From Cooperstown to Cortland

Horn_90.jpgBy Brad Horn

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan was very happy Wednesday after his team’s morning practice in Cortland, N.Y. Ryan’s sunny disposition could have been the result of the Jets’ play on the football field, but Ryan was also thrilled to receive a special artifact from the home of baseball in Cooperstown.

Cortland is just 80 miles west of Cooperstown, and I had the chance Wednesday to hand-deliver a specially made green and white, personalized bat – complete with the Hall of Fame logo – to the Jets’ head coach, whose team trains for three weeks each summer at the State University of New York’s Cortland campus. The bat was a thank-you for his visit – along with several members of the Jets’ team, front office and coaching staff – during Training Camp 2009.

08-18-10_Horn_Ryan.jpgMy visit was prompted by a last-minute personnel meeting on Aug. 8 of this year, the team’s lone off day at Training Camp, after which plans for a return visit to the Hall of Fame had to be canceled.

“Where’s my Cooperstown Day?” Ryan asked, thoroughly bummed that he missed the chance to visit Cooperstown and the Museum once again during Training Camp 2010.

With only two days remaining on the Jets’ Cortland schedule, Rex’s visit may have to wait until 2011. But his desk will have a special Cooperstown treasure throughout the football season to remind him of the great trip through baseball history he and his team shared in 2009.

When Rex first saw his new bat, he noted that it wasn’t quite as heavy as the 35-ounce Babe Ruth model he held at the Museum last year.

“It doesn’t have notches like the Ruth bat, either,” said Ryan, referring to the 28 notches representing home runs Ruth hit with the bat that now resides in Cooperstown.

With that, Ryan slung the bat over his shoulder – looking a little Bambino-esque – as he headed back to his office and toward the 2010 season.

Brad Horn is the senior director of communications and education for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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