Two weeks ago, I took a 2.5 hour drive to baseball heaven, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. I love sports and hitting up all the stadiums I possibly can. Baseball is the sport I have been devoted to watching most of my life. Growing up in St. Louis, MO everyone I knew was a Cardinals fan. I also played softball for several years as a kid, among other sports.
The trip was one night to just have to myself and I love going on adventures. The drive up was beautiful with the leaves just beginning to change and full of me singing at the top of my lungs (poorly I should say, as I am tone deaf) to my “How do you sleep?” play list. It may be the last time I enjoy listening to that.
I arrived around 10:45 AM and parked at Doubleday Field, the claimed origin where baseball was first played. I sent out a Snapchat and Instagram post for my friends to let them know I arrived and get postcard requests. I watched some high school boys play ball while I had my first meal of the day. Luke was on first in place of who and the team was the Silver Knights instead of St. Louis. I salute you if you know what I am talking about there.
After finishing my pretzels with cheese and RXbar, I made my way down Main St toward the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. I went straight to the Hall of Fame and knew I was in a special place. Sure there were a lot of Yankees fans, but I saw many teams represented. I even found a fellow Cards fan and chatted with a man in a Detroit Tigers hat about my years of living in Michigan. I love those years and that place. He just responded, “its alright.” I also walked past Angels, Rockies, Phillies, Blue Jays, Mets, Marlins, Rays, A’s and some Hispanic teams I had not heard of.
As I walked through the museum, I saw the jersey Chris Carpenter pitched in during Game 7 of the 2011 World Series and the replica of the Stan “The Man” Musial’s locker. I also read quotes that resonated with me from Jackie Robinson, Joe DiMaggio, Hank Aaron and Yogi Berra. Fun fact, my Grandpa Mayor played ball with Yogi Berra when the Dogtown neighborhood boys would play the Italians from The Hill. Lastly, the women who plowed the way for every gal to play ball, Go South Bend Blue Sox!
After 3-4 hours and another walk around the Hall of Fame, I browsed the gift shop and grabbed some postcards for myself and to send to others. Of course, most of Main St is a gift shop as well with f*ck loads of autographed memorabilia. I debated a Musial jersey, but settled for a black and white cookie instead, which I ate while people watching.
Then, I drove all of 2 blocks to my motel to check in, park the car for the rest of the trip and catch the last 2/3 of the Cardinals vs. Cubs game. I had a cocktail, salad and enormous burger for dinner at Mel’s at 22 down the street. The rest of the day was pretty low key, with a mildly stressful phone call, journal writing, giggling over how ridiculous I look with a face mask and early bedtime.
While in town the next morning, I mailed 10 postcards and felt the magic of baseball all around me. While eating a late breakfast before I left where I sat elbow to elbow in the small Cooperstown Diner with 2 local men (one in his 80s and the other in his 60s) who are both Yankees fans. We talked about our favorite baseball moments and about life.
They were the first strangers I told about my impending divorce. The older of the two gentlemen said, “a man who would treat you so poorly… a woman willing to come to this place alone because she loves the game that much… doesn’t deserve you.” The kindness those men showed me really made the trip.
Oh and I ran into some Uppers!