As the rumors of player transactions bounced from ear to ear in the world of Major League Baseball, hundreds of fans, historians, and families meandered down Main Street in the Mecca of our national pasttime, Cooperstown, New York. While the legend of baseball's creation has been proven to be nothing more than a myth, so much of the sport traces it's roots here, to 25 Main Street. Behind an unimposing brick façade decades of dirt and dust, pine tar, print, and leather make their home, and generations of faithful come to pay homage.
If you've never been to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, you don't know what it's like to step back in time. Drive through upper New York on rather unspectacular highways, find your way down the offramp from route 88, and turn left into the winding backroads of a quieter place. Farmhouses and small corner stores are nestled into small clearings that, eventually, will lead you down a hill and into a picture book neighborhood.
The main drag in town is, fittingly, Main Street. Old storefronts lined with baseball memoribilia, folding tables and accompanying chairs, children staring deer-eyed at the window glass and display cases, fathers unsure of just how exactly to mitigate the behavior of both their outer adult and inner child, all are here. The greatest players in the game sit in back rooms and on card chairs, waiting to sign (albeit for a price) any item you desire. The history of the game, both present (in the players) and past (in the books, the photos, and the equipment) is nowhere so strong as here, in Cooperstown.
Ever wonder what Hank Aaron's locker looked like? What about the home plate of Ebbets Field? Collect baseball cards? The ones at home in your plastic card sheets look nothing like the ones suspended behind the glass here. Though not all of the readers for this site are Red Sox fans, but for that majority that is, why not take a look at the glove Orlando Cabrera used to spark the lackluster defense of the 2004 World Series Team? Keith Foulke's shoes? They're here, too. And somewhere, Doug Mientkiewicz's college fund hides from critics amidst far more worthy artifacts.
Whatever your age, whatever your affiliation, Cooperstown is worth the trip. Take your wife, take your kids, take your best friends. Go alone. It doesn't matter how, or even when, for that matter. All that matters is that you come, and breathe in the air of the generations that have passed.