When he was just 12 years old, John Noseworthy, M.D., met Minnesota Twins legendary power hitter Harmon Killebrew at spring training. "It was one of the most exciting moments of my life," Dr. Noseworthy, President and CEO of Mayo Clinic, told Twins radio broadcasters Cory Provus and Dan Gladden during a recent game. "Every time I hear about Mr. Killebrew, it brings back that memory."
We imagine that moment was not far from Dr. Noseworthy's mind as he prepared to throw out the ceremonial first pitch on September 7 as part of Mayo Clinic Night at Target Field. His granddaughter, Charlotte, joined him on the mound (and made a pretty exciting deposit in her own memory bank, we suspect). The night also featured some Mayo Clinic swag for the first 10,000 fans through the gates and a performance by singing surgeons Elvis Francois, M.D., and his colleague/pianist William Robinson, M.D., orthopedic surgery residents (and friends of the Ellen show), who led the crowd in singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh-inning stretch.
Early in the game, Dr. Noseworthy stepped into the broadcast booth to talk baseball and Mayo history with Provus and Gladden. They discussed Mayo's origins and touched on how digital technology is primed to help Mayo reach patients in new ways in the years ahead. They also chatted about Dr. Noseworthy's own days on the field, where he played shortstop. (He claims he "wasn't terribly good" but "had a lot of fun at it.") Dr. Noseworthy also explained (defended) his loyalty to the Red Sox (he was raised near Boston) and answered a few questions about a little film by another baseball fan, one Ken Burns. "We were thrilled that Mr. Burns wanted to make a film about Mayo Clinic," Dr. Noseworthy told Provus and Gladden. "He thought it was a great American story."
While the Twins were besting Kansas City 2–0 at the start of Dr. Noseworthy's visit to the booth, that changed dramatically—and quickly—as the Royals brought in six runs during the top of the inning, thanks in part to a home run from catcher Salvador Pérez that earned an audible "Whoa" from Dr. Noseworthy. "I'm not doing you any good up here," Dr. Noseworthy joked. "It's gone downhill since I came in the booth." (The Twins rallied and won the game 10–6, so we'll rule Dr. Noseworthy's presence a net gain.)
While not every night can be Mayo Clinic Night at Target Field, the Twins and Mayo do enjoy a connection that extends beyond sharing a home state. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center provide care for Twins players and regularly share health and wellness information with fans. Mayo is also a sponsor of the annual Twins Winter Caravan, which brings players and coaches to meet with fans in communities throughout the Midwest, including the Mayo Clinic Children's Center.