Thursday, May 12, 2022 7:20 PM
Wayne “Jr.” Butcher (center) poses with a personalized Yankees shirt and other items after learning he will be watching his favorite team on Friday night
Wayne “Jr.” Butcher has been a New York Yankees fan for as long as he can remember.
“When my girls were young and playing softball, I was one of the coaches,” Butcher said. “We coached a travel league team and everyone was a Cub fan. It was out of the question for me to become a Cubs fan. Reggie Jackson went to the Yankees that year, and I’ve been a Yankees fan ever since. »
Residing at Paddock Springs Assisted Living Center in Warsaw, Butcher’s room is filled with photos, jerseys and other memorabilia needed by any die-hard fan. But the Milford native also has a big problem: he is unable to watch his favorite team.
“My TV here doesn’t have the YES (Yankee Entertainment and Sports) station. So I never see the Yankees on this stupid thing,” Butcher said. “I watched all the dogs go play when I was still at home.”
Butcher may not be able to hear the voices of Michael Kay and the Pinstripes’ rotating color commentary team every night, but Friday night that won’t matter.
Butcher fell ill last year and attended the Paddock Springs rehabilitation program to regain his strength. The facility’s executive director, Berto Nunez, promised Jr. that if he became strong enough to travel, Nunez would take him to see the Yankees.
Last week, Butcher found out he was heading to the guaranteed rate field on Friday night to watch his beloved Yankees take on the Chicago White Sox.
“I couldn’t hold on [the emotions] back, and it still gets to me when I talk about it,” Butcher said. “Everyone here keeps telling me ‘you’re going to the ball game, you’re going to the ball game.’ Yes, I am and I couldn’t be more excited.
The Butcher’s Surprise is part of Trilogy Health Services’ Live a Dream program. The program offers seniors the opportunity to do more often activities they used to do, but can’t do anymore.
While Butcher’s all-time favorite players like Jackson and Derek Jeter hung up their cleats a long time ago, Jr. will have the pleasure of watching ace Garrit Cole on the mound for the Yankees, who have a record 22 -8 in the major leagues.
“I’m delighted to see Aaron Judge, he’s a hell of a ball player. They change players all the time so I don’t even know half the team anymore,” Butcher said with a laugh. “I can’t wait to get one of these programs. When I come back, I’ll post it in the middle of my bulletin board. »
After not being at a major league ballpark in the past 35 years, Butcher couldn’t be happier to watch the 27-time world champions.
“I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to do this. I never thought I’d get the chance to go to another baseball game. I appreciate this place taking me, really.
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