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The Baseball Reminiscence Program helps aging adults with dementia

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Readers Historiophiliac and Paper Lions passed along a neat article to me a little bit ago. It’s about something called The Baseball Reminiscence Program, which is aimed at helping adults with dementia better connect with their friends and loved ones by talking about baseball.

The program, launched by a University of Connecticut professor and researcher named Michael Ego, gets patients suffering from dementia to talk about baseball. It’s one of many other sorts of reminiscence therapies aimed at getting patients to talk about familiar subjects as a means of stimulating them and helping them to strengthen brain connections. It could be art, it could be music, it could be history. The key is that it’s a topic that delves into deeper, more firmly-rooted memories and areas of knowledge which are less vulnerable to the ravages of dementia. Baseball is a thing most of us are introduced to when we’re young. As such, it’s the sort of thing over which Ego’s patients can bond.

The group has made outings to Citi Field to watch the Mets and ESPN has visited their sessions and will do a story about it soon.

Neat stuff.

Cubs fire pitching coach Chris Bosio

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In something of a surprising move, the Chicago Cubs fired their pitching coach, Chris Bosio on Saturday. Bosio had held the job since the 2011-12 offseason.

The Cubs made the NLCS this year, but were nowhere as near the formidable as their 2016 World Series champion iteration. While there were several reasons for that, one was that the pitching staff, which featured multiple, better-than-expected performances in 2016, but took a step back in 2017. Some of that was personnel — Joe Maddon did not have Aroldis Chapman to call on in the postseason like he did last year — and a lot of that was mere regression from veterans like Jon Lester and John Lackey. A lot of it had to do with a much higher walk rate this year than in the past.

Still, there was no chatter during the season or at the time of the Cubs’ playoff exit the other day that Bosio might be a fall guy. The Chicago Tribune reports that it was Joe Maddon’s call and that he had grown displeased with Bosio. The Tribune report suggests that Cubs pitchers will be displeased with the move as they were devoted to Bosio. Coaches, of course, come and go, so I suspect they’ll get over it.

Whatever the case, Bosio likely won’t say unemployed for long. He is widely credited with helping Jake Arrieta transform from a project to an ace and for the considerable and the somewhat unexpectedly successful development of Kyle Hendricks. The Tribune suggests that he’d be a good fit in Minnesota, where his former teammate Paul Molitor is in search of a new pitching coach.

There are several intriguing coaches available at the moment, most notably Mike Maddux, who has been the Nationals pitching coach but whose status is now in flux given the firing of Dusty Baker. Maddux’s brother Greg, of course, is a spring training pitching instructor for the Cubs. The Tribune adds that Maddon may look to his old Tampa Bay Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey or, possibly, even recently fired Red Sox manager John Farrell, who made his bones as a pitching coach.