Albuquerque retirement home residents challenge staff to baseball game

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s baseball with a twist, at least that’s what the residents at the Paloma Landing Retirement Home have created.

It’s bean bag baseball and it’s the residents versus the staff.

“They think they’re very hot but we’re going to try to beat them,” John Smatana said.

Smatana has lived at Paloma Landing for nearly seven years. He’s the jokester of the group, but Thursday he and his fellow bombardiers’ strategy is all about distraction.

The residents challenged the staff, and it has become a weekly activity. But the residents consider this a warm up game.

The group is now challenging the residents at The Rio Grande Gracious Retirement Living Home.

“We’re very competitive. We like to win, especially against the staff,” Jill Accetta said. “But next month we’ll be playing those guys across the river.”

The game wouldn’t be complete without some cheerleaders, a couple of unruly fans and Fran O’Connell keeping the books.

“It’s very important. It’s very difficult with that group. It’s hard to keep up with them,” she said.

Erin Collins, activity director, calls the group an active bunch. She said they are always up to try something new.

As for their team name, “We have a few residents who are veterans, so that’s what they came up with,” Collins said.

Even when it comes down the bottom of the 9th, the Bombardiers say they just want to play ball, with a bean bag.

“A lot of people play that would never do it, but it’s so much fun. You get to help organize and socialize, and talk, talk, talk,” Smatana said.

The Bombardiers ended up winning 30-23. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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