Behind-The-Scenes with TFE: TwinsFest 2016

The Inside Look on TwinsFest 2016

Thousands of people attend the largest annual fundraiser for the Twins Community Fund every year. Individuals wait at Target Field entrances ready to rush the doors bursting with enthusiasm. This year was no different for TwinsFest. TwinsFest is a weekend long event that gives all Minnesota Twins fans an exclusive and personal look at all things Twins! It is also a great way to boost excitement for not only Spring Training, but also for the upcoming season. Whether it is a personal item being signed by a favorite player, or a family outing, TwinsFest is sure to create memories that last a lifetime. However, this weekend-long event does not happen overnight!

The Target Field Events team had begun preparation months in advance. While most fans experience the beginning of TwinsFest on Friday afternoon, the real work began nights and even weeks before. Every inch of Target Field is changed in anticipation of TwinsFest meaning thousands of steps across the building, stacking and unstacking of chairs, and sleepless nights all for one main goal: a successful TwinsFest.

To give you a little idea of this stadium-wide flip, imagine prepping for a 500+ person banquet event on Thursday night knowing that that same space must be ready for Human Foosball and GO 96.3 the following day. Sound simple to you? Think of all the tables and chairs laid out for your Thursday banquet dinner that have to magically disappear. Remember, this is just one of the spaces that needs to be changed for the stadium-wide event.

The main set-up for TwinsFest consists of the dreaded Thursday night “Flip” after the completion of Diamond Awards, hosted by the University of Minnesota Foundation. This flips involves numerous staff and volunteers contributing long hours perfecting the setup of TwinsFest. It takes positivity and encouragement to keep your coworkers going as the setup steals more of your sleep. It takes teamwork and communication to match each venue to their respective paper layouts. It takes breaking out into dance moves and silly laughter to lift the final chair into its perfect spot.

If asked if they would do this process over again, most people would say “No” in a heartbeat. But if you ask one of us, our answer will be yes, every single time.

We may have been here for hours on end, but those are the memories we are going to take away from our internship. Blasting music in the venues to keep the energy up, a pizza party break to refuel, and being surrounded by a group of people that’s main goal is to put together an unbelievable event for every fan that walks in the door is something you truly cannot replace.

While many people may read this and think, “Are they crazy? That doesn’t sound like fun.” it is safe to say we knew what we are signing up for! Welcome to the crazy busy life of an Event Coordinator. The Target Field Events team along with several other departments devoted days and nights to establishing a successful 2016 TwinsFest. While we may have left with blisters on our feet, nothing can replace the feeling of accomplishment and relief after seeing fans of all ages exit Target Field with smiles on their faces!

We may not be down on the field or hanging out in the press box, but the combination of events and the sporting industry is our dream come true. We are truly grateful for this experience with the Minnesota Twins and Target Field Events!

Sincerely,

Brooklyn Reilly & Carrie Geary

A Tale of Two Bullpens and Beyond: One Team, One Dream.

Pitchers and catchers may not be reporting for another 30 days, but the new class of Twinterns are already warming up in the bullpens and around the field. With a new season upon us, a new set of challenges and tasks await the 2016 Twinterns along with a plethora of new experiences on the horizon. Our workspaces, or bullpens, are where it all begins for many Twinterns!

With that said, a MLB team is made up of more than just its bullpens. It takes the strength of its entire squad to succeed. Shout out to all the interns that are posted throughout Target Field; this post is written from our view of bullpen life, while knowing that every department has its own “bullpen” and intern team that makes the dream a reality.

With a new record of interns this season (38), it seems only fitting to have our first blog post of the season be about our work spaces. It was not an easy task to find a place to fit all of us. Bullpen 2.0 is a reformed combination of a storage closet and the former diversity marketing office. Our bullpens and cubicles are the places where we will create, problem solve, and accomplish our goals in order for the boys of summer to succeed and where we will contribute to the success of the Twins organization.

Baseball bullpens and intern bullpens are extremely similar in many ways. Just like in the actual game, our intern bullpens are where everything essentially begins. Our warmups consist of taking calls, emails, research on tasks, etc. In the game of baseball a starting pitcher’s routine before a game is crucial to their game day success. Same goes for us, the routines we have started to build in our first couple of weeks and in the weeks to come will be the crucial factor in maintaining our success through the season in all tasks that we do.

