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Twins to honor health care workers, George Floyd, COVID victims at home opener

The Minnesota Twins grounds crew prepares the field between sessions at a baseball camp Friday, July 3, 2020, in Minneapolis. Photo: AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn. The Minnesota Twins grounds crew prepares the field between sessions at a baseball camp Friday, July 3, 2020, in Minneapolis.

KSTP
Updated: July 23, 2020 02:49 PM
Created: July 23, 2020 01:02 PM

Thursday, the Minnesota Twins announced plans for the team's 2020 home opener at Target Field amid Major League Baseball's shortened season.

MLB's season was set to begin Thursday evening with the Twins set to begin the 60-game season Friday. The team's home opener is set for Tuesday, July 28 vs. the St. Louis Cardinals.

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Pregame ceremonies for Minnesota's home opener will include tributes to several people, including:

  • Front-line health care workers: The Twins will use a video tribute to spotlight nine representatives working on the front lines of health care amid the COVID-19 pandemic — Berhane Gebre-Egziabher (an environmental services staff member at Hennepin County Medical Center), Catherine Gonzalez-Klang (an interpreter at HCMC), Richard Gray (a doctor at HCMC), Sophia Kim (a doctor at North Memorial Health Hospital), Dee Matara (a registered nurse at Methodist Hospital), Andrew Olson (a hospitalist at M Health Fairview Bethesda Hospital), Laurie Taylor (a lab technician at Lakeview Hospital), Vanessa Tschetter (an ICU nurse at M Health Fairview Ridges Hospital) and Kaila Vang (a progressive care nurse at Regions Hospital) — each of whom will join together in throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.
  • George Floyd, Ryan Costello, those who've died from COVID-19: Like each home opener, the Twins will share an in memoriam video and hold a moment of silence to remember those in the MLB community and Minnesota military who died during the offseason. This year's video will also honor the memory of Twins minor leaguer Ryan Costello (for whom the team will also wear a patch during the home opener), those in Twins Territory who've died from COVID-19 and George Floyd. The team will also display signage throughout the season on the third and fourth-floor balconies of the Target Field executive offices honoring victims of COVID-19.
  • Black Lives Matter: The Twins said the franchise "share in our community's heartbreak and sadness over the tragic and senseless death of George Floyd on May 25. The team will honor his memory at the 2020 Home Opener by unveiling a memorial graphic on the outfield wall that will remain in place throughout the season, and through an in-game moment of silence at 8:46 p.m. CDT. Additionally, the Twins will join all of Major League Baseball in an ongoing partnership with The Players Alliance – the recently-formed nonprofit organization led by Curtis Granderson, CC Sabathia and Edwin Jackson – to be allies and active participants in social change. Specific to the 2020 Home Opener, the Twins will share a message from The Players Alliance focused on support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The home opener will also feature both the "Star-Spangled Banner" and "Lift Every Voice and Sing," the Black national anthem.

Additionally, the team will have 101-year-old WWII veteran Alvin Donahoo, of Spring Park, as the virtual "American flag raiser" as part of the Salute to America. The team will also have a traditional home opener flyover featuring two C-130s from the Minnesota Air National Guard's 133rd Airlift Wing, pending final approval.

The 2020 season marks the team's 60th year in Minnesota, and the Twins will salute past generations and memories through a game of catch among six decades of Twins, via video. Two players from each decade of Twins baseball will be featured, culminating with a member of the 2020 team receiving the final toss to begin the season.

In-game elements for the home opener include:

  • A moment of silence for George Floyd at 8:46 p.m.
  • Staff Sergeant Jeffrey Nicholls performing "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch, with T.C. Bear also leading a virtual singalong of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." Born in Duluth, Minnesota, SSG Nicholls enlisted with the Minnesota National Guard in 2000, was deployed in 2004 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom III and has served full-time since 2011, earning several awards for his service – including the Army Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters.

The Twins will also debut a 53-foot by 38-foot photo mosaic featuring the likenesses of more than 3,000 Twins fans covering section 331 of the U.S. Bank Home Run Porch.

Leading up to and throughout the home opener, several local buildings will be lit in Twins colors, including the IDS Building, the Lowry Avenue Bridge, the 35W Bridge, Target Plaza South and U.S. Bank Stadium.


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