Just a quick blog post from the press box as Citizens Bank Park on a beautiful Sunday afternoon before I return home this evening.
12 months ago at this time, I was in Cooperstown, New York, attending my first-ever Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony. That class included Goose Gossage, Dick Williams, Peter O’Malley and former Cardinals manager Billy Southworth.
It was a special time for me – a beautiful Sunday afternoon setting, just about perfect in every way, but one thing really bothered me.
I had to give up the final installment of a Cardinals-Mets series, my and the team’s last-ever game at the old Shea Stadium, to head up to Cooperstown. Why did I have to decide between the two?
This year, I had the benefit of watching Rickey Henderson’s acceptance speech on one of the press box monitors during the Cards-Phils game. But what about the 45,000 baseball fans in this park and hundreds of thousands more across America?
I do give the Phillies credit in that they announced that ticket stubs from Sunday’s game can be redeemed for a free Hall of Fame admission in the next 12 months. A nice gesture, but not enough.
Why doesn’t MLB show more respect to their greats by not holding games during the induction ceremony? Schedule all the Sunday action in the evening, for example.
Better yet, take a day off. Don’t you think Tony La Russa would like to have traveled to Henderson’s ceremony? Don’t you think most of the dignitaries still active across the game would like to be there?
Do we see the NFL having their yearly Canton, Ohio ceremony on a game Sunday? Heck, they don’t even hold it during the season.
Of course, in MLB, we are talking about a league that didn’t even think to cover their own draft live until 2007 – a league that starts their post-season games so late in the evening that the next generation of fans they should be cultivating cannot even watch.
It is about time Major League Baseball wises up and celebrates their heritage instead of relegating it to second-fiddle status. Sadly, probably the only way to get their attention is to prove to them by doing so, they will make more money.
Congratulations to new Hall of Famers Jim Rice, Henderson, the late Joe Gordon, broadcaster Tony Kubek and writer Nick Peters.