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Twins host national PLAY campaign

Youngsters spent two hours touring clubhouse, facilities, receiving pointers from players
MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- At the same time Twins head athletic trainer Dave Pruemer introduced himself in the home dugout, Target Field was being drenched by a heavy storm behind him. It would have been easy for the weather to dampen the spirits of the Blaine Bengals, a local 13U travel team, on Tuesday morning.

Instead, Pruemer and the rest of the staff involved made the most of the two hours with several 12- and 13-year-old baseball players at a professional ballpark. The boys even got a glimpse Minnesota's clubhouse and facilities, as well as spend time with big league ballplayers.

MINNEAPOLIS -- At the same time Twins head athletic trainer Dave Pruemer introduced himself in the home dugout, Target Field was being drenched by a heavy storm behind him. It would have been easy for the weather to dampen the spirits of the Blaine Bengals, a local 13U travel team, on Tuesday morning.

Instead, Pruemer and the rest of the staff involved made the most of the two hours with several 12- and 13-year-old baseball players at a professional ballpark. The boys even got a glimpse Minnesota's clubhouse and facilities, as well as spend time with big league ballplayers.

PLAY campaign 

"The weather didn't cooperate," Pruemer said. "But the kids actually liked going in and seeing where the players worked, where they got dressed, as well as the weight room. It's a blessing disguise a little bit. It's fun to have the kids and see them smile."

Prior to Tuesday's tilt with the Yankees, the Twins hosted a national PLAY campaign to promote the importance of children living a healthy and active lifestyle. PLAY, a national public awareness campaign of Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society, in conjunction with MLB Charities and the Taylor Hooton Foundation.

All 30 Major League ballparks will host an event in 2017, even if the weather doesn't cooperate. Normally, kids will participate in a series of stations on the field, but the Twins' staff was forced to improvise due to Mother Nature.

Preuemer split the Blaine Bengals into three groups, focusing on three different core principles, with the help of a few Minnesota players. Center fielder Byron Buxton spoke to each group in the training room. He described his daily routine, noting the importance of nutrition and healthy eating.

"The players love it, they like to see the kids smile," Pruemer said. "It's tough to come in here early and do stuff but they do. They enjoy it and the kids absolutely love seeing them."

Rookie Zack Granite helped out in the weight room, as he spoke of the importance of an education. He also explained the dangers of using illegal performance-enhancing drugs. Granite told the team about his background and how he graduated from Seton Hall, a school he chose to go to based on his academic scholarship.

Reliever Ryan O'Rourke manned the station in the batting cage, where he played games with the baseball players. They worked on catching a pair of baseballs in each hand, as well as their quickness running between the cones.

Even though O'Rourke ended up losing one game to a young player, it showed the importance of just playing with or without the necessary equipment.

"It just shows you don't have to have a bat and ball. You can do other things and be creative to be active," Pruemer said. "The kids have fun. The No. 1 thing that bugs me is when my kids say, 'I'm bored.' Go create something."

Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis.

Minnesota Twins