Tuesday, August 5, 2014

One, Two, Three Strikes

So finally, I can take the time to dwell on Cooperstown, NY.  It's been two weeks.  Seems like months since we came back from our 3 day jaunt Northwest of NYC.  I am a fan of baseball.  I am not a stat head  at all.  All those stats are meaningless to me, for the most part, but I love watching the game.  Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame were on my bucket list.  I never imagined what it would be like but finally two weeks ago, my husband planned the short trip.  He made a reservation at an incredibly beautiful grand hotel named the Otesago.  Gorgeous. Old school. Actually, it was originally built as a girls' school in the 30's, but they have transformed it into one of the most charming hotels I've ever stayed at and from there, you can walk to main street. I love not having to drive and park everywhere. It adds to the relaxation of the vacation.  We had unusually cool weather for summer.  The main street shops are all devoted to baseball.  Baseball everything.  There's one shop that custom makes bats.  There are t-shirts and MLB branded tchotchkes everywhere.  There are restaurants and ice cream every 3rd shop.  And then, there are the people.  People from all over; all devoted to baseball.  We happened to be there while there was a huge baseball tournament with 100's of teams of 11-13 year old boys.  The town was a buzz and revving up to the following weeks new induction ceremony for the Hall of Fame.  

Spending the day at the Baseball Hall of Fame was fantastic.  So much to see.  The space is very crowded with all the treasures and memorabilia from the sport.  I am guessing that they had no foresight that it would be such a fantastic mecca for baseball fans, but they are growing out of their space and I can't see how they can expand.  There is a short film that they push that is such a disgrace and waste of time, that if you go, don't bother.  It tells nothing and basically is a commercial for how much we love baseball.  The Babe Ruth area has some of the most interesting items.  Unfortunately, it is all displayed very tightly.  There is a section honoring and teaching about the Negro League.  A very small, but fitting area for Women's baseball from the 40's.  

BUT, and a big but, MLB has a serious problem.  How do they handle the steroid era?  It can't be ignored. It can't be swept under the rug, which is how it feels.  I think that there should be the Bud Selig area called the Selig Era.  MLB can explain that after the baseball strike in 1994, baseball was prepared to do anything to get fan support back.  Ergo, the steroid/Selig era was born.  Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa thrilled fans once again with the home run derby.  Barry Bonds kept hitting long and often out of the park.  Everyone was happy again!  Fans, networks, owners, and, most of all, MLB.  There is no part of me that doesn't think that this was all an open secret that served them all to become more rich.  The faux outrage from all the entities is ridiculous and hypocritical.  The other problem they have is Pete Rose.  They have banned him from baseball.  The sportswriters refused to vote him in to the Hall of Fame.  He was a gambler.  He was a gambler as a manager, so vote him in as a player.  No one deserves to be in there more than Pete Rose and without him, it significantly diminishes the whole.  

Hopefully, even with these serious tarnishes on MLB, people will continue to visit, enjoy, and learn some of the history.  What makes baseball history more relevant than any other sport is that it spans and covers all of 20th century history.  It's a great way for kids to learn about America.  

Sidebars:  On a personal note, so proud of my husband. He wrote a magazine article a few years ago about Hilda Chester, a very famous fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The article is in the archives at the Hall of Fame forever! Did you hear that Alan Freed has to find a new resting place?  No seriously, did you? Alan Freed's ashes have been on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since its inception.  They are now asking the family to remove the urn.  OMG!  What a disgrace. First of all, Alan Freed is Rock and Roll and probably the only reason that Cleveland can justify its housing the museum there.  So wrong and another knock to the validity for the raison d'être. Went to see the San Francisco Giants at CitiField yesterday. Beautiful ball park, but really, Mets, only exemplifies your lack of history and greatness when you highlight Dodger greats Jackie Robinson and Gil Hodges.  Would be remiss not to mention the passing of James Brady. The gun control lobby has lost a great champion. Watched Bachelor in Paradise and didn't feel too dirty.  America's Got Talent live tonight with the next batch of acts.  If you are home, worth watching.  Great for the whole family.  

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