Kids say (and do) the darndest things – Carolyn Dienhart
As “Batting Practice Buddies” the kids are allowed to sit and watch batting practice from next to the Twins’ dugout. They are given some Twins merchandise and are guaranteed at least five autographs from the players. What I’ve found really interesting about Batting Practice Buddies is that some of the kids are huge baseball fans. They tell me who their favorite players are, say their room is covered in Twins gear, and pretty much freeze when Joe Mauer walks towards them to give them an autograph. However, there are other kids who, although they know they are participating in something pretty cool, probably couldn’t tell the difference between a baseball diamond and a football field. For example, when Mauer signed a ball for one of the little girls I asked, “Wasn’t that cool?!” and she responded with how she really liked the Taylor Swift song that was playing through the loudspeaker.
The Perkins’ Kids starting lineup is a promotion we do on Sunday games where a group of kids take a position on the field, as if they were in the starting lineup. Then the Twins players get called out to their positions and the National Anthem is played while the kids are standing next to the players. My job in this promotion is to tell the kids what position they are running out to and watch them closely for about an hour. I tell them how great they are going to do, how much fun they are going to have, and then tell them how wonderful they did once they are done.
As you can imagine, directing them to their positions becomes a little bit difficult when the kids are not only unfamiliar baseball positions, but the bases are not yet out on the field. The first Sunday of the Perkins’ Kids Starting lineup, we ended up with two right fielders. The second Sunday T.C. Bear had to carry a little boy to home plate to be the catcher because he couldn’t seem to find it. And the third Sunday one of the boys took me saying “left field is behind third base” a little too literally and placed himself just about 10 feet behind our third baseman.
There isn’t much that these kids can say or do that will surprise me anymore and although these activities don’t always go as planned, it has become one of the reasons why I’ve enjoyed them so much.