We took advantage of the proximity in Arizona from Scottsdale to Chandler to visit with Aunt Senta Seligmann today, who has a room in the Sunrise Senior Living Community. Sunrise promotes that it has a special neighborhood for the memory impaired, and Senta certainly qualifies.
We stopped to pick up some fruit, fresh flowers, and a birthday balloon for Senta. It is going to be her 89th birthday next week, and we mentioned that we would look forward to coming back next Fall to help her celebrate her big one. Senta knew that she was born in 1925, but couldn’t figure out how old she’d be next year.
Aunt Senta is succumbing to Alzeheimer’s Disease, and its effects on her are quite apparent but not without some striking paradoxes. She recognized me, but not by name. She told Miriam that she recognized me before she did her. Was my mustache a distinguishing feature? She couldn’t grasp where her husband was, and was confused about the circumstances of her being at Sunrise. We took Senta to a local place down the road to celebrate her birthday. When Miriam ordered a Raspberry Martini, and I ordered a Lemon Drop, Senta ordered a Martini straight up.
Miriam and I tried to discourage her, figuring she may have some medication that might not be a good combination with vodka, but it was Senta’s celebration and she was laser sharp in her focus at the moment. We made a point of having her drink water, sliding the martini glass away, and discussed watering it down. Diluted memories were one thing, but Senta would not be deterred from having her celebratory drink today. After her first sip I took her glass and poured most of it into mine, suggesting that it would be easier for her to drink it now. “I wasn’t born yesterday you know” she replied.
As we exited the establishment, pausing for a photo, Senta observed that she felt a little drunk which was odd because she hadn’t had anything to drink. As with our visit last year, Senta will have no memory that we visited with her. The birthday balloon and flowers in her room will be tangible evidence that we were there, but Senta will not remember who brought them. To the staff at Sunrise she referred to us as her cousins, the generational relationships confusing to her. At some level though we know that she truly appreciated our visit. In the final analysis that’s all that really matters.
A beautiful day yesterday in Scottsdale to take in our first game this year at the Arizona Fall League with an announced crowd of 306 though not more than 150 in the seats. Arriving in time for the start, our entrance was delayed due to the intransigence of Chris Whiting, Operations Manager for the Scottsdale Scorpions.
The senior citizen ticket taker, who was only doing his job, flagged us down for a new regulation this year barring any outside food or beverage being brought into the stadium. When he noted that it says so on our ticket, we pointed out that by that time it’s too late – whoever brings a sandwich for lunch does so before arriving at the stadium. His hands were tied, as was his tongue, deferring to his boss, Chris Whiting. Chris – not even old enough to be my son – was apologetic. Nice kid, and he noted that I had a valid point even though that wasn’t going to change the fact that we had to eat what we brought standing outside the stadium gate, with no place to sit, because “that was the policy”. (Okay, Lee – I promise this will be my last mention of that fiasco.)
On to the game! Quiet enough in the stadium, front row seats behind the dugout afforded the opportunity to hear the chatter including encouragement for Yankees prospects Aaron Judge as “Judgie”; Greg Bird as “Birdie”; Phillies prospect Roman Quinn as “Q”, and super fan Steve Cooper as “Stevie”. Two of the players we came to see had their skills on display, left-handed starting pitcher Adam Morgan going four strong innings and switch-hitting center fielder Roman Quinn belting an opposite field home run. the 24 year-old Morgan missed all of 2014 with shoulder problems, so a strong AFL showing will give him a chance to go deep into Spring Training competing with the Phils’ weak crop of starting pitching. The 21 year-old Quinn, a converted shortstop, has all the speed and base stealing instincts of Ben Revere without any of his shortcomings. Quinn, along with Phils’ reliever Nefi Ogando who pitched a nice 9th yesterday, was named to this years’ Fall Stars roster announced yesterday. There are always the more obscure players, such as 24 year-old catcher Logan Moore, destined at best to be a left-handed version of Erik Kratz.
Updates are available for scouts every day at www.mlb.com/aflscouting, including game day lineups, batting and fielding practice times, and probable/available relievers. Here’s a sample of Game Day notes from yesterday. Ahhh … so good to slap on the sun tan lotion and see the purity of the game still on display in Arizona!
Here is an update on Phils’ prospects in the AFL. They’re on the Scottsdale Scoprions, who started the season hot, but have now slipped to last place in the AFL East at 5-6. But it’s early yet!
One prospect we won’t be seeing, who I would have relished watching, is J. P. Crawford, who made the cover of Baseball America as one of the top prospects in all of baseball. And Lord knows, with the dearth of talent in the Phils’ farm system, we need someone to look forward to seeing. Perhaps we’ll get a glimpse of J.P. in spring training 2015.
Simply put, it’s neural nostalgia.