Monday, July 30, 2007

Cooperstown = Thursday

I'm back from my Cooperstown trip. I didn't go down for the induction ceremony. My main objective is getting autographs for my memorabilia collection. I arrived there on Thursday afternoon and left Sunday at about 11am. the quaint little town go ridiculously crowded. Holy cow that was a lot of people. It was a pretty good time, even though most of the time I stood around and waited.
Thursday was pretty uneventful. I spent most of the day in town loitering outside the hotel the HOFers stay at. A lot of them were arriving into town that day and sometimes, or so they say as I've never seen it, they sign autographs from the car window on the way in. 2 years in a row and I've yet to see it. I saw a lot of guys pull in, give a little wave and drive right in. The hotel itself is about 100 yards or so away from the street where the public can stand. You can't get anywhere near the place without a pass. Gwynn arrived in a big bus, pretty much a regular run of the mill Greyhound. Word on the street was that he rented it for his family. After several attempts, the driver finally made it into the driveway.
The only players I saw on the street that night were Rod Carew and George Brett. When Carew left he said he'd sign some stuff on his way back. At the time, there were probably a dozen of us. When he got back, there were about 50 of us gathered. He signed, but I was out of position and wasn't lucky enough to get it.
Brett was at a local Italian eatery with his wife (I assume). He must have thrown back a few bottles of vino because he was stumbling and slurring his words. I wasn't there when he left the restaurant and i heard he signed a lot. I got his signature last year so I wasn't hard pressed to get him. Some people say they got him 11 times. He was mobbed by a huge crowd that basically followed him from the restaurant to his hotel. People were chatting him up but George seemed to be so out of it. He was pretty funny though. There was this French kid there that wanted him to sign a bat. It was a pretty dirty bat so I'm not sure how good it would look, but Mrs. Brett told George he had to sign because the kid was French. George signed the bat and afterwords the kid asked him who he was again. Nice. Anyway, it took George about 5 minutes to walk 100 yards due to all the people mobbing him. It was quite the scene.
After George went past security, the night pretty much died down. A lot of us waited around the hotel and I left sometime around 11:30pm. I wandered to my car, drove it over to the lot at Doubleday Field and settled in for the night. I slept in the car. Did the same thing last year. It's a pretty cheap way to go if you don't mind sleeping uncomfortably. I planned to get up around 6am, so I was looking at 6 or so hours of sleep. Now I don't know how many of you have tried to sleep in the front seat of a Toyota Corolla, but it's not an easy thing to do. Needless to say, I didn't sleep well. 3 hours if I was lucky. i woke up around 5:30am. I was pretty groggy. I looked out the window and there was a police cruiser sitting in the lot. They must have seen me stirring because about 3 minutes after I woke up, one of the officers strolled over and politely told me that the lot had closed at 3am. Now last year, it closed on Friday night, so I assumed it did again. I was wrong and they didn't really seem to care. They just asked me to leave when I could. I got myself situated and drove over to one of the public streets and parked for the day. I "took a shower," which was basically applying some deodorant and some Axe body spray. And for those wondering, that was pretty much the ritual every morning. And often several times throughout the day depending on the level of perspiration, and at times, I definitely needed a few extra swipes of the Speed Stick and a few more sprays of the bow-chicka-bown-bown.
It was 6am and it was time to start my Friday. Part 2 will be up later on.