Randy Smith: Heading Back To Cooperstown

Tuesday, June 28, 2022 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith
I first visited Cooperstown, N.Y. in 1995. For those who are not familiar with this small village in up-state New York, it houses the Baseball Hall of Fame. My journey was part of a week-long family vacation that took us first to Camden Yards and a Baltimore Orioles game, through Pennsylvania and Amish country, then on to Cooperstown and the Hall of Fame and finally a stop in New York City and a Yankees game at Yankee Stadium. It just so happened we were at Yankee Stadium the day the great Micky Mantle passed away.

Until this year, that was the ultimate baseball trip. This summer, my oldest grandson's travel baseball team will be in Cooperstown for a week-long tournament and my wife and I will be with them.
Of course, we will extend our trip a few days on the front end by going to a Braves-Reds game in Cincinnati on Friday evening, then on to Cleveland for a game between the Yankees and Cleveland Guardians on Saturday evening, then a quick trip to Niagara Falls on Sunday before delivering our grandson to the team bunkhouse in Cooperstown Monday morning.

For an old man, it may be a strenuous trip but one I'm determined to make. I hear the Hall of Fame has changed a lot in the 27 years since we've been there. It was amazing to me back then and I can't wait until I get to see it again. However, the main reason for this trip is for the 12 and under Exposure Prime baseball team. This tournament is the final one for the summer and from what others have told me, it's a once in a lifetime experience for the kids.

You see, all the players and their coaches will gather on Monday July 4th at the team bunkhouses. The kids will stay there together, eat together, shower together, etc. This continues all week long with activities scheduled every day either before or after they play. Of course, one of the activities and the highlight of the trip is a tour of the Baseball Hall of Fame. No matter how many times you go you always see something you missed the time before. Since I was there in 1995, several Atlanta Braves have been enshrined and I can't wait to see their busts.

A true baseball fan will likely shed a tear or two at the Hall of Fame. I did 27 years ago, and I'll probably do it again next week. This time is different however. This time I'll have three of my grandchildren with me and all three are baseball fans. A stop at the Hall of Fame is one fabulous experience and throw in a week-long tournament that my oldest grandkid is playing in and it just doesn't get any better! 
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Randy Smith can be reached at rsmithsports@epbfi.com

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