warning: long post with lots of pictures follows. read at your own risk. 🙂
when we left our motel at 6 a.m. on sunday, we thought we were in good shape. it was early, we had directions and we were on our way.
we knew cooperstown was about 1.5 hours from albany, so we figured we had a ways to go on the interstate. but, when we started seeing the exit numbers completely change, we got a little worried. when we stopped at a toll booth (what IS it with toll booths up there??), we asked if we were headed the right way.
“you’re about an hour in the wrong direction,” the toll worker told us.
seriously? damn. so we turned around and headed back, passing the exit our motel was on. two exits past that, we got off onto a state highway.
despite that, we made it to cooperstown about 4 hours before the ceremony began. we found a really good parking spot, and walked the few blocks into the downtown area. the energy immediately engulfed us. there were so many people crowded onto the small-town street. it was awesome. there were *so* many orange and black shirts. it was great. i felt like i was back in baltimore again! we spent a while looking at all the memorabilia for sale in front of all the stores. we ended up buying a cal ripken kit that included a hat, a bobble head, keychains, pins from his milestones and a few other things.
i look like a little kid in this picture, but that’s ok. i could have stayed there forever. it was just so much fun. after we picked up some souvenirs, we walked down to doubleday field, where baseball originated. every year, the hall of fame game is played there in may. i wish it was during induction weekend because i would have loved to have gone.
then it was time for the hall of fame. we didn’t go through the museum since there were so many people. the line for the gift shop was about 20 minutes long, so we felt like we didn’t have time to wait in an even longer line for the museum. that will be another trip for us in the next couple of years. but we did go, and it was so neat to be there in person at the place that baseball fans consider mecca. it was really cool.
after we saw the hof, we headed back to our seats. now, the induction wasn’t held at the hof but at the sports complex almost a mile away. an eighth of a mile to be precise. silly, silly me though, oh, an eighth of a mile, that’s not bad. however, when you walk it 4-5 times, it gets really tiring. on the last trip back we took the shuttle because my poor arthritic knees were hurting too much. boo hoo.
a crowd of about 50,000 was expected. that estimation turned out being closer to 100,000. so, when we arrived at the sports complex on our first trip to drop off our blanket, the huge field in front of the stage was packed. there wasn’t an empty spot anywhere. so, we claimed a spot on the other side of the road right up front. we figured it wouldn’t be too bad because there were large screens up and we would be able to hear.
that was before they allowed the buses to drive through during the ceremony. buses are loud, and with them driving through every few minutes, it was impossible to see or hear anything. a bunch of us moved over to other side and stood on the edge of the roadway and, when we’d had enough, we all stood in the middle of the road as a statement to the bus drivers. solidarity! unfortunately, our stand ended when the state troopers made us move.
it was a great ceremony though. i felt a great surge of pride when it got to the “oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave” line in the national anthem and all of us baltimorans shouted “o!” a woman standing in front of me said it was embarrassing. whatever. it’s fun, and it’s tradition. she obviously has never been to a game at camden yards.
we booked it out of there as soon as cal ripken jr.’s speech was over to try to beat the crowds out, as we had a rental car to return and a train to catch. and, thanks to our rockstar parking lot, we were ahead of everyone. we were very worried about being caught on the one-lane road leading in and out of cooperstown with 99,999 other people.
the rest of our trip was rushed but fun. we stayed on staten island with one of joe’s cousins. on monday, we headed into new york city because i had never been there. we went to times square, madison square garden, ground zero and the financial district. that’s all we really had time for!
one of the highlights for me was looking up and seeing the new york times right in front of us. i may sound like a dork, but for a journalist who’s always wanted to work there, seeing it was pretty damn awesome.
on tuesday, we opted not to go back into the city as we were tired of all the walking we’d been doing, and hung out with tommy and christina and the boys for the day. we really wanted to be able to spend more time with them, and we had a lot of fun swimming, laying out in the sun and just relaxing.
that evening, we headed into the bronx with tommy and the boys for a yankees game! joe and i were *so* excited about it. we’re such baseball nuts. his friends were jealous because they’re tearing down yankee stadium next year. we had a blast. we sat out on the bleachers in the outfield, which was so much fun. unfortunately, it wasn’t as much of a game as it was batting practice for the yankees, who beat the white sox 14-3. pretty much everyone on the yankees hit a home run except alex rodriguez, who was going for his 500th. we were really disappointed. it would have been awesome to have had a ticket from the game where he hit that!
it was also christopher and thomas’s first yankees game, and they had so much fun. they stayed up for the whole thing, and cheered and just had so much fun. it was a lot of fun watching them.
seriously, how cute are those kids??
now we’re home. yay. the trip was great, but it’s always nice to get back to reality.