COOPERSTOWN — Following last week’s announcement by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that lifted significant COVID-19 restrictions, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum announced Monday, June 21, that tickets will not be needed for free lawn seating for the Wednesday, Sept. 8, induction ceremony.
The ceremony was rescheduled from its traditional last Sunday in July to an event at 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 8, on the grounds of the Clark Sports Center in the town of Middlefield.
The event will celebrate the inductions of Class of 2020 members Derek Jeter, Marvin Miller, Ted Simmons and Larry Walker and will be broadcast live exclusively on MLB Network.
Since 1992, the event has been held on the grounds of the Clark Sports Center, with estimated crowds approaching and surpassing 50,000 at five of the last six ceremonies, from 2014 to 2019. The second-largest crowd on record – an estimated 55,000 people – attended the Hall of Fame’s last induction, July 21, 2019.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s 2021 Induction ceremony will take place in a custom-made television studio being built at an undisclosed location. Because of a reporter’s error, a story in the Thursday, May 20, edition of The Freeman’s Journal and Hometown Oneonta, said the ceremony would take place in the Hall’s Plaque Gallery.
When the going gets tough, the entrepreneurs get going.
A corollary: The entrepreneurial spirit isn’t limited to entrepreneurs. (Per Merriam-Webster: “A person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater-than-normal financial risks in order to do so.”)
So it was telling to watch the Cooperstown Chamber’s first “Coffee With Coop” panel discussion via Zoom last Friday, March 19. Kudos to the Chamber, and Executive Director Tara Burke, who was also an adept emcee.
It was a little disheartening to hear a recitation of all the Hall of Fame cancellations, although the scope of its undertakings – an estimated 80,000 fans were expected at Derek Jeter’s Induction – make them particularly fraught, not to mention dangerous, in Time of COVID.
And yet, the entrepreneurial spirit lived in presentations by, first, Fenimore President/CEO Paul D’Ambrosio and then, in Glimmerglass Opera General & Artistic Director Francesca Zambello.
By MICHAEL FORSTER ROTHBART • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
Call it COVID fatigue.
Shocking as it may have been at another time, the Baseball Hall of Fame’s announcement last week that this year’s July 25 Induction Ceremony will be broadcast on TV by the MLB Network, that’s it, has been largely accepted in Baseball Town.
What was expected to be record-breaking crowds cheering superstar Derek Jeter on the Clark Sports Center fields into the Hall of Plaques has turned into a so-far unspecified number of people in an unspecified venue.
The word of the week is “disappointed,” sometimes followed by a “but.”
“While the village is disappointed,” said Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch, “I think the Hall of Fame made a wise – and probably the only – decision they could make.”
“To say it’s disappointing is an understatement,” added Jeff Katz, Friends of Doubleday president (and former mayor), “but not a surprise. I’d be surprised if anybody was shocked.”
The idea was to bring fans to Cooperstown. What about taking Cooperstown to the fans?
In the Age of COVID, the second sentence is a more intriguing one.
And it played out this week with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s annual announcement of the Induction Class of 2021.
While it turned out there was no one to announce this year, the MLB Network spent the afternoon transmitting the Hall’s various exhibits and attractions to a national audience.
The last few years, Hall of Fame presidents, first Jeff Idelson and, lately, Tim Mead, have been announcing classes from a sterile studio in Secaucus, N.J.
How much more of an impact comes from staging the event in the cathedral-like Hall of Plaques, sanctum santorum of America’s Pastime?
By CHRYSTAL SAVAGE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
If not for Derek Jeter and his Classmates of 2020, this would have been another sparse summer for baseball in Cooperstown.
For the first time since 2013, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America elected none of the 25 Hall of Fame candidates above 75 percent, leaving the class of 2021 at zero.
Hall of Fame President Tim Mead announced results pf BBWAA balloting Tuesday, Jan. 26 – for the first time, broadcast from the Hall of Plaques at 22 Main St.
He said he’s confident that the ceremony will take place on July 25, saying that there is a lot of “diligent” work happening “behind the scenes.”
Mead’s presentation, which was broadcast live by the MLB Network, also marks the first time an Induction Class has been announced at the Hall of Plaques.
For years, it was done at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. Lately, HoF presidents, Jeff Idelson and last year Mead, announced the class at MLB Network headquarters in Secaucus, N.J.
Pitchers Barry Zito, Tim Hudson, Mark Buehrle and A.J. Burnett, infielder Aramis Ramírez, outfielder Torii Hunter and infielder-outfielder Michael Cuddyer will join 14 holdovers from the 2020 balloting.
Derek Jeter and outfielder Larry Walker were elected in the 2020 ballot, and will join those elected from this year’s ballot at this year’s induction in to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.