A’s Season Ticket Holder and AFAC member Marlene recently visited Cooperstown for Rickey Henderson’s induction and traveled the northeast baseball landscape to watch our A’s. Today, Marlene shares some stories and observations from her travels, as well as some photos. Thanks Marlene!
Celebrating Rickey’s Induction at the Baseball Hall of Fame!
What better birthday present could I give to myself than a trip to Cooperstown to celebrate Rickey Henderson’s induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame? How about that trip to Cooperstown plus visits to Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park to see our A’s play! Throw in the new Mets park, Citifield, Nationals Park and Oriole Park at Camden Yards… and HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!
Being in Cooperstown for Rickey’s induction was great fun. There were many more A’s fans in attendance than I anticipated and we all had a marvelous time; proud of Rickey and his accomplishments and especially proud of his prepared and well delivered speech! People stopped us on the way back to town to comment on just how surprisingly good Rickey had been.
Cooperstown is a baseball pilgrimage at any time, but being there for a Hall of Fame Induction is especially exciting. The streets are full of fans sporting the colors of every Major League team and some Minor League clubs too. Former Hall of Famers and other baseball greats come to town and relax on Main Street with fans of every age, signing autographs and smiling for photos. I saw Yogi Berra, Juan Marichal, Al Kaline, Gary Carter, Rollie Fingers, and our own Dave Stewart.
The Baseball Hall of Fame building has been remodeled since my last visit, enlarging the space for the library and opening up the actual Hall of Fame into a beautiful space. All three floors of the Hall are full of baseball history, which included special exhibits for the three new inductees, an exhibit honoring Hank Aaron, memorabilia for each team, and vintage uniforms and equipment. You could happily spend several days enjoying all the memories.
Be sure to put Cooperstown on your must-visit list. It is a beautiful New England village situated on Lake Otsega.
I was able to get to two of our games at new Yankee Stadium. One was the rescheduled rain postponed game from early in the season and the makeup game was rain delayed for 2 ½ hours! That delay worked in my favor as I was able to visit the Yankees Museum and Monument Park as well as wander around the very wide concourses and view the multitude of food choices. There was a meat market and steak sandwich spot, the Yankees Club with white table cloth dining, pizza, and also sushi. A New York law requires the calorie count of foods displayed, so you know just how many thousands of calories you can consume at the ballgame!
The park is new and big, featuring lots of Yankees history. There are exhibits honoring each of the 26 World Championship teams. The museum features a “Ball Wall” with hundreds of signed baseballs from Yankees greats – including Catfish Hunter! Lots of exciting elements all around the park, but it felt very new and very big and very much like all the new ballparks. I missed the “ghosts” from the old Stadium right across the street. It is still standing.
This trip was also my first visit to Fenway Park. I went on a tour in the afternoon. It really is a lovely old ballpark and you can just feel the history there on the grassy field. It was beautiful and peaceful. The park features many of the original seats, rather narrow and long rows. The seats on top of the Green Monster had a great view. The tour guide told us that the color of the wall, Fenway Green, is proprietary and only available to the Red Sox. The game later that night was yet another sellout. I don’t think I got the true Fenway experience, though. I was sitting with 25 A’s fans!
I then traveled back to New York for a Rockies vs Mets game at the new Citifield. It is still by LaGuardia so airplanes flying overhead are an extra highlight! Again another big, new ballpark. The main entrance is through a very large rotunda that is dedicated to honoring the legacy of Jackie Robinson. Murals on the upper level walls celebrate #42 with images from his career. The out of town scoreboard was my favorite as I could follow right along with the A’s game in Boston; out by out, base by base. We won that night so it was all good! Customer Service at Citifield was so outstanding that I stopped a supervisor to comment. Turns out this guy is a Raiders fan and has season tickets on the 50 yard line in section 117. Of all the people in New York to talk to, I pick a Raiders fan!
I left New York and headed to Washington, D.C. for the SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) convention. The Nationals were on the road, but I took the Metro to the ballpark for a tour. Very convenient, the park is close to the train stop. Our tour took us through the public spaces, which featured both Nationals history and many of the legends of the game. I thought that was a very nice touch. We toured the press box and the upper level seats. Imagine watching a ballgame and being able to see the Capital Building in the background! The SABR convention is all baseball, all the time, with research presentations on all aspects of the game. There were author presentations and my favorite session the Player Panel. This year Frank Howard and Rick Dempsey talked baseball with host George Michael for about an hour and a half.
The SABR convention included a trip to Camden Yards, where the Red Sox were in town to play the Orioles. It felt like Fenway South, there were so many Sox fans there. Camden Yards is the first retro ballpark built in 1992 close to downtown at the old railroad site. Trains stop right outside. The park has been maintained very well and still looks great.