started right alongside Twins President Dave St. Peter and T.C. Bear, when Timberwolves President Chris Wright nominated his daughter (and Twintern) Christy.

Christy happily accepted her father’s challenge and did so with the help of former Twin and current broadcaster, Dan Gladden. Instead of challenging just 3 people she chose to nominate the Twins’ Senior Director of  Corporate Communications & Broadcasting, Kevin Smith, and the Twins’ Senior Director of Community Affairs, Brian Donaldson. Oh ya, and the ENTIRE 2014 Twintern class!

We are currently in the middle of a 10-game homestand, but that didn’t stop us from accepting her challenge! We all grabbed the nearest bucket we could find (the recycling bins under our desks) and headed to the Target Field plaza right after the Twins’ 4-1 win over the Indians.

Keeping the challenge in the MLB-intern family, we chose to nominate the Milwaukee Brewers interns. You’ve been challenged Brewers interns (Brewterns?) you have 24 hours!

als ice bucket challenge

ASG from the Ground – Kelly Uhrich

For so long it felt like the All-Star Game was never going to be here. So much planning, so many meetings and rehearsals, but when that week finally came it felt like it was never going to end! For the grounds crew, that week was just about a 24 hour operation. With all the rehearsals and extra ASG events on the field, whenever we had the opportunity to work on the field, we took it, no matter what hour of the day.

It was interesting and fun seeing the crew work around the busy schedule of events and to see a normal 1-hour field prep be broken up into a few 15 minute windows. Controlled chaos is a good way to put it, with all of the departments coming together and working around each other like a well-oiled machine.

The best part about being on the grounds crew during the week was the opportunity to be on the field for all of the events. The Future’s Game, Celebrity Softball Game, Home Run Derby, and All-Star Game were all exciting to be a part of and to watch once they got started. My favorite part about the whole week and the one thing I will remember forever is that I had the privilege to bring my dad into work with me. For the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game, my dad became an honorary member of the grounds crew. Baseball is huge in our family, and being able to share this once in a lifetime experience with my dad meant the world to me.

Us interns are always talking about how lucky we are to work for a Major League Baseball team. Many of us grew up Twins fans so being with this organization makes the opportunity that much sweeter. But this group, this class of 2014, will always be the All-Star group. Words cannot describe just how lucky we are, not only to work for a MLB team, but to be a part of something so much greater. I am confident that I speak for all of us when I say this will go down as one of the craziest, but best, weeks of our lives.

In 7 days, I worked 98 hours and only got a few hours of sleep each night. But to run out on the field with my dad 4 times during the All-Star Game to change the bases, to see Derek Jeter play in his 14th and last All-Star Game, and to see Glen Perkins pitch a 1-2-3 9th inning with Kurt Suzuki catching to bring a victory to the American League… That made all the hard work worth it.


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