With just a few short weeks until pitchers and catchers report (and with the football season suddenly, painfully over for fans of certain teams), it's time to start thinking spring. And what better way to do that than by looking ahead to another Major League Baseball season full of renewed hope and optimism. At least for now.
With that in mind, the Minnesota Twins Winter Caravan made a stop at Mayo Clinic Children's Center last week with our first taste of spring (baseball) fever.
This wasn't the caravan's first stop at Mayo Clinic (you can read about another visit here), but it was unique in one important way. Both KTTC and KIMT3 News report that in addition to meeting and greeting players and coaches — including Alan Busenitz, Eduardo Escobar, Paul Molitor, Dan Gladden, 1991 World Series MVP Jack Morris, and fan-favorite and team mascot TC Bear — pediatric patients at Mayo Clinic were also on the receiving end of 30 shiny new iPads thanks to the Minnesota nonprofit organization "Pads for Peds," which was in town to donate the devices to Mayo Clinic Children's Center.
The devices, the stations report, will provide a much needed distraction for young patients as they undergo various tests and medical procedures. Young patients, like 9-year-old TT Bartsch, who KIMT reports is currently recovering from open-heart surgery at Mayo Clinic earlier this month.
"This is not our first hospital visit," TT's dad, Bob Bartsch, tells KTTC. "This is actually the fourth one in the last month for us and [the iPad] provides a really good distraction. It keeps them busy when the doctor is poking and prodding. It helps to provide some distraction when he's going to get a shot or something."
It also helps keep him and other young patients entertained and alleviates some of the stress of daily life in a medical center. As did the visit by the players and coaches, who spent time signing autographs, taking pictures, and handing out team swag to the kids. "It's awesome," Bob tells KIMT of the Caravan visit. "It breaks up all the monotony of the day and then bring a little bit of happiness and joy for the kids. I think it helps them heal a little bit faster, too."
You can read more about this year's Twins caravan stop and the iPad donation here and here. Then set us up for a late-inning rally by sharing your comments below before using the handy social media tools atop this page to share this story with others.