Saturday, August 09, 2014

Kooperstown Komedy Kavalcade

To complete our Famous Baseball Summer - as I decided to call it just this instance - my dad and I went to Cooperstown a couple of weekends ago.  A slightly longer drive than the Canadian Hall of Fame, but no less worth it.  I've posted about induction weekend in Cooperstown before, so no need to go into great detail, save for the fact that there were a lot more people there than the last time I went - probably because this Hall of Fame class included a total of 6 Cy Youngs, 19 Gold Gloves, 8 Silver Sluggers, 12 World Series rings, 3 MVPs, and 10 Manager of the Year Awards.

Instead, let's talk about the weekend in general.

First off, future trips may need to involve taking the Friday of the weekend off; we just missed Andre Dawson at the Fergie Jenkins Foundation signing, as he was only available at 10 am on the Saturday, and that would have meant about a 3 AM departure.  But that's neither here nor there.
(Not the TV or boot. And Transcendence came from Target)

Initial stop - Cracker Barrel in Watertown.  Cracker Barrel is an examination in American consumerism - cheap food, large portions, and a store stuck right onto the side of it.  Beautiful!  Thus, we made good use of said store before and after lunch.

Then, on to Cooperstown!  The first day was rather uneventful in terms of actual Hall of Famey things.  We were there in time to see the entire Hall of Fame Parade down Main Street (we only caught the tail end of it when we went in 2011), and spent a good portion of time looking around the town, and spending money.  There were not many autograph opportunities for which we were willing to spend the money (too bad about Dawson, though), although if I were a Braves fan - boy oh boy.  In addition to inductees Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Bobby Cox, in town were John Rocker, Ryan Klesko, Marquis Grissom1, and John Smoltz - Mastercard would have been much happier with me.

Having shopped for our ladies, we opened our wallets for ourselves once in town.  Conveniently, we happened across some rather unique, and not outlandishly priced trinkets early in our adventures.


We wrapped up our first day's adventures2 with dinner at a Delmonico's, and trekked to our Utica Super 8 hotel.  As we arrived with a three-month-old reservation in hand, weary from our travels, we were greeted with a sigh and head shake.  At first, we thought this was a reflection of our late arrival time, which, really, bite me.  It turned out, however, to be a reflection of the clerk's distaste at dealing with another guest with a reservation whom she would need to turn away.  Apparently, Super 8's online booking system had been down at that particular hotel for several weeks and they had no idea how many reservations they had, so they'd been working on a walk-up policy - if they had a room when you walked up, you got it.  In our case, despite the clerk's assertion that we should really call Super 8 despite the fact that there was no way it would improve our immediate situation, we were too late and there were no available rooms.  Outstanding.

Unfortunately, considering this was probably the most heavily-booked day for hotel rooms in that particular part of upstate New York, it was not going to be easy to find a room.  Which we soon found out.  Five more hotels in Utica were a bust, so we began to trek 30 miles farther west to Syracuse, in hopes that whatever we did find, if anything, would not be $300 per night.  Our good karma finally decided to outweigh the bad, and we managed to find the last remaining room (albeit a single room) at a Days Inn just off the highway, next to a Dunkin Donuts, McDonald's, and Boxing Hall of Fame (?).  Sweet Jesus.

After finally getting some sleep, Sunday - the big day - rolled around.  Although the day wrapped up with Marquis Grissom's autograph, a wonderful induction ceremony, an Olive Garden dinner, and a readily available hotel room, it did not start off quite so smoothly.

10 am: Arrive outside of the CVS for an autograph session featuring Dave Stewart. Do not yet see Dave Stewart.
10:15 am: Double check to make sure that Dave Stewart is coming, as the tickets we've purchased indicate he'll be signing between 10 and 11:30.  We are assured he will be here.
10:16 am to 11:15 am: Wait for Dave Stewart to arrive.  Dave Stewart does not arrive.  We and the gentlemen with the poster-sized Dave Stewart picture begin getting antsy.
11:16 am: We again ask if Dave Stewart is coming.  We have been directly in front of the lady we are asking the entire time.  Her response, "Oh, no, he cancelled, he's at an event at the Hall of Fame."
"Well...should we get our money back then?..."
"Oh yeah, sure, I can give you a refund if you want one."
The hell? So...no Dave Stewart autograph, but luckily the former Braves were still signing, so we treated ourselves to a Marquis Grisson action shot.  We had decided not to leave Sunday empty-handed.

After an extremely well-attended ceremony, and a hike back to the car, we wrapped up our international weekend jaunt with a trip to Target (where I think I spent more money on the cat than myself), and back home.

With any luck, future visits - possibly as early as next year with Carlos Delgado, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Gary Sheffield, John Smoltz, Troy Percival, or 2016 with first-balloters Trevor Hoffman and Ken Griffey, Jr. - will go more smoothly.

I know we won't be staying at a Super 8 with Dave Stewart.

1 - Whom we did get, in light of his time in Montreal

2 - We thought

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