Twins Celebrate Baseball With an Irish Twist

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Irish baseball star to throw out first pitch in Metrodome.

A member of the Irish National Baseball Team will throw out the first pitch during pregame festivities at the Metrodome on Thursday, May 4. The event will be part of the Minnesota Twins Irish Heritage Night.

"Throwing out the first pitch at a Major League game is the chance of a lifetime," explained Irish first baseman Joe Kealty. "It's like a dream come true."

Kealty and the rest of the Irish National Team are the subjects of a new documentary called "The Emerald Diamond." The film chronicles the growth of baseball in Ireland since the early 1990s.

"The Emerald Diamond" will be playing in Minneapolis on May 5 and 6 at the Lagoon Cinema (1320 Lagoon Ave., (612)825-6006). Showtimes are listed below:

The Emerald Diamond

Lagoon Cinema

1320 Lagoon Ave., Minneapolis

Friday, May 5 @ 7:30pm

Saturday, May 6 @ 2:00pm

Kealty joined the Irish National Team in 2004 after a distinguished career at Boston College, where he was named to the All-Big East team in 2000. Kealty's presence in the Irish lineup helped lead Ireland to its first bronze medal at the European Baseball Championships.

Although he was born in America, Kealty is a dual citizen of Ireland and America.

"My grandfather was born in County Mayo, Ireland, so it has been a great honor to be able to represent the country of my ancestors by playing a sport that is synonymous with America," explained Kealty.

Kealty and director John Fitzgerald will be on hand at the Metrodome before the first pitch to discuss Irish baseball and answer questions about the state of the game in Ireland.

"I'm very excited to be able to bring the film to Minneapolis," explained director John Fitzgerald. "Beginning with Irish Night at the Metrodome on May 4, I think it will be a great weekend for the film and Irish baseball."

Baseball in Ireland began in the early 1990s, despite a lack of fields and equipment. Ireland’s National Baseball Team began play in 1996 at the European Baseball Championships. Since then, the sport has gained momentum and what began as a few friends playing pickup games in Dublin has spread throughout the country. Youth and adult leagues in Cork, Kerry, Belfast and Dublin have made baseball one of Ireland’s fastest growing sports.

“The Emerald Diamond” opened to a sellout crowd of 250 people at the Burns Film Center in New York on February 25, 2006. A 20-city screening tour of the United States is being sponsored by Boru Vodka. Upcoming screenings will take place in Atlanta, Phoenix and Denver.

For more information about "The Emerald Diamond," visit http://www.IrishBaseballMovie.com

For interviews, please contact director John Fitzgerald at 914-316-2056.

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