I live with a sports-obsessed 9-year old. One who never met an ESPN channel he didn't watch. Forget cartoons, my home is permeated with play-by-plays. And even though soccer may be his fan favorite, baseball, America's pastime, is a very close second. So we decided to journey up to Cooperstown for a visit. It's a not-so-quick almost 4-hour drive from my home to Cooperstown. So with my Mom and Step Dad in tow, we left at night after traffic had dissipated and made it up to the hotel by 11pm. My thought process for this was to get up there, get a full night's sleep and when we wake, we have the entire day there. This worked out well, despite driving winding roads in heavy rain and fog with no streetlights. Good times.
We hit the Cooperstown diner (about the size of a NYC apartment) for breakfast and walked down main street to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. You don't need to buy tickets in advance as they never sell out. And they offer discounted tickets for children under 12 and seniors, so I was the only full-priced ticket!
The museum is extremely well done. Recently renovated and up to date with current stats and inductees (the latest class having been inducted only a few weeks ago), it's very easy to get around and you flow nicely from one room and exhibit to another. It wasn't overly crowded and they allow you to snap photos in every room. It's extremely thorough so I think any baseball enthusiast would have a field day (pun intended).
But even someone like my mother, who could take or leave sports, spent a lot of time immersed because there's so much history to be read as well. From the Negro Leagues and the All-American Girls Baseball League (made famous in the film "A League of Their Own") to the rise of the Latino player, to Civil Rights and more, the sport is framed in a historical context.
We found it interesting to see the players who had memorabilia and stats in the Hall of Fame but due to steroid or gambling allegations, have not been, and likely never will be, inducted. It definitely casts a shadow on the sport.
Outside of the museum you can stroll down the street to Doubleday Field which still has some of the original bleachers. And there are actual games daily from local and not-so-local teams.
And of course, Main Street is chock full of stores selling memorabilia and merchandise. Owen got a nice wooden bat which he engraved with his name and MVP. He'll have to wait for April 2015 to try it out though as baseball season here starts in the spring. We were able to get some rare baseball cards while there as well. Perfect for any young, or old, collector.
We only spent the day in Cooperstown, but there are other sites to see should you want to make a weekend out of it. But if baseball is in your blood, one day is plenty.
Have you been to Cooperstown? What was your favorite part?