A field to call "home" is a special thing, just ask Stacy Bates of the Jr. "Rolling Twins" softball team.
"It's awesome because we've been wanting this for a while," Bates said of the new Todd Anderson Field.
In the past, Bates and the rest of the "Rolling Twins" teams from Courage Center had to play their games in less–than–ideal conditions.
"We've been playing in parking lots all over town," said Saron Van Winkel, director of sports and recreation at Courage Center. "Trying to find a level parking lot that doesn't have any posts, that doesn't have any trucks driving through it, that doesn't have any speed bumps."
Now, those days are long gone.
"We don't have to worry about getting hit by cars in the outfield, so that's nice," Bates said with a smile.
Thursday night, the junior and adult Rolling Twins celebrated with the people who made it happen.
"This is the first, competitive, wheelchair softball field in Minnesota," said Tim Laudner, a former Twin-turned-analyst with Fox Sports.
"We want to be the first or best, and I think with today's stadium, we are first and best," said Brooklyn Park Mayor Jeff Lunde.
The field was made possible thanks to a $200,000 grant from the Major League Baseball/Pepsi Refresh Project.
The Minnesota Twins chose Courage Center to be their charity partner in a contest two years ago, and after receiving 2 million votes, Todd Anderson Field became a reality.
"I want to say congratulations to these athletes, and good luck on this field," Twins President Dave St. Peter said during the grand opening ceremony Thursday night. "The way we're going at second base, we might sign a second baseman out here tonight."
All jabs at current second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka aside, the players had nothing but praise for their new ballpark.
"It's just very clean and organized, and it makes us feel like we actually are a team," Bates said. "I think this has actually brought us closer.
Courage Center named the ballpark after former wheelchair softball player, Todd Anderson, who passed away in 2010.
August 10, 2012