What President Obama missed in Cooperstown: Matt's Memo
The flower pots gracing Main Street. Ball players kicking up the dust of the infield at Doubleday Field. The century old brick faÃ§ades of inns and cafes. Thatâ??s some of what President Obama missed during his history making whirlwind visit of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
Sure, the President arrived in a helicopter entourage direct from the former Griffiss Air Base in Rome, New York. He skipped right over the winding drive south on Route 28 from the Thruway. That makes for a shorter trip, but also detracts from the experience of a visit to the Fly Creek Cider Mill.
Sure, the President received a guided personal tour of the baseball artifacts in the Hall of Fame. He held Babe Ruthâ??s bat. He tried on a Chicago White Sox World Series ring. He viewed the uniform worn by Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers. What he missed was the Cooperstown Bat Company which had made a patriotic red, white and blue Barack Obama etched wooden bat as a gift to the President.
And sure, the President shook hands with elected leaders, federal government appointees and other supporters who were on the exclusive guest list as he pitched a national push to grow tourism. He did not share the energy of the families who brought children in baseball caps hoping for a wave from the Commander-in-Chief. He did not shake the hands of the women who drove an hour to see the man who made history in being elected make history again by being the first sitting president to visit the Hall of Fame of our national pastime.
President Obama, the tourist, might be a bit envious of one group that was spending the day in Cooperstown. No they didnâ??t have the helicopter or the motorcade. They didnâ??t have the guided tour or grasp on Babe Ruthâ??s bat. They didnâ??t have the adoring elected leaders seeking a moment of face time with the president. But, these teenagers did have time to play a ball game on Doubleday Field.
They kicked up the sand in the batterâ??s box. They slid into second with a stolen base. They chased fly balls toward the foul pole measured at 312 feet from home plate. Afterwards, they walked down Main Street in Cooperstown in their soiled uniforms and crooked ball capsâ?¦ and they got an ice cream cone.
Now thatâ??s baseball. Thatâ??s a day in the town thatâ??s home to the Hall of Fame. Thatâ??s what the President missed during his swoosh in and out of Cooperstown.
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