After a great hotel breakfast (the hotel had an automatic pancake machine!) and a large cup of coffee, I took a one mile stroll down Route 28 to the outside of the Cooperstown Dreams Park to catch a morning view of the complex. One thing I will not waver on – sneaking into a locked baseball field for the sole purpose of photography. I remembered the curious stares and the nice woman who politely told me that I was not going in the right direction when I tried to enter the Dreams Park on Thursday night. So, I stayed on the periphery and grabbed a few photos from just inside the driveway and across the street at a café that was closed.
I got the sense that Route 28 was not a common exercise path for the locals. So, I safely double timed it back to the hotel paying close attention to the traffic facing me. Along the way, I saw more and more baseball themed ice cream stands, food trucks, batting cages, and businesses alike with some sort of baseball lingo in the name. Like these two set back off Route 28 (check out the ice cream on the top of the cone shaped like a baseball):
Having gone through a test run to the Village of Cooperstown on Thursday night, Rachel and I knew we were about 5 miles or so from our hotel to the Doubleday Field parking lot. So, we headed out around 9:30 or so to find parking and make our way to the National Baseball Hall of Fame for 10am. The parking lot at Doubleday Field was open again, so we parked (almost in the same spot as Thursday night) and walked over towards the historic baseball field. And much to my surprise and wonder, what did I see? The gates open…
I walked up the ramp and into the bleachers behind home plate and took a wide expansive view of Doubleday Field. Bleacher seats, much like at historic Cardines Field in Newport, surrounded the park. In the first base area, out in the outfield stands that formed the perimeter of the outfield to about the center field area, all numbered and lettered for row and seat assignments. Fall foliage and blue skies help paint the background of this incredible baseball field. There was a camera well with a small cutout in the mesh of the backstop fencing and I snapped a photo of the field.
In the left field/3rd base area stands, there was some construction going on, looked like a huge structure of some sort was being put up. I took a walk over to the first base line bleachers and grabbed this video of the field.
The baseball fan that drives this blog and my experiences just loves to visit baseball fields of all shapes, sizes, locations, and places in history. I know that all of the “big” fields have a pitcher’s mound, home plate, the bases are 90 feet apart, etc. However, the outfield dimensions, the surrounding fan and seating sections, the neighborhoods that abut the fields, the history, who played there – these are just some of what makes each field I visit so unique and so special for me, the baseball fan. I have been posting photos of Doubleday Field on my social media pages and have received a ton of comments and emails like “I played there in 1985,” or “I was lucky enough to play on that field.”
After reading the historical plaques on the bricks that formed the home plate bleacher section, Rachel and I made out way out of the Doubleday Field parking lot and onto Main St. heading up to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. We were running a little late for our 10am entry time, but we had a really good excuse. The gate was open.
For more information on the history and wonder of Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, go to www.doubledayfield.com. And stay tuned for Part 4 of my Trip to Cooperstown, NY blog series where I may finally get to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and share photos and stories about Rhode Island’s connections.