I interviewed Kelly McDyre (who invited us to the Harmon Killebrew Foundation dinner) via e-mail on June 5, 2010, about the foundation and Target Field.
Two Men On (TMO): What is your relationship with the Harmon Killebrew Foundation?
McDyre: (MD): I serve as the Executive Director of the Harmon Killebrew Foundation. I took over this position in January 2010 after working on his Minnesota fundraiser, the Harmon Killebrew Classic, for three years.
TMO: How did you first hear about the Harmon Killebrew Foundation?
MD: I have always been a fan of Harmon’s and every once in a while heard about things he did in the community. Then, in 2007, a friend and colleague contacted me and asked if I would be interested in putting in a bid to help the Harmon Killebrew Foundation and their local fundraiser. The answer was YES and I won the account.
TMO: How much money has the Harmon Killebrew Foundation raised this year?
MD: So far this year, the Foundation has raised about $125,000. There are at least two more events on the calendar and a possible grant. Our hope is to be in the $250,000 range for the year.
TMO: What will the money be used for?
MD: Harmon has identified the Miracle League (www.Miracleleague.com) as his preferred beneficiary. The Miracle League is based in Atlanta and has 220 chapters across North America. Their mission is to build adapted baseball fields so children with physical or mental disabilities can enjoy organized league baseball in a safe environment. That said, he is also very closely tied to the Minnesota Twins Baseball Club and enjoys supporting the Twins Community Fund when he can. The Community Fund does great work around Twins Territory through a variety of programs that serve youth softball and baseball programs.
TMO: What is your impression of Target Field?
MD: Personally, I love it. It is open and welcoming and it seems like all the seats are good ones. I grew up with the Metrodome and have some wonderful memories there but I look forward to creating new memories with my friends and family in the Twins new home. I have had the chance to see only a handful of other ball parks so I don’t have a lot to compare to. However, Harmon, Rod Carew, Bert Blyleven, Ron Coomer and many more players (that have seen MANY other ballparks) all have the same feedback: this is the best park in baseball. They say it’s great from a player’s standpoint with the state of the art clubhouse and player amenities. It is great from the environmental standpoint through the diligent efforts of the Twins and Mortenson Construction to make this a “green” ballpark. It is great from the fan standpoint that every seat faces the field and there is a great view no matter where you are.
TMO: Do you think Target Field is accessible? Why or why not?
MD: From the comments I have heard and my own observations, Target Field seems accessible. Every gate is accessible and the seating for the disabled has great views. I think they could use more signage to indicate disabled seating so that people don’t stand in the way. (I’ve seen people use those areas to stand and watch the game when they get up for concessions, etc.) Other than that, I have to say that you would be better at assessing the accessibility question. I see that the concession stands seem to be set at the right height and that the restrooms have the appropriate appointments but I would turn that one back to you.
McDyre also added: All I can say is that I grew up a fan of the Twins and liked them even when they were not contenders. My husband and I celebrated the rehearsal dinner for our 2001 wedding by buying up 50 seats in left field at the dome and giving our guests dome dollars for dinner and “McDyre” pennant for the game. Having the chance to work closely with the Minnesota Twins and Harmon Killebrew is a privilege that I cherish. I work hard for them and am proud of the money we’ve raised and the relationships that I have built. The fact that Target Field is part of the mix for me is an added bonus. I respect the access that I have as an outside provider and am always respectful to the club, the staff and the facility. I have a 5-year-old son who I brought to the game on Sunday, April 18. Harmon was in town and asked me to come up to the field so we could exchange a couple items related to the event. My son and I rode the train to the game and we entered the Field from the executive entrance and sat on the 3rd floor balcony next to the left field foul pole. I called Harmon and told him that I was there and he told me to meet him and Jack Morris at the press box. We walked to the press box and Harmon told us to hang out with them for a while. So there I was, sitting in the “visiting GM Box” with Harmon Killebrew and Jack Morris. My son is sitting between them asking baseball questions and playing with Jack Morris’ world series ring. It’s those little slices of life that remind me how lucky I am to be doing work that I love and enjoying the “perks” that come with it.
Written by: Sam Graves