Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Passing Legends to the Next Generation

Yesterday the family and I returned to that hallowed hall, the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. The Momma and I hadn't been there in almost 7 years, and this was C's first time there. You can click the photo above to see more pictures from the trip.

Overall the trip was a nice break, although it was marred somewhat by illness. On Thursday & Friday of last week C had been hit hard by a nasty cold and fever, and The Momma had it Sunday and Monday while we were in NY. Still, they were troopers and we didn't cancel the trip, though it did limit our time in the Hall to under three hours. But it was enough to give C a good exposure to it before he pooped out, and he enjoyed it. The Momma also enjoyed it despite not feeling well, and found a new baseball hero herself in Ila Borders, a professional woman BASEBALL (not softball) player from the 1990's.

I also of course saw what I most wanted - needed! - to see, the display case from the 2004 World Series champion Boston Red Sox. Oh, in case I haven't mentioned it here before, the Red Sox won the World Series last year! It was a nice collection of memorabilia from the Series (though none from the ALCS), including bats from HR-hitting Johnny Damon and MVP Manny Ramirez, jerseys from David Ortiz and Derek Lowe, a cap from the now-departed Pedro Martinez, a glove from Orlando Cabrera, spikes from closer Keith Foulke, an admission ticket, program book and some lapel pins, and Curt Schilling's bloody sock.

Yup, perhaps the most disturbing and the coolest artifact I've ever seen at the Hall, Curt Schilling's sanitary sock made famous in any number of close-ups during World Series Game 2 as blood seeped through his stitched ankle and created the ultimate Boston Red Sock. Cool... but weird! There was also a jar of dirt taken from the pitcher's mound in St. Louis following the final Series game. I don't know why that seems important... but it does.

We also checked out the new kid's area at the Hall, the Sandlot Kids' Clubhouse, but we frankly found this pretty lame. It's a very small room with a few chairs and benches in it facing a video screen with some nice clips available to watch, like "Who's on First?" (one of C's all-time faves) and the Babe teaching kids to hit. There's a nice assortment of kids' baseball books, a few nice artifacts, and some very minor activities like measuring your kid on a height chart that also shows the heights of modern MLB players like Mark McGwire and Randy Johnson. (Hmmm, 7-year-old C still isn't as tall as the Big Unit... but what do we learn from this?) No place to run or climb or burn off the extra energy though, so we found it disappointing. It doesn't help that the Clubhouse is located in the library wing of the museum, and so is only accessible by passing through the Hall of Fame Gallery room itself.

Still, that's a minor quibble, we felt no need to spend time in the Clubhouse anyway. In the end this was a Rockwellian "father taking his son to the Hall of Fame for the first time" trip, and it was not disappointing from that angle. C had legitimate interest in many of the players and even records that I showed him, and listened to a lot of the stories I could tell - at least for the first hour or so! And he loved the interactive computer terminals where he could call up stats and especially video of any of the inducted players. He left with a true appreciation for the likes of Jackie Robinson, Cy Young, Hammerin' Hank and Yaz.

For souvenirs he picked a souvenir baseball bat featuring a likeness of Nomar Garciaparra (still in a Red Sox uniform), a blue Pyrex pint glass featuring a picture of Abbott & Costello in baseball garb and the entire text of "Who's on First?" printed on the back, and an Uno card game deck themed to the 2004 Sox. He also picked out 8 Hall of Fame player's plaque postcards. He was disappointed that they didn't have kid sizes of some very cool "Who's on First?" T-shirts, as he really wanted the one that had the name "IDONTGIVEADAMN" on the back over the number 4!

Ah, baseball... only two more weeks for the new season!

(You can also click here to see more photos.)

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