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Twins players enjoy 'Mall Ball' with local fans

MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- When Tim Scovell looked out his second-story window at the Charles Schwab office on the corner of 7th and Nicollet Avenue on Tuesday afternoon, he knew he couldn't pass up the opportunity.

Scattered on the street outside the Nicollet Mall, an impromptu Home Run Derby had popped up while he was working. Instead of the typical foot traffic that fills the lunch hour in the downtown area, Scovell saw Twins stars Eddie Rosario and Eduardo Escobar attempting to launch home run balls off the City Center Skyway.

MINNEAPOLIS -- When Tim Scovell looked out his second-story window at the Charles Schwab office on the corner of 7th and Nicollet Avenue on Tuesday afternoon, he knew he couldn't pass up the opportunity.

Scattered on the street outside the Nicollet Mall, an impromptu Home Run Derby had popped up while he was working. Instead of the typical foot traffic that fills the lunch hour in the downtown area, Scovell saw Twins stars Eddie Rosario and Eduardo Escobar attempting to launch home run balls off the City Center Skyway.

Scovell and several other onlookers got to jump in and join a pickup game with a plastic bat and ball that the club titled "Mall Ball."

"I got to go out there and embarrass myself in front of a couple thousand people," Scovell said, laughing. "It's wonderful."

The Twins planned the event in order to give fans a chance to interact with players and take a few swings outside the newly renovated mall. With both ends of Nicollet Avenue barricaded off from traffic, and ballpark-themed food vendors stationed all along the street, Minnesota's players split up into two squads and began to swing away.

Tweet from @TwinsPics: #TwinsMallBall pic.twitter.com/z09wdtAe4D

"It felt really good to go out there in the middle of the mall and play with the kids," Escobar said. "It was awesome to have the families out there. I used to play that out on the streets, too, and it was fun."

With a DJ blasting music, and Twins corporate sales member Chad Jackson serving as the emcee of the event, Minnesota players eventually handed the bats over to the fans and even a few local media members. WCCO Radio host Mike Max smashed a homer, and the players even cajoled Twins media relations members Dustin Morse and Elvis Martinez into taking a few cuts.

Twins closer Fernando Rodney stole the show early when he launched a massive home run on the second pitch that Jose Berrios threw to him as Kyle Gibson taunted from the makeshift outfield.

"It's so great, man," Scovell said. "Meeting these professional athletes that make us all proud -- it's terrific. We're so glad to have them in the community.

Tweet from @morsecode: We had so much fun at #TwinsMallBall today! #MNTwins pic.twitter.com/etqVfObQ8n

For the players, the event was a throwback to the type of pickup games they would play as kids.

"Just in my driveway," Robbie Grossman said while describing his childhood field. "The house I grew up in, above the garage it kind of had a little extra room. We would play where you would try to hit the ball off the top of the roof. Playing with my brother and some kids around the block, it was great."

Jarrid Denney is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis.

Minnesota Twins, Eduardo Escobar, Eddie Rosario