MINNEAPOLIS -- The players from the Courage Center Rolling Twins now have a softball field, thanks in part to the Minnesota Twins.
Todd Anderson Field in Brooklyn Park, Minn., was officially opened on Thursday night.
The first softball field in Minnesota dedicated to competitive wheelchair play was made possible by a $200,000 grant won through the Major League Baseball/Pepsi Refresh Project in 2010. The Courage Center -- a Minneapolis-based nonprofit rehabilitation and resource center that advances the lives of children and adults experiencing barriers to health and independence -- was chosen by the Twins as its charity partner for the Pepsi Refresh Grant contest. More than 2 million votes were cast for the Twins, helping them beat 14 other Major League teams by 60,000 votes.
The Courage Center manages three wheelchair softball teams -- the Rolling Twins adult team and the Junior Rolling Twins JV and varsity teams. The new facility will serve as the teams' home field.
"I get to go to a lot of events throughout Twins Territory," said Twins president Dave St. Peter, one of numerous officials who took part in the field's ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday. "I can tell you [that] maybe short of winning a third World Series, there's nothing better in my job than being at events like tonight.
"This is a great, great thing for Hennepin County and for our youth."
Helping Minnesota win the vote in 2010 was then-Twin Michael Cuddyer, who served as the player representative for the project. Cuddyer rallied fans to vote by appearing in a video on MLB.com and campaigning on Twitter.
Now with the Rockies, Cuddyer wasn't able to make it to the grand opening, but St. Peter passed on some words from a letter written by the 2011 All-Star outfielder.
"My wife, Claudia, and I know what a tremendous day this is," Cuddyer wrote. "Not only for the current teams but also for the players and supporters who worked so hard to build this field throughout the years, as well as the countless future disabled athletes who will be able to play the game they love on a real ball field."
The field is named after the late Todd Anderson, a National Wheelchair Softball Hall of Famer who lost a leg in 1981 after a motorcycle accident. Anderson played for the Rolling Twins and later for the St. Paul Rolling Saints. He was named Most Valuable Player of the national tournament nine times and hit .889 in 1991.
Anderson died of a heart attack on Aug. 18, 2010. His wife, Diane, was present for Thursday's festivities and removed the curtain from the scoreboard bearing her late husband's name.
"It's been a pretty emotional day," Anderson said. "I think it's something that he would really, really appreciate -- that the kids are going to have a safe, quality facility to play at. And that will in turn, hopefully, help get more kids to be playing and be active. You can't go wrong when more people are doing things."
Scott Berg -- a member of the Minnesota Rolling Twins and a wheelchair softball veteran of more than 20 years -- said the field is nothing short of fabulous.
"I'm one of probably the three or four longest-tenured players here," the 37-year-old Berg said. "And we've been looking trying to get something like this for probably 20 years. To have a dedicated space, somewhere we can call home, somewhere completely set up for us where we don't have cars in the way or anything, it's just amazing."
Jordan Garretson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.