The 2019 inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame – from left, Harold Baines, Lee Smith, Edgar Martinez, Michael Mussina, Mariano Rivera, and Brandy Halladay, accepting the plaque posthumously on behalf of her husband Roy Halladay – pose for a group photo on the stage following their Induction ceremony earlier today in the field next to the Clark Sports Center. If your eyes were good, you may have even spotted Laurentino Cortizo, right, the President of Panama, who was in the crowd with fellow Panamanians to witness and celebrate their countryman Rivera’s induction. The Hall announced this evening that 55,000 fans attended the ceremony, making it the second-largest, after the Cal Ripken Jr./Tony Gwynn weekend in 2007. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
It’s the biggest weekend of the year, as the Boys of Summer return to Cooperstown for their Induction – the 80th – into the Hall of Fame at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, July 21, in the field next to the Clark Sports Center. The induction is free; bring a lawn chair or blanket for comfortable viewing. Info www.baseballhall.org
In the Parade of Legends at 6 p.m. Saturday on Main Street, welcome Mariano Rivera, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Lee Smith, Harold Baines and the family of the late Roy Halladay – as well as dozens of Hall of Famers – to Baseball’s Mecca. The parade runs from Doubleday Field, up Fowler Way, down Chestnut Street to Main, and up Main to the Hall of Fame. Info www.baseballhall.org
But it’s not just players who get in. Announcer Al Helfer will posthumously receive the Ford C. Frick Award for baseball broadcasting excellence and Jayson Stark will take home the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing. 4:30 p.m. Saturday, July 20, Doubleday Field.
You’ll need something to eat over the weekend, and a Brooks Chicken BBQ – complete with homemade salads, sides
and desserts – may hit the spot! Take home or eat under the big tent. Noon-4 p.m. Saturday, July 20, United Methodist Church, 66 Chestnut St., Coopers-town. Info 607-547-5782.
There’s more to Hall of Fame weekend than the Big Game, and The Church presents “The Night They Lit Up Wrigley” which tells the story of Rita “Slats” Meyer, the Peoria Redwings baseball player who helped inspire “A League
of their Own.”
8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, July 18-20, The Church, 2381 Route 205, Mount Vision. Info 607-638-5119.
The Arc Otsego’s 15th Annual Voice! a juried art exhibition of work by artists with developmental disabilities opens with a free public reception 5-7 p.m. Friday, July 19, at the Martin-Mullen Art Gallery, located in the Fine Arts Building of SUNY Oneonta. During the reception, over $1,500 in prize money will be awarded, and visitors may vote for the People’s Choice Award winner.
Butternuts Beer & Ale hosts a weekend-long festival featuring Northern Outlaws, Cousin Jake and others. Day pass, $10. Opens 2 p.m. Friday, July 20, 9 a.m. Saturday, July 21. Butternuts Beer & Ale, 4020 Route 51, Garrattsville. Info 607-263-5070.
Take in a little music under the stars as the Pathfinder Village summer concert series continues with Blues Maneuver. 7 p.m. Saturday, July 20, Pathfinder Village, Route 80, Edmeston. Info 607-965-8377 Ext. 126.
One of the many delights in getting older is you realize some things aren’t going to be resolved in your lifetime. If you’re 65-and-holding, you
American paranoia and its companion, the National Security State, won’t be dissipated tomorrow, if it can ever. And, year to year, we witness the ever-fuller flowering of these truly abhorrent aspects of modern American life during the Hall of Fame’s Induction Weekend.
In addition to all the other indignities of recent Induction Weekends – metal barricades, legions of police officers and military personnel, armored cars, frowning men in camo watching us from the rooftops – add two more for 2018.
One is drones that buzzed Cooperstown skies
this weekend, even as signs went up: “Drone Use Regulations In Effect” (for the rest of us). The other was no-parking signs that went up within block after block of Cooperstown’s barricaded-off downtown.
Who is buzzing us and what are they looking for? That information isn’t readily available. (Not the Russians, we hope.)
