Schaumburg Boomers players gain 'hundreds of grandparents,' fanbase while living at retirement home

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Tuesday, July 26, 2022
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Young Schaumburg Boomers minor league baseball players have garnered their own fanbase while living at the Friendship Village retirement home.

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (WLS) -- It's not unusual to see a few 25-year-old professional baseball players walking around the Friendship Village retirement home.

That's because they live there during the season while they play for the Schaumburg Boomers.

"I love it here. It's a quiet, peaceful," said Blake Grant-Parks, who plays for the Boomers. "The residents here are awesome."

The life of a minor league baseball player is far from glamorous. They usually live with local families. But in a special arrangement, three Boomers players have their own apartments at Friendship Village during the season, and with it comes their own fan base.

"The residents enjoy speaking with them. It makes them feel young. It's like they have hundreds of grandparents," said Amanda Delamatta of Friendship Village.

There is a 70-year age gap between 95-year-old Velma Robinson and her ball-playing neighbors. But they are making a date for virtual bowling next week. Velma threw out the first pitch a couple weeks ago at the Boomers game.

"I threw the pitch. I didn't do a good job. My son said, 'throw it up like that.' I said, 'okay,'" Robinson said.

George Amann, 80, got to do a play-by-play.

"It's refreshing. It really is," Amann said.

The players and the retirees call their living situation a win-win. The players get a nice place to live and supportive neighbors. The retirees get to be around younger athletes and soak up the energy.

"It's awesome. I have been blessed," said Boomers player Chase Dawson.

The Boomers got in after midnight Tuesday after a 15-hour bus ride from Canada, and they were back here on the field in the afternoon. The guys living at Friendship Village said they are grateful for a nice place to get some rest and a group of neighbors who have become like their second family.