Cooperstown

I’ve always talked about going to Cooperstown and for whatever reason, when Deb has agreed to a trip; I’m the one who’s put it off. Until now.

This weekend we went to Cooperstown, NY, erroneously believed to be the birthplace of baseball. We were joined by Bob & Laurie Rozakis and this marked our first trip away as a group and of course, it worked out wonderfully.

It all started Friday as we rendezvoused in Albany, en route to Cooperstown. On a recent cruise, they befriended a woman named Carmella, who runs Sam’s, a neighborhood Italian restaurant. We of course, had to go and try the food which was terrific. Carmella, Bob, and Laurie played catch up while we enjoyed the food and friendly atmosphere.

Saturday, we were up and at the Baseball Hall of Fame, where, I found to my delight, members of the press and a guest get free admission. Since Laurie loudly proclaimed me to be a journalist, Deb and I scooted past the gate.

They say you can do the place in half a day or for diehard fans, it really could take two days. We did it in just under one and were very satisfied. Seven separate structures have been nicely interwoven into one massive, three story complex which was well designed, well lit and had all the right little touches without being ostentatious. I was thrilled.

I’ve read plenty of baseball history so could skim some of the plaques or descriptions of various eras. But to study the evolution of uniforms, equipment, scorecards, games, etc. was a delight. Nothing went unrecognized from the concessions to the noteworthy fans. Off in a corner, a video loop plays Abbott & Costello doing their classic “Who’s on First?” routine (taken from their film The Naughty Nineties). In between showings of the bit, which remains hilarious, they had sketches from other comedians including Bob Newhart and George Carlin so it was a nice break from wandering.

Thanks to a hand stamp, any of us could roam in and out of the place all day which meant we could meander down the rainy street and have a nice pizza lunch. Then back to the building where we gawked at the Hall of Fame itself, to see the plaques and watch professional baseball begin to correct its mistakes by admitting Negro League players and several overlooked players from the past.

We were done around 4, very satisfied. We headed a few miles away to Fly Creek where they had an Apple Stand, store, press, etc. We browsed, sampled and bought too much food product. In fact, Bob and Laurie were so sated, they skipped going out to dinner. Deb and I had salad and appetizers which was just enough and then back to the motel where we joined them to watch the much-delayed World Series. After 3.5 innings, we had had enough.

As we prepared to leave, they gave us a gift. They had ordered a memorial brick in Robbie’s honor to be laid at Citi Field, the Mets’ new home. Accompanying their order was a home version of the brick for display which they gave to us. In fact, it was a two-brick order so this large, heavy item names Robbie and extols his devotion to the team. We were very touched by the moving gesture.

Today was checking out (the motel’s final day of the season) and a nice breakfast followed by an even nice drive home. We took the scenic route and even with stops (including one so Deb could buy shoes), we did the trip in a hair under 4.5 hours which was just fine by us.

All in all, a nice weekend with great friends. I finally got to see the Hall of Fame and am very glad I went.

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