ST. PAUL, Minn. - It's not often that millionaires do their own landscape work.
St. Paul native Joe Mauer apparently makes an exception when it involves one of his beloved hometown baseball fields.
The Twins All-Star catcher, his mom Teresa and an army of volunteers descended on St. Paul's Edgcumbe baseball field Friday morning to do a major restoration. As the "Local Heroes for Local Fields" program expands, fields in Duluth, Rochester and St. Cloud will also be considered for restoration.
"My roots are in St. Paul and it's great to be kicking off this program in the area where I used to play baseball, with a local company I grew up with," said Joe Mauer. "Playing youth baseball was a big part of my life and taught me important lifelong lessons."
"It's so nice to help them get a field that's great looking and safe," added Teresa Mauer.
The program is funded by St. Paul-based Kemps, which is donating 10 cents from every Joe Mauer-Kemps ice cream or milk product sold.
"(It's) a lot of pressure!" Joe Mauer said with a laugh after struggling with a malfunctioning field marking machine. "They can definitely tell you if you're not doing it right, but we figured it out about halfway through, and I think it looks alright."
The Edgcumbe restoration crew resculpted the pitchers mound, graded the infield, replaced well-worn bases and fencing, and began construction of new dugouts.
"I think it's really generous," said 12-year-old catcher Tyson Steele of Mauer's involvement in the program. "He's a really nice dude."
After the field was spruced up Mauer also held a special catchers clinic for local kids.
"Kemps is honored to be giving back to the community and working with the Mauer's on this initiative," said Rachel Kyllo, vice president of marketing for Kemps. "As a local Twin Cities- based company, our partnership with Joe and Teresa Mauer is a natural."
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