MINNEAPOLIS -- On Thursday night, the Minnesota Twins symbolically stood with organizations around the country in appreciation of health care professionals and first responders around the world that continue to put their lives on the line during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
At 8 p.m. CT, the Twins lit Target Field in a blue glow and displayed the message, "Thank you to all those fighting on the front lines against COVID-19," on the ballpark's external video screens as the Twins took part in the United States' leg of the international #LightItBlue program. Other notable landmarks around Minneapolis like U.S. Bank Stadium, home to the Minnesota Vikings, and the I-35 West bridge over the Mississippi River were also bathed in blue light.
The #LightItBlue phenomenon began in the United Kingdom last month as a way for those around the entertainment and events industries to show their gratitude towards those on the front lines working through the crisis. On March 26, notable landmarks around the country like the Royal Albert Hall, the London Eye, The Shard and Tower Bridge were lit up in blue.
The tribute is not affiliated with any political organizations and was not organized for commercial benefit -- only as a show of solidarity.
"It really is an opportunity to show that we're in it together," said Minnesota governor Tim Walz on a conference call Thursday. "There's a whole lot of heroes. It's hard to list them all. Tonight will be a moment that will light up the world a little bit to say thank you. That's how we're going to get through this."
In addition to the symbolic gesture of #LightItBlue, the Twins have also been involved in tangible relief efforts in support of people in the Twin Cities community and beyond.
The Twins, along with the 29 other Major League clubs, made a pledge of at least $1 million in March to support their ballpark employees who are temporarily out of work. They also made a $30,000 donation to The Sheridan Story, a local nonprofit, to help provide meals to children in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
Former Twins catching coordinator Tanner Swanson, now with the Yankees, has also spearheaded an effort among coaches from several organizations, including Twins Minor League hitting coordinator Donegal Fergus and Minor League baserunning and fielding coordinator Billy Boyer, in a fundraiser called "Coaches vs. COVID" benefiting research institution Fred Hutch, which is working to help understand and treat the coronavirus and other deadly diseases around the globe.