Cooperstown: Every Fan's Dream

Steph RockwoodCorrespondent IApril 27, 2008

Where is the one place that every baseball enthusiast should visit before they are laying on their death bed?  No clue?  Let me give you a hint. 

It’s located in a town outside of Albany, and is full of artifacts from yesterday and today, that make up America’s Favorite Pastime as we know it.

If you guessed the National Baseball Hall-of-Fame, then you were right.  Finally I was going to take the voyage to see what should be the eighth wonder of the world. 

When working in retail, it’s a guarantee that sometime throughout your career, you are going to have to deal with some pretty arrogant people and there’s nothing you can do about it.  Now this was at the end of my shift, so I was already tired and aggravated.  My last customer approached my register sporting “the dark side” merchandise (AKA Yankee stuff), and of course, he was buying yet another Yankee hat and a Yankee shirt.

I was just making conversation when I said, “Wow.  Yankee stuff?”  Now, when I said this, he must have sensed the disgust in my voice because his next line sure didn’t catch me by surprise. 

“Don’t tell me,” he said.

I didn’t let him say anymore, and I blurted out that I, myself, am a devout Red Sox fan.  I then went on to tell him that I was to be going to the Baseball Hall-of-Fame in a few days.  This man was already disappointing me to the fullest, but I guess he really wanted to see how far he could push me. 

“You know, they should change the name of that to the Yankee Hall-of-Fame,” he said.  “It’s full of Yankee things.”

Being knowledgeable about the game and all, I knew he was right.  I had the set idea that I needed to prepare myself for what was going to happen.  Was I ever going to be ready though? 

I really have to make myself clear and I hope nobody misunderstands me.  I will ALWAYS support one team, and one team only, and that’s my Red Sox.  Now, forever, and always.

But when you start talking about people like Joe Dimaggio, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantel, and the great “Babe,” you can’t pick sides anymore.  I appreciate those guys to the fullest.  If it wasn’t for them, I don’t think I would have a sport to love so much. 

I wish there were still players like them around.  Now-a-days all you see is money hungry, arrogant athletes.  That’s in all of professional sports too, not just in baseball.  Yes, I will also admit it’s also not limited to the Yankees.

As we are making this trip out to Cooperstown, writing this article, I’m thinking, what is passion of the game all about? 

I mean why do people love it so much, and me being one of those people makes me all the more curious.  Appreciation of the game takes so much heart.  You have to be triumphant when your favorite team wins games, and you have to come with the same intensity and support when they are not doing so well (Red Sox Nation knows this all a little too well).

This is what it’s all about.  Every player dreams about being inducted into the Hall, although most players are not so lucky.  We spent the trop arguing about whose in it and who should be in it, but most of all, who deserves it. 

The first thing I saw was the induction hall, where they have a plaque or every inductee.

Walking around, I saw the names of Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, Babe Ruth, and Yogi Berra.  Although those names are very important to the game, the names that really stood out to me were the names of Ted Williams, Thomas Yawkey Carlton Fisk, and Carl Ystremski. 

This was also the place where the Hall showed their appreciation for those that served in the armed forces.  There was recognition under each that fought in a war, and there was also a large plaque right when you walked in the room.

It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen.  I got very emotional at this point and even shed a few tears.  I thought that was pretty cool until I got to the monument that was constructed when the Red Sox took home the trophy in 2007 (see picture above). 

I lost it for real this time.  I was so overwhelmed, I didn’t even know what to do.  They had a TV in that area too that was showing clips from all the World Series.  The 1986 series against the Mets breaks my heart every time someone reminds me of it, and the last play in 2004, that broke the curse seals it right back up.

All I really have to say to my fellow members of Red Sox Nation, is that if you have a weak stomach and just the mere sites of those pinstripes make you queasy, be prepared.  The Bombers basically monopolize every corner of the place.  I mean c’mon now, give the other guys a break. 

This will certainly go down as one of my most memorable experiences of all time.  Anyone who appreciates the game of baseball really needs to make a trip out to Cooperstown, NY.

Don’t forget your camera either, because you want to have something to remember your time at the Baseball Hall-of-Fame.


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