With the addition of the new bullpen this year, the comparison can be made of strengthening a bullpen in the major leagues. This new bullpen creates an opportunity for us to open and start the day off strong and close the day in our own unique community spaces and maintain a team atmosphere that is second to none. Just like in baseball, you need your bullpen to be prepared for the long haul that is the MLB season. As a Twintern things such as: your resources, your tools, your research, your passion, and your personality will be your best friends for having a successful season.

The beautiful thing about our bullpens that reflect a major league bullpen is this: we are all ONE team. We have a coach, mentor, or a boss, very close to us to help guide us through our learning experience. We have our departments that focus us to develop a unique skill set—our catcher doesn’t need to be throwing curveballs. We have teammates in each other, we are here to help each other succeed so the team can succeed. We all have one vision, one dream, as one team. We are the 2016 Twinterns.

Whether in the original bullpen, bullpen 2.0, or throughout the rest of the ballpark, the opportunities are endless as we are stacked with a solid rotation with many new faces coming our way to join the team as the season progresses towards opening day. No matter where you are located or what inning you enter the game, as Twinterns we all play a crucial role in a successful experience and a successful season.

Big Picture: The spaces that we work in and the people that we work with will bring added value to a successful internship and successful season with the Minnesota Twins. At the end of the day, we are all ONE team, with ONE dream.

Have a great 2016 Twintern experience and have a great 2016 Twins season!

GO TWINS!

Sincerely from bullpen 2.0,

Caleb Peabody & Sarah Juntunen

#OneTeamOneDream

To: The Minnesota Twins From: Mitch Kukay

To the Minnesota Twins Baseball Club,

Thank you.

Thank you so very much for the opportunity to spend my summer and most of 2015 within your organization. Thank you for the chance to learn. Thank you for the chance to grow. Thank you for introducing me to amazing people within your front office and your event staff. Thank you for giving me lifelong friends in my Twinternship group. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for giving me the chance to enjoy America’s pastime with family and friends.

From the phone interviews, to the in person interview, to receiving the call offering me a spot within your organization, I still cannot believe I became a part of the Twins family. From the first day in snowy February feeling lost to Game 162 where I know the park backwards and forwards, I still cannot believe how much I was able to do during my time here. From the early mornings to the late nights, I will cherish every second I spent at Target Field.

Staff outings, a front office mini golf tournament, a charity softball tournament, and numerous happy hours were just a few of the added bonuses of being a part of this great family.

Whether I worked alongside of you every day, or only worked with you in passing, I hope I was able to do the best I could to help with whatever was needed to be done. I hope my contribution helped in some way, shape, or form down the line.  162 games came and went, and it feels as if the season was gone in the blink of an eye.

To my Twinternship Class,

We all came into this season as strangers, well most of us. But we are leaving as lifelong friends. Coming from all across the country, we all will go down our separate paths after we are done. I hope to remain the best of friends with you all no matter the distance, as I have enjoyed this internship in large part thanks to you all. I miss you all already, and it hasn’t even been a month since I took my final steps out of Target Field. From everyone’s sense of humor to dance styles, we all had a great time together and being away from you all makes me want to go back so much.  I wish you all the best of luck as you continue your journeys and I hope we can continue to share our journeys together whether by calling, texting or social media.

To the Ballpark Operations Department,

Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for bringing me on board for an awesome season in Twins Territory. I really loved being able to contribute to the club with the little tasks every now and then keeping the big picture in mind. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to help with Target Field Station events, the Big Ten Baseball Tournament, and the Kenny Chesney Concert weekend on top of baseball games. Operations may not sound like the most glamourous area of work, but learning all that goes into every detail has given me more of an appreciation of the sports industry. I will not take for granted any part of this summer.

So for one last time, thank you. Thank you all.

Mitch Kukay

2015 Twintern Class

The Minnesota Twins 2015 Intern Class

What it means to be a Twintern, from my perspective — Ciara Wohlford

The ticket office interns posed with the baseball statue on the plaza.

The ticket office interns posed with the baseball statue on the plaza.

