Rand: A spring training outreach overseas

  • Article by: MICHAEL RAND , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 26, 2013 - 6:42 AM

Fox Sports North Girl Jenny Taft brought spring training to the troops in Germany.

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Fox Sports North Girl Jenny Taft appeared with an Army officer during her trip to Germany as part of Fox’s “Spring Training to the Troops” initiative. “I think the military plays a huge part in Fox Sports,” Taft said.

If you have ever been confused by or simply wondered what, exactly, is the role of a Fox Sports North Girl, here is an easy trick: Replace "girl" with "ambassador," and you're more than halfway there.

That's the advice, in essence, from Jenny Taft -- a Fox Sports North Girl who made her debut about 18 months ago as part of a broader nationwide concept on the sports network's regional stations. She said she had questions about her job when she became an FSN Girl, but she added that the niche that developed has led to a great experience.

"We are trying to be a connection between fans and athletes," Taft said, "and trying to get an inside look at teams and athletes from a fan's perspective."

That typically means work related to Minnesota teams -- via social media, charity events and other outreach -- although the mission expanded distancewise recently.

Earlier this month, Taft was among the Fox representatives and former and/or current MLB players who traveled to the U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr in Germany as part of Fox's new "Spring Training to the Troops" initiative. She was picked because of strong military connections in her family and because of her sports background.

"I'm kind of known as the athlete of the Fox Girls," said Taft, who played hockey in high school at Edina and lacrosse at Boston University, where she also studied journalism.

In Germany, she helped put on baseball clinics for kids and made sure girls at the base knew they could have sports futures.

"It's a male-dominated place, and the girls' teams don't have the same impact," Taft said. "That was really special to me."

Taft also played whiffle ball with soldiers (and the likes of Heath Bell, Rollie Fingers and Wade Boggs). She went through real boot-camp training -- not the trendy classes offered at health clubs -- and while others said "ugh," Taft kept moving. She even had energy left to talk Minnesota sports with local soldiers stationed there.

"I think the military plays a huge part in Fox Sports," Taft said. "Giving us a chance to connect with those fans, that's where it all ties together."

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