Boston Red Sox and The Inn at Fairview Collaborate for Major League Memories

August 2, 2019

 

by Doug Robinson

Simply stated, it was a grand slam.   The Major League Memories Alzheimer’s Awareness program, offered by the Boston Red Sox organization held at The Inn at Fairview in Hudson, that is.

“This program has been developed by the Alzheimer’s Association to help connect the Red Sox with our Alzheimer’s community by sharing in the joy of baseball memories,” writes the Alzheimer’s Association.

“Since 2013, the Alzheimer’s Association has built relationships with Major League Baseball teams to raise the awareness of Alzheimer’s’ disease and other dementias,” and those living at The Inn at Fairview had the privilege of walking down memory lane with Boston Red Sox pitcher Bob Stanley and long-time announcer Dick Flavin.

According to Major League Memories information, “Bob Stanley was a first-round pick of the Boston Red Sox in 1974 and played his entire 13-year career with the Red Sox. Stanley held the club record for all-time saves leader with 132 until 2009.  He is also the Red Sox all-time leader in appearances with 37.  Stanley was a key member of the Red Sox teams in 1975 and 1986 who won the American League pennant.”

Continuing, “Dick Flavin is the poet laureate and senior ambassador of the Boston Red Sox and voice of Fenway Park, serving as public address announcer for Red Sox day games. His television commentaries won seven New England Emmy awards; he is a nationally known speaker and a member of the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame.”

Residents of The Inn arrived early and secured the best seats as they awaited Flavin and Stanley. Sporting Red Sox jerseys of their yesteryear heroes, the names of Yastrzemski, Fisk, and Papplebon, were emblazoned on their backs.  As their grandchildren entered and filled the chairs next to their grandparents, the names on their Red Sox jerseys reflected the more current generation of Red Sox heroes:  Betts, Ortiz, and Martinez.  It was a testament to the storied history of the Red Sox organization.

Munchies offered in the meeting room included popcorn, peanuts, and Cracker Jacks®. Team jerseys hung on the walls and a raffle was held to award those shirts to lucky winners.  An “education collection” of baseball mitts, jerseys, and baseball bats had been set up for all to touch and to evoke memories.

Flavin and Stanley conversed, told stories, and interacted with the audience on a very personal, one-to-one level.  They exchanged their Major League memories and encouraged those in the audience to do the same.

Stanley reflected, “Fisk came to the mound and told me to throw a four-finger fast ball as hard as I could.  He did not say why.  So, I watched Fisk return to the plate, give me the target, and I threw the ball. Just before the ball hit his mitt, he moves the mitt, and the ball hit the umpire in the chest.  The umpire gasped as the ball knocked the wind out of him. I heard Fisk say to the umpire: ‘do I have your attention now?’”

Questions continued.  “Raise your hand if you’ve ever been to a Major League Baseball game.”  Everyone raised their hand.

“In one word, describe what it felt like going to your first game?”  The answers came fast and furious, “I was thrilled,” “hot dogs,” and everyone laughed when another answer was “Mother ironing clothes.”

“Who was your favorite player?” was asked next.  “Ted Williams, I met him” came the announcement from a Red Sox fan, while another fan said, “Bob Stanley, Pappy, and Yaz.”

As in any baseball game, the time came for the seventh-inning stretch and the singing of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”  While a paper with the lyrics was handed to those in attendance, not a single person needed to look at it as everyone stood up from their chairs and belted out the words flawlessly.

Wally, the Red Sox mascot, was also present to hug, hold, and humor one and all, as well as have his photo taken and share in the enjoyment of the day.  “I love that wiggle” could be heard from the totally entertained residents. Once the presentation was completed, what better way to celebrate than to share those snack with their new friends from the Boston Red Sox, Dick Flavin and Bob Stanley?

“The Inn at Fairview is a state-of-the-art Memory Care Assisted Living Community.  Our mission is to provide an enhanced quality of life following the diagnosis and progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.  Our Inn Sights Memory Program provides insight, understanding, and education to residents and families coping with memory impairment.  We offer a whole person approach to care, meeting each resident’s physical, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being,” according to their website.

On Sept. 21, Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Central, N.H., will be held at the Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.  Anyone who wishes to participate or organize a team to support ending Alzheimers, contact aschwotzer@alz.org, (617) 393-2127 (0), or (603) 674-1087.