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Swinging for the fences: Twins fantasy batting practice raises funds for community projects

The Minnesota Twins Community Fund is hitting it out of the park with the help of a few legends and super fans, on this week's "Communities that KARE."

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — At Target Field, the Minnesota Twins are taking a swing at a first-of-its-kind community fundraiser.

"No one has been able to do this. So this is the first time ever that we are excited to bring fans to take fantasy batting practice at Target Field," said Sondra Ciesielski, Community Relations Manager for the Minnesota Twins.

The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play with team legends is happening on June 5.

"I think Rod Carew was the first one to be like, 'I'll be there,' and Tony Olivia, you know former roommates and teammates, they're fun to get together and kind of bring the crew back together again," laughed Ciesielski.

At $500 a ticket, you can take hits and be in the outfield, throw in the bullpen and get instruction from All-Stars.

If the price has you calling "timeout," keep this in mind, it is a fundraiser to get more kids in the game.

Money from the Swing for the Kids Fantasy Batting Practice goes straight to the Twins Community Fund, headed by Executive Director Stephanie Johnson.

"Our mission is to strengthen communities and improve kids' lives through youth baseball and softball," explained Johnson. "Being involved in youth sports can help kids not only physically, keeping them physically active, but also giving them strong friendships, teach them things about team work, teach them about a lot of life lessons."

In its 30th year, the fund had helped renovate more than 850 ballfields across the Midwest with grants, including one in Robbinsdale where the Twin Cities hosted the 2014 All-Star Game.

In addition to those renovations, Johnson said the Twins Community Fund expanded the number of free youth skills clinics, started a scholarship program, and introduced a glove giveaway program.

"We have been working really hard for years to help make sure every kid who is interested in the games of baseball and softball learns how to play the game," said Johnson.

Here are a few more details about the fantasy batting practice:

  • It's open for fans 13 and older.
  • $400 of the ticket price will be tax-deductible, and you'll get a customized Twins jersey.

If this fundraiser isn't in the cards, you can still make a difference with your time and skill.

The Twins said there is a massive need for youth coaches and umpires now that kids are joining teams again for the spring and summer.

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