We all have that one special place that evokes memories of magic. To some it’s Walt Disney World, to others it’s the mountains or the beach or even their own backyard. My “place” is a small town in Upstate New York; most know it as the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Many call it simply “Cooperstown.”
I love this place so much that I named my son after the town. Cooper now thinks the town is actually HIS personal town. I’ve explained to him that a very select few are commemorated in this shrine, and for the first time in his short 5-year life, he has met a member of Cooperstown.
This past Monday, State Farm and the Boys and Girls Club of America put on a baseball clinic in conjunction with the 2011 Major League Baseball All-Star Game Festivities. My wife (@daniellesmithtv) was asked to attend this event. She was allowed to take her family along for the ride (many thanks to State Farm). The man putting on the clinic was 1st Ballot Hall of Fame Inductee and former Baltimore Oriole Cal Ripken, Jr.
Cal was to teach a group of kids some of the finer points of hitting a baseball. Enter the future Cooperstown inductee, Cooper Smith. Coop stepped to the dish and drilled line drive after line drive into the net. Ripken looked over to the large group of fans viewing his clinic, and said “He’s a really good hitter.” Insert a smile on this dad’s face that stretches from Chase Field to Camden Yards.
After Cooper took his rips, Cal gave him a High 5, and the 3-foot-8 well educated baseball historian says to him and I quote “Two-thousand-six-hundred and thirty-two games in a row? How did you do that?”
Let me pause to explain. Cal Ripken, Jr. holds the Major League Baseball record for consecutive games played at 2632. I hold the record for making my 5-year old recite this number on one airplane flight. It was worth it. Back to Cal and Coop.
Ripken laughs, takes a soft baseball and tosses it at Cooper. Cooper grabs the ball (across the seams) and fires it back at him. They go on to play dodge ball for a few minutes while the local news media focus its cameras as the current and future Hall of Famer trade a game of catch that us mortal, Non Hall-of-Famers could only dream of being a part. (here’s a quick video of the hitting and catching between the two)