Baseball players move into senior living communities

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Craig Brooks, left, and Carson Sands of the South Bend Cubs flank a St. Paul's resident.
Craig Brooks, left, and Carson Sands of the South Bend Cubs flank a St. Paul's resident.

Four players on a farm team for the Chicago Cubs are residing for free in senior living communities during this year's baseball season, the South Bend (IN) Cubs announced April 12.

Craig Brooks, 23, and Carson Sands, 21, are living at Sanctuary at St. Paul's, a continuing care retirement / life plan community that is part of the Saint Joseph Health System, which in turn is part of Trinity Health. Michael Wagner and Scott Frazier, both 24, are living at Holy Cross Village of Notre Dame, a CCRC sponsored by the Brothers of Holy Cross. All are pitchers on the Class A team.

“The hope is that the [program] will help foster relationships between the senior residents and the Cubs baseball players, which will encourage the seniors to get out to watch the games, be social and interact with others at the games,” St. Paul's Executive Director Shari Binkley told McKnight's Senior Living. “The program is unprecedented in our area — and across the country, as far as we know.”

The program “will provide some great intergenerational opportunities for both the players and the residents, and we look forward to building this program and having it continue to grow each and every year,” said Joe Hart, team president.

Brooks and Sands were welcomed at an April 12 brunch at St. Paul's, during which the South Bend Cubs and Saint Joseph Health System announced the Silver Sluggers program, designed to keep older adults healthy and social. Financially supported by Saint Joseph, the program offers people aged 60 or more years tickets to Wednesday games that are discounted 45%. All participants receive a hat and sit in a special section at the baseball park. Participants also will have access to free health screenings at each of the games, and one Silver Slugger will be selected to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at each of the games. Those who attend at least six games will be invited to a picnic at the ballpark during the last Wednesday home game of the season.

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