LETTER from SAMANTHA DAVENPORT
To the Editor:
I am a reader of www.AllOTSEGO.com as well as its weekly newsprint companion. Twice now I have seen reference made to the Baseball Hall of Fame as “Mecca” and/or “the Mecca.”
Although I too place great value on the HoF and acknowledge it might be very old tradition to use the word, I think calling it “Mecca” is, frankly, tone-deaf.
I am sorry to be so blunt. For many, including some of our fine Bassett physicians, this would be the same as saying the Hall was just like the Vatican or the Church of The Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. For many others, again including some of our fine Bassett physicians, that term brings to mind Howard University specifically.
I know we in and around your readership value our community, both near and far. I know we wish to be as welcoming as possible and assume your staff and sponsors feel likewise.
Therefore I kindly ask you to consider using other terms of great praise for our fine local institution.
Thanking you in advance,
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
For the second time in history, the Baseball Hall of Fame had an opening day.
“It’s only the second opener, after the day we first opened,” said Tim Mead, Hall of Fame president. “It puts it in perspective.”
On Friday, June 26, nearly 81 years to the day of the first June 12, 1939 opening, Oneonta’s Steve Pindar, visitor services director, opened the glass door at 25 Main St. and called out, “we’re open.”
It had been closed since March 15, the weekend Governor Cuomo declared a “state of emergency” to combat COVID-19.
“On Friday, we had 150 visitors,” said Mead in a Monday, June 29 interview. “On Saturday, we had 250, and by Sunday, we had 340 guests.”
The Hall was allowed to open under Phase Four of NY Forward with strict guidelines about social distancing, maximum capacity and masks. “Four weeks ago, we began putting together our reopening plan,” Mead said. “Based on the two weeks between Phase One and Phase Two, we projected that we could open by the end of June.”
He worked with the American Association of Museums, Rock & Roll Hall President Greg Harris, formerly of Cooperstown, and Paul D’Ambrosio, Fenimore and Farmers’ museum president/CEO, to design the Hall’s reopening plan.
“We wanted to see what others had done,” he said. “Being a museum, we have basic standards we need to follow, but there’s a uniqueness to how we have to clean.”
The Hall is able to operate at 25 percent of capacity – maximum capacity is 12,000 visitors a day. To maintain a manageable flow, the Hall is using timed ticketing, purchased online, which allows 25 visitors every half-hour.
But enforcing the protocols gave the Hall a chance to be creative. Take the signage. “Yogi Wore a Mask: Be Like Yogi” reads one sign, and the protocols, including social distancing, not entering if sick and frequent hand sanitizing at one of the 25 stations throughout the Hall – are called the “Starting Nine.”
“Wherever possible, when we did signage, we tried to do it in a baseball way,” said Jon Shestakofsky, vice president/communications. “Let’s have a little fun.”
The Hall redesigned the flow of traffic to move one way, and in smaller spaces, such as the art gallery, put up ropes to help keep visitors on the path.
To keep touch-screen exhibits sanitary, Shestakofsky demonstrated a rubber-tipped stylus, which are handed out to every visitor. With it, “you can still push the buttons, make your own baseball card, and see the Holy Grails,” he said. “We wanted all our exhibit spaces to be fully functional.”
And although the Grandstand and Bullpen theaters are closed, visitors can watch the “Generations of the Game” film through the Baseball Hall of Fame app.
Prior to the closure, the Locker Room exhibit had been relocated to the third-floor gallery. “It gives it more of a locker room feel,” said Shestakofsky.
During their closure, the Hall offered a robust slate of digital programming, including talks, trivia and virtual field trips, which Mead says they intend to continue.
“We challenged ourselves,” said Mead. “We didn’t want to look at short-term solutions, we wanted to look at long-term possibilities.”
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for TUESDAY, JUNE 30
BASEBALL DISCUSSION – 1 p.m. Virtual Legends of the Game featuring Hall of Famer Dennis Ekersley, pitcher with 100 save & 100 complete games, discussing career, Cooperstown, more during live presentation, followed by Q&A with select participants. Free, Registration required. Visit baseballhall.org/events/virtual-legends-of-the-game-Dennis-Eckersley?date=0 for info.
What’s Fun In Otsego County
Learn about Rube Foster, the founder of the Negro Leagues, and other players from the 1920s – 40s in a virtual field trip at the Baseball Hall of Fame to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the league. 1 p.m. Thursday, June 25, www.baseballhall.org/events/virtual-field-trip-celebration-of-the-negro-leagues?date=0 for info.
If your teen has been cooped up inside for too long, get them out on the trails with LEAF’s Great Otsego Outdoors Challenge. 2 p.m. Friday, June 26, Club Odyssey, 80 Water St., Oneonta. Info, 607-353-7143, www.facebook.com/ClubOdysseyOneonta/.
