By Brien O’Donal
Ah, Cooperstown; the location of baseball greatness. This is truly where the legends live. As for a vacation, well; I can see it two ways. There is so much to do that a family would enjoy I could recommend they do. As for us; it’s exactly what a man’s trip should be. This is the 3rd day that we’ve been in New York and despite our best efforts to stay occupied with baseball we just can’t seem to stick with it. Saturday is parade day and we fully expected to have to sit on the route to get a good view.
Before leaving the town Friday we talked with some of the folks who were already setting up near the museum to have the best seats for the parade the next day. They were staying at those spots for nearly 24 hours to have a chance to catch autographs form the players at the end of the parade route. It was that conversation that made us want to get to Cooperstown early in the morning with cheap chairs we would purchase that day and sit there in some good spots.
Of course, we didn’t wake up early enough to really get there early; but when we finally arrived we found the streets nearly empty. It seems that there was no need for us to camp out for a great parade spot. That left us with a lot of time on our hands again. We spent the first part of the morning visiting several of the large Astros fan groups who were already set up for the parade. Then we decided to so something else for fun. Since we didn’t drink Friday night it meant Saturday was a drinking day. Boy, oh, boy did we drink.
Other than the parade our only task was to be at the Tunicliff Inn right off Main Street to get some autographs I purchased. Today’s players were Craig Biggio and Wade Boggs.
They were there from 1-2:30 and the parade was at 6:30pm. Everything from 10am to 1pm and 3pm to the start of the parade was all our own. We started at the Cooperstown Distillery that was serving beer and eventually moved on to Cooley’s Stonehouse Tavern. There we enjoyed a beer and a small jazz band session before moving on to get my autographs.
We made it there without incident, but little did we know it wouldn’t take too many more beers for us to be borderline useless. After I was done we still had about 2 and a half hours until the parade, so we found the beers that would put us over the top at Sherman’s Tavern. It was there that we also found a lot of locals to give us the history of induction weekend and non-locals who were here for Biggio’s induction 2 years ago.
When all that happens, the beers begin to go down a lot faster. I tried to pace myself but I couldn’t stop my friend from doing the same. We both began to ramble on in our talks and I did my best to promote this website while I could. By the time the parade began I was just sober enough to do my job taking pictures
and he was just drunk enough to subtley pick fights with people not smart enough to realize he was making fun of them.
We had reached a point of saturation but still were not done. The parade was over but we were not ready to surrender the day. We returned to Sherman’s Tavern for more beer and it was then that I realized the error in our ways. We had arrived in Cooperstown at about 10am and went directly to Schneider’s Bakery for breakfast. We each had 2 donuts before making our way into town. That was all we had eaten up until that moment when we were having an after-parade beer. Yeah, we were really struggling to put them down. We decided that the crowd had thinned enough to make our way to dinner at the Hard Ball Café right in the center of Main Street. I thought it was a nice play on the Hard Rock Café name and since we were in a baseball town why not eat at a baseball themed restaurant.
We got exactly what we needed. The pretzel appetizer was delicious and we both ordered the Hard Ball Kosher Dog what was about the size of a mini baseball bat.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was pretty good though, and I ate as much of it as I could. Fully satisfied we made our way back to the car and headed to Albany hoping to get an early night’s sleep and be ready for tomorrow when we will be spending most of the day hoping for good seats to the induction ceremony.
We still have two more days left on our trip. Tomorrow is the important one where we will see Bagwell getting his bronze plaque and hearing some great speeches from these great players. Monday is when we will go back into town for an autograph session with those same hall of famers before we head to the airport for our flight home.
Follow me on Twitter @ODonalsVanguard