Los Angeles SABR chapter launches BasebALZ program to bring baseball therapy to Alzheimer’s patients

By Jon Leonoudakis

Baseball, stories, and memories go together like a ball in a glove.

Inspired by the St. Louis and Austin SABR chapters’ popular BasebALZ program, the Los Angeles-based Allan Roth Chapter has partnered with Alzheimer’s Greater Los Angeles to bring reminiscence therapy to patients and caregivers.

The group’s first meeting kicked off on Friday, August 10, 2018, and, according to the patients, caregivers, and AGLA, was a grand slam.

SABR members Jon Leonoudakis, Jeff Hubbard, and Michael Huston shared presentations about the 1965 MLB regular season, the ’65 World Series, and the 1965 Minnesota Twins. Michael dazzled the group by bringing along his mint condition 1965 Topps baseball card collection.

Stories are at the core of these gatherings, and everyone shared stories of their favorite teams and players. The national anthem kicked off the meeting and everyone was handed a baseball to hold throughout the meeting (there’s something about holding a baseball that relaxes the heart, soul, and mind).

Before we sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” Jon shared the history of the song with the group. A Joe DiMaggio bobblehead served as a centerpiece, and Jon brought along his Tony Conigliaro Rawlings baseball glove from 1968 for show-and-tell. The L.A. group will be featuring show-and-tell as an agenda item for all meetings, as tactile objects can spur the memory.

Our next meeting is scheduled for September 28 from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. at AGLA. Contact Jon Leonoudakis at jbgreek@earthlink.net for more information. Many thanks to everyone at BasebALZ Austin for their help and support. This is such a wonderful way to give back to our community and spread the joy of baseball!

Click here to view a photo gallery from the first meeting:

Originally published: August 16, 2018. Last Updated: August 16, 2018.