Learn how to ferment and can the vegetables you’re growing in your garden in a webinar with the Otsego County Master Gardeners. Registration required. 11 – noon, Friday, June 26, www.facebook.com/CCEOtsegoMG/
It might not be the hoax of the century, but you can make a mini Cardiff Giant with a salt dough recipe at The Farmers Museum. www.facebook.com/farmersmuseum/
Enjoy a day out on the lake and help preserve it from invasive species with a Paddle and Pull at Silver Lake. Canoes and Kayaks provided. Register by Friday, June 26. 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturday, June 27, Silver Lake, Silver Lake Rd., New Berlin. 607-547-4488 or visit www.occainfo.org/calendar/paddle-and-pull-silver-lake-2/
Learn how to explore FamilySearch.org, a database to help research family roots. Presented by the Harris Memorial Library. Saturday, June 27, 4-5 p.m. Visit www.facebook.com/harrislibrary.
HALL OF FAME REOPENS
Rubber-Tipped Stylus One Tool
That Allows Fans Back Into Mecca
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
“This way, we’re able to fit within the mandated 25 percent reduced capacity,” which is called for in Governor Cuomo’s NY Forward regulations, he said.
Tickets will be sold in half-hour intervals, with a maximum of 25 people per half hour. “We’re really encouraging people to buy tickets online,” he said. “That way, we don’t have people congregating outside or in the lobby.”
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, JUNE 25
VIRTUAL FIELD TRIP – 1 p.m. Celebrate 100 years since the founding of the Negro Leagues with virtual program about their history in their heyday of the 1920s, 30s, & 40s. Learn about founder Rube Foster, and the great Black Baseball players Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, and many more with the Baseball Hall of Fame. Visit baseballhall.org/events/virtual-field-trip-celebration-of-the-negro-leagues?date=0 for info.
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, JUNE 18
VIRTUAL BIRD WALK – 9 -10 a.m. Enjoy virtual walk through sights & sounds of the Edith Wharton Estate to discover/identify the different bird calls with the Otsego County Master Gardeners. Visit www.facebook.com/CCEOtsegoMG/ for info.
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, JUNE 12
SCIENCE TRIVIA – 7 – 9 p.m. Join AJ Read Science Discovery Center and SUNY Oneonta for 3 round game all about science. Bring your friends or play solo in this Zoom based game. Registration required. Visit www.facebook.com/AJReadSDC/ for info.
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, MAY 29
BASEBALL DISCUSSION – 11 a.m. Turner Classic Movies film host Ben Mankiewicz, who grew up loving baseball, discusses love of baseball, his favorite team the Oakland A’s, different baseball films. Tune in to find out his favorite baseball film with the Baseball Hall of Fame. Visit baseballhall.org/events/voices-of-the-game-Ben-Mankiewicz-20?date=0 for info.
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, MAY 27
FIELD TRIP – 11 a.m. Students compare, contrast models of resolving differences through exploration of baseball’s player organizations in program ‘Labor History: Hardballs and Handshakes,’ with the Baseball Hall of Fame. Visit baseballhall.org/events/virtual-field-trip-labor-history-20?date=0
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for TUESDAY, MAY 26
CURATOR SPOTLIGHT – 2 p.m. Virtual program highlights ‘Taking The Field’ exhibit on amateur baseball, evolution of pro-Ball and equipment. Featuring interview with Baseball Hall of Fame curator on baseball’s origins. Visit baseballhall.org/events/virtual-taking-the-field-20?date=0
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, MAY 22
BASEBALL DISCUSSION – 11 a.m. Join Baseball Hall of Fame for conversation with former Major Leaguer Al Oliver on his career including playing at world cup with the Pittsburgh Pirates, then his post baseball career as a motivational speaker. Free, registration required. Visit baseballhall.org/events/geography-baseball-to-coast-20?date=0 for info.
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, MAY 20
WEBINAR – 1 – 2 p.m. Join Otsego County Conservation Association for free program “The Power of Planning, During and After The Pandemic.’ Join Danny Lapin, OCCA Environmental Planner to learn how communities can adapt in a post Covid-19 world. Registration required. Visit occainfo.org/calendar/occa-webinar-the-power-of-planning-during-and-after-the-pandemic/ for info.
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, MAY 13
CONSERVATION – Noon – 1 p.m. Learn about the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive species threatening ash trees throughout the country, with Otsego County Conservation Association. Learn to identify ash trees, signs of an infestation, discuss what to do once discovered. Free, registration required. Visit occainfo.org/calendar/invasive-species-spotlight-hunting-the-emerald-ash-borer/ for info.