Results tagged ‘ Grandstand Theater ’

Books and baseball

By Samantha Carr

Literary works Jane Eyre, The Outsiders and Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief are not the usual topics discussed at the Baseball Hall of Fame. But on Tuesday, these titles served as answers in a Battle of the Books competition at the Museum.

Students in grades 6-12 from Cooperstown Central School, Dolgeville Central School and Fort Plain Central School – all located near the Hall of Fame – gathered in the Museum’s Grandstand Theater to buzz in and try to take home a trophy for their school. More than 60 kids participated in the field trip and took part in the program, which encourages reading and tests their knowledge.

“Mary Van Patten, the librarian at Fort Plain, and I both heard about this type of competition at a conference for librarians and decided to try it,” said Michelle Hitchcock, librarian at Cooperstown Middle and High School. “We started it with middle schools, but we had a strong group that entered ninth grade and didn’t want it to end. So we brought it to the high school.”

About three years ago, Cindy Staley, librarian at Dolgeville, brought the program to her school and joined them in the battle. High school participants read 16 books to prepare for the competition and middle school kids read 20.

The students began the day playing an ice-breaker game about the books they read to get to know each other and share their love for reading. The field trip is fun and friendly and is more about education than it is about winning.

“Students at Cooperstown have done local battles before today and I am sure the other schools have too,” said Hitchcock. “There is even a national competition.”

Each school competed in groups of four at each level. Questions can be about characters or the plot of the story, or simply a quote from the book. Students must not only answer the question, but also correctly name the title and author of the work to receive points.

After a close competition, students from Cooperstown took home both the middle school and high school prizes. The group then ate lunch and got ready for a guided tour of the Museum before heading back to their respective schools.

The Education Department at the Baseball Hall of Fame hosts field trips, participates in videoconferences and offers curriculum for teachers to use at their school for students in grades K-12. For more information, visit

Samantha Carr is the manager of web and digital media at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Unforgettable character

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

The fans were lined up at the ticket booth, waiting to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame on a perfect Saturday morning in Cooperstown.

10-9-10-Muder_DawsonC&C.jpgWithout warning, into the foyer walked Andre Dawson for a photo opportunity.

Exactly 26 seconds later, you could hear the hushed gasp: “That’s Andre Dawson!”

Correction: That’s Andre Dawson, Hall of Famer.

“I can’t go too many places any more without being appreciated, so that’s one of the biggest changes since I was elected to the Hall of Fame,” Dawson said. “It has opened my eyes to the fact that I did something that people really appreciated.”

Appreciation for Dawson’s talent and work ethic were on display Saturday as a near-capacity crowd in the Hall of Fame’s Grandstand Theater welcomed him to Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame’s Character and Courage Weekend. Dawson participated in a Voices of the Game program where he recounted his career