Putting the fun in fundamentals was the theme of a Minnesota Twins Play Ball! Youth Baseball Clinic at the Park Rapids Century School field on July 16.
“We’re here to have fun,” said Twins clinician Erik Lovedahl to the group of about 90 boys and girls ages 6-12 who attended the first of two sessions.
This marked the 60th season of these free clinics, which are put on by the staff of the Minnesota Twins organization with emphasis on teaching the basics of hitting, fielding and throwing.
Clinician Donny Geng told the group about Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli’s motto.
“First, treat everybody you meet with respect. Second, go to the ballpark to learn. Third, practice makes perfect. Learn to compete and be the best you can be,” said Geng.
Twins clinician Pat Collins had some advice for the parents in attendance.
“Parents, listen in,” said Collins. “Parents have to understand that you’re their No.1 coach. Pick up on things and reinforce them.”
Collins also had advice for the youngsters.
“Your job is to be coachable and listen,” said Collins. “You’re not going to become an instant All-Star, but by applying (these skills) through practice, you’re going to get better.”
Created in 1961 by longtime Twins scout Angelo Giuliani, the clinic program serves as a way for the ball club to promote the games of baseball and softball to boys and girls throughout the region. The current baseball clinic format was developed by Twins general manager Terry Ryan and former Twins executive Bob Gebhard. Funding for the Play Ball! Minnesota Youth Clinics is provided by the Twins Community Fund and Great River Energy.
Park Rapids was one of 28 stops for the Play Ball! clinics this summer. Itasca-Mantrap helped sponsor the event.