The vastly expanded no-parking zones, Cooperstown Mayor
Ellen Tillapaugh explained, are in the event of an incident at Induction venues – an exploding knapsack, ala Boston Marathon, perhaps: Visitors can be more quickly “evacuated” – yikes.
“These acts of mass murder,” President George W. Bush told us a few hours after the Twin Towers were felled on 9/11, “were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong.
“A great people has been moved to defend a great nation,” he continued. “Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.”
Of course, that was nonsense. Mohamed Mohamed el-Amir Awad el-Sayed Atta and his Gang of 18 won 9/11. As a people, we’ve been running scared every since, as evidenced yet again this past weekend as America’s Pastime was celebrated under Big Brother’s watchful eye.
(FYI, homeland security spending rose to $635.9 billion in the decade following 9/11, from $69.1 billion, according to the National Priorities Project.)
Ironically, how many visitors remarked to you how lovely Cooperstown reminds them of the good old days, of unlocked doors, kids on bikes, well-tended houses (where, presumably, mom and dad live with a couple of kids), for the time being, tree-lined streets? (What’s that buzzing?)
Still, you can understand the anxiety of the powers-that-be. If everything that might be done isn’t done and something happens, imagine the recriminations – in this space, no doubt, and far beyond. Heads would roll, careers would be lost. There’s a self-propelling momentum from – is it too much to say? – freedom to chains, at least e-chains.
How, as a nation, do we ramp it back? How, as a community, might we be a model? Maybe a place to start would be a community de-briefing in the next few weeks. Or is this none of our business? And more community input next spring as security is planned for Induction 2019.
To ask the question – how do we ramp it back? – is easy. Perhaps the answer will only be found in the march of history-to-come.
The Romans no doubt felt similar paranoia, with a resulting National Security State, archaic by comparison. It was solved when the Visigoths took over. Problem solved – at least that problem. Will paranoia be part of American life until American life is no more?
Meanwhile, what next? Returnees from the U.S. Open golf championship on Long Island on Father’s Day Weekend provide an inkling. All parking, all of it, was at Gabreski Airport, 10 miles from Shinnecock Hills Country Club.
To get to the open, you had to park your car or SUV there, along with 10,000 other vehicles. All attendees went through security screening, including metal detectors, then were put on buses that took them to the golf course and brought them back at day’s end.
Certainly, that model must be under consideration for the prospective Derek Jeter induction in 2020. If so, you read it here first, folks. The difference: Shinnecock is a golf course; Cooperstown – for the time being, anyhow – is a living, breathing community.
Weekend A Hit
While ever-tightening security is hard to ignore, Induction Weekend 2018 was also a lot of fun, and plenty of inspiration.
Six inductees – the most since 1971 – promised a lengthy ceremony, but it went by quickly, with Chipper Jones and Jack Morris’ humor, Trevor Hoffman’s food for thought and Jim Thome’s message: Success takes hard work, and he gave details. (Also, his daughter Lila’s rendering of the National Anthem was on it.)
Bob Costas winning the Ford C. Frick Award added a sheen of show biz, the Parade of Legends was bigger and better than ever, and the visitors were happy.
Given the crowd was the second-largest – 52,000 to Ripken-Gwynn’s 83,000 in 2007 – things generally went smoothly, even the traffic.
“Mi Tierra! Mi Tierra!” – Raymon Garcia leads the cheers for a group of friends from the Dominican Republican, here to cheer Vladimir Guerrero and other members of the Class of 2018 in the Parade of Legends, which ended a few minutes ago in downtown Cooperstown. It was too much excitement for Nolan Peet, a baseball fan for 6 months, who attended the parade with dad Steve and mom Marybeth. The Lewes, Del., family has a family home in the Cooperstown area; this is the Philly fans’ 17th consecutive Hall of Fame Weekend. The next big event is Induction at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the Clark Sports Center. (Jim Kevlin, George Thabault/AllOTSEGO.com photos)
CONCERT – 3 p.m. Redeeming Love performs abolitionist and shape notes songs, , coinciding with Oneonta’s Music History exhibition. Oneonta History Center, 183 Main St., Oneonta. Call (607)432-0960 or visit www.oneontahistory.org
COOPERSTOWN – Comedian Jeff Foxworthy and former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw are among the 48,000 people expected to visit Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame’s Induction Weekend.
Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz are scheduled to be inducted into the Hall of Plaques at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in ceremonies outside the Clark Sports Center.
“We’re excited!” said Craig Muder, the Hall’s director of communications. “This is what we live for!”
Biggio brings in a big turnout from his fellow Astros, including players Jeff Bagwell, Enos Cabell, Casey Candaele, Adam Everett, Charley Kerfeld and Bill Spiers, as well as owner Jim Crane, former managers Larry Dierker, Phil Garner and Art Howe, Reid Ryan, president of business operations, president of baseball operations Jeff Luhnow and former coach Matt Galante.
Toronto Blue Jays president Paul Beeston and Tigers president Dave Dombrowski will also be in town, as well as Tommy Harper; Red Sox principal owner John W. Henry; Dodgers president Stan Kasten; and Braves president John Schuerholz.
The Hall of Fame’s 75th anniversary weekend didn’t just stay confined to the streets of Cooperstown.
“It had a very positive impact on our local merchants,” said Barbara Ann Heegan, executive director, Otsego County Chamber. “The restaurants were filled, the mall was very filled.”
“We were super busy,” said Red Caboose owner Tim Masterjohn, who also serves as the board president of the newly formed Destination Oneonta. “When you have that many people coming into an area, it’s inevitable that hotels and restaurants will be packed.”
The induction of former Yankee manager Joe Torre, a local favorite, plus Atlanta Braves pitchers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, and manager Bobby Cox, and White Sox Frank Thomas and manager Tony LaRussa brought an estimated 48,000 people into the county, the third-largest crowd in Hall of Fame history. Only the seven-member 1999 class (50,000) – George Brett, Orlando Cepeda, Nestor Chylak, Nolan Ryan, Frank Selee, Joe Williams and Robin Yount – and Ripken/Gwynn in 2007 drew better (75,000).
And it’s only going to get better, or at least stay as good. Next year, Randy Johnson will be on the ballot, and in 2019, Derek Jeter could bring record numbers of fans to the streets of Cooperstown – and Oneonta. Multiple MLB stars will become eligible in the years in between. “People are sharing that they want to come back,” said Heegan.
The Clarion, Courtyard by Marriott and Holiday Inn were completely booked almost a year ago, but still the calls came in. “The week of, people were calling the chamber, trying to see if we could refer them to a hotel room,” said Heegan.
The sunny weather helped. “Everyone I know was just inundated with customers,” said Masterjohn. “Everyone was out walking around, and traffic was definitely noticeable.”
And, seeing that Oneonta still has so much more to offer, many of those visitors have decided to stay for a little while longer to enjoy the start of the Otsego County Fair on Tuesday, July 29. “When they heard we had the fair in town, some people extended their stay,” Heegan said. “It’s such a positive to have those two events back-to-back.”
It’s part of what Destination Oneonta hopes to do in the future. “Induction weekend took the cake,” said Masterjohn, “but our mission is to bring people back even when it’s not an induction – whether to go shopping, visit a brewery or a winery, or just take a day trip. We need to highlight ourselves and show what a great town this is.”
COOPERSTOWN – “Fifty thousand people are expected to pour into Cooperstown this weekend to help celebrate the induction of six legendary names into the National Baseball Hall of Fame,” CBS This Morning reported today.
“But as CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg reports, the chairman of the Hall has a unique history of her own, and she doesn’t even work for the major leagues,” it continued.
“‘I hope someday that some of the young fellas coming into the game know what it’s like to be a part of the Hall of Fame,’ said Jane Forbes Clark. She is the Hall’s chairman, and granddaughter of its founder, Stephen Carlton Clark.”