I realized a lifelong dream today when I made the pilgrimage to Cooperstown, New York in order to visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. I took 293 pictures in Cooperstown and over the course of time, I'll try to share them all with you. Right now, though, I'm really tired from all of this driving and I have a big day planned tomorrow (where I can finally meet another blogger in person) and see another minor league game (weather permitting).
The drive to Cooperstown from Rochester (where my younger brother had lined us up a hotel room) was beautiful. The weather on the drive down was just about perfect. The New York countryside was amazing!
Downtown Cooperstown was as picturesque as I had imagined it. I was so excited when we walked along the street and realized that right in fromt of us was one of the most hallowed halls in all of sports.
I'm going to skip right to when we entered the plaque room, even though this is the place we visited last in the building. I was so overcome with emotion when I entered the room, my mouth was wide open. I probably looked goofy, but I didn't realize, that's for sure. I made sure to remove my hat when entering, because, I don't know about you, but to me it was almost as sacred as a church. No sacrilege intended, but that's just how I feel about the place.
I stood in the entrance, tears welling up in my eyes, as I wrestled with the decision - You can only enter the room for the first time once in your life... whose plaque do you go to first. I thought long and hard and came to the determination that as an Oriole fan (I was wearing my Nolan Reimold shirt, afterall) it had to be...Brooks. I made my way to his plaque, touched it and took this picture. I made sure to read it, of course.
Then, as a baseball fan, next, I went to the 'First Class' wall and read each plaque for Ruth, Cobb, Mathewson, Johnson and Wagner. I made sure to touch the bust of Babe Ruth, as countless others had done. (Pictures of those plaques will be posted in a future entry).
Finally, the kid in me went to the plaque that I had waited all of my 'fandom' to see in person. Cal Ripken, Jr. I seriously had to fight back tears when I walked up and saw the plaque of the player who I idolized growing up. I could have gone to the Hall many years ago, but always told myself that I wouldn't go until Cal was enshrined. I know that anyone who knows me knows how important it was for me to be able to see Cal's plaque.
If you look closely, you might see a tear in my eye, but I did my best to wipe them away before this picture was shot. I can't put into words how awesome it was to be able to finally get to the Hall of Fame. I hope you guys enjoyed this brief look at what I accomplished today. I fully intend to post a lot more about the trip in future entries. I have plenty of pictures to be able to do it justice, that's for sure.