"I think that everybody's going to have their TVs on," said Children's Hospital CEO Sandy Fenwick. "Everywhere. In the rooms. The parents will be here. Nurses will be walking from the stations into the rooms. ... They miss exciting things and they hear the yells. They run into the rooms. It's really great."
The Red Sox, then, took an important opportunity to thank Children's and its patients for their support on Wednesday afternoon. Together with Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation and Major League Baseball, the Red Sox donated a mobile, four-foot tall "Fun Center" to the Hospital, complete with a Nintendo Gamecube, Sharp Aquos flat-screen monitor and DVD player.
"For children who are here, sometimes for short periods of time, but also for, many times, very long periods of time," Fenwick said, "it's an incredible opportunity to have a break in their day and to have a distraction that really is so important to them as they spend their days, sometimes weeks, sometimes months here."
The Red Sox were represented at the hospital by Dr. Charles Steinberg, executive VP/public affairs, Wally the Green Monster and relief pitcher Kyle Snyder. Snyder, whose father trained as a heart surgeon at Rice and Baylor Medical Schools and started the cardiac surgery program at Sarasota Memorial Health Care System in 1982, cut the ribbon. He had help from nearly a dozen eager underage assistants, many of them patients at the hospital.
"He's not just one of the 25 guys on our World Series roster," Steinberg said of Snyder. "He's someone who understands hospitals a lot better than many of us."
Snyder exhibited less understanding at the controls of Mario Baseball on the Nintendo, losing a 1-0 pitchers' duel to precocious 9-year-old Jacqueline Cox.
"It was fun, and I beat him," Cox said.
"Just by pressing, 'A,'" she said. "But it was a good game. And he can have better luck next time."
After the game, several children took turns meeting Snyder and asking him for autographs. One of them, 6-year-old superfan Lee Dalzell, happily greeted the Red Sox player from his mobile hospital bed.
"The nurse came into the back room," said Dalzell's nurse, Liz Kidde, "and she said, 'Who has the patient that loves the Red Sox?' And we said, 'Well, we do!'"
"We have awesome nurses on this floor," said Lee's mother, Mary-Clare Dalzell. "They heard the rumor [about Snyder], and they unplugged it all, and zipped him down in his bed."
"We bumped into the wall," Lee said, grinning.
Lee was asked to name his favorite Red Sox player.
"It's OK to name someone other than Kyle," said his mother.
"Kyle," Lee responded.
Said Snyder, "The stage we play on and the impact that we can make, you know, it's just as important as what I do on the field, as far as I'm concerned, if not more. ... What little impact I can make in the grand scheme of things is very important."
Alex McPhillips is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.