Growing up in the ‘burbs of the Twin Cities, the Minnesota Twins played a huge part in my childhood, as they continue to do today. I was raised not only a Twins fan, but also a member of the Twins community. My family definitely influenced that. I grew up on stories my Grandpa and dad retold from their experience at Game 7 of the 1991 World Series at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. Those summer nights at my grandparents’ house were spent watching Twins games. Soon enough I was attending games with aunts, uncles, cousins, my brother, parents and close friends. The Minnesota Twins tradition definitely ran in my family. When I was in 5th grade choir, our elementary school had the opportunity to sing the National Anthem before a game one spring. Still to this day, I have the memories of walking on to the field at the Metrodome, bright lights shining and crowd cheering. I don’t quite have the voice of an angel, but I can still say I helped sing the National Anthem before my favorite team came out to play. These few memories I have shared are all moments in my life that have meant a lot to me.

Being able to share the love of the Minnesota Twins with the people I love most in my life is a great feeling. Because of that, I envisioned in my future that I would want to help others’ share those types of experiences with those that mean the most to them. Whether a family is coming out to celebrate a birthday, to the season ticket holder who lives and breathes Minnesota Twins, to a couple who is going on their first “big” date, Twins games will forever be a favorite pastime to many. Working in the Ticket Office for the Minnesota Twins has allowed me to help those fans share memorable experiences.

Being a Twintern in the Ticket Office varies day-to-day which allows everyone to stay on their toes; there is never a dull moment. The winter and spring months were spent doing very thorough work: printing, cutting, and processing of all Minnesota Twins tickets. The Minnesota Twins are the only team in MLB that prints their tickets in house, which ensures that our tickets are accurate and downright perfect.

Soon enough, Opening Day was here and we were serving Breakfast on the Plaza. Breakfast on the Plaza was when being a morning person really paid off as we served hot dogs, Dilly Bars, etc. to Twins fans. I could see how cool of an experience this was for everyone that came to Target Field to get breakfast, especially on the kids’ faces when I handed them ice-cream at 8 in the morning! This was just the beginning of sharing the Twins Tradition and experiences with the Twins community.

When it comes to game days, the Ticket Office is always hopping. From selling tickets, to solving ticket issues, to making sure all the gates and ticket kiosks are running smoothly, our department definitely knows how to go about it all with a positive attitude and have fun. To me, it is always fun to hear what the occasion is of those coming out to the ballpark and accommodating them with the best ticket and service possible. It is always a great feeling to know that I am helping others create an unforgettable experience here at Target Field cheering on their Minnesota Twins.

Along with all the Twins home games, the Ticket Office has had a part in assisting with the BIG 10 tournament, the Minnesota State High School Baseball Tournament, the Kenny Chesney and Jason Aldean concerts and the upcoming Go Fest concert. Working in the Ticket Office has opened the door to a variety of learning experiences.

I have enjoyed every aspect of being a Twintern this year, and I also attribute that to a lot of amazing people I have met while here. Being a part of the 2015 intern class has allowed me to befriend every other intern who is just as passionate about working in sports as I am. Here’s to a great 2015 Minnesota Twins season!

Today I’m On The Field — Gaby Lozada

As a Twintern, everyone I know expects me to work every single home game. I get asked repeatedly if I’m at X game and I’m actually all comfy on my couch with Netflix in front of me. No, I’m not one of the interns who have game duties. I work my normal 9-5; Mon-Fri. However there is one game each season where my position gets a taste of working a game.

As the diversity marketing operations intern, Diversity Day at Target Field is my biggest project of the year. My boss likes to think big and he’s got big expectations, so of course this event had to be big. The general outline of the pre-game includes three performances, a first-pitch, national anthem performer and flag raisers. Let’s add a DJ, salsa band and a parade with an unknown number of people. Sounds simple.

The planning took about two months. I worked a 13.5 hour day instead of my normal eight. There was an hour and a half long period of the day where I felt scared, frustrated, angry, tired and in pain. But then I stepped onto the field to watch the pre-game I put together and everything calmed down.

The parade of uncertainty was massive – it was filled with community members we knew and invited to come and show their support and they all had the time of their lives. As I watched this gigantic group walk around the warning track with smiles on their faces, taking pictures, I got goosebumps and teary.

Each performance received excellent reviews. Little kids danced in left field, adults and teenagers sang behind home plate and I watched it all by the dugout of my favorite team. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

One of the dancers performing on the field during Diversity Day.

One of the dancers performing on the field during Diversity Day.

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.

David

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

Kaela

There were a couple of late arrivals.

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!

three_

Two!

Two

One!

One

While singing, we used our brains.

use your head

But what really got us through was swaying together!

Swaying

Well most of us at least…

Joe

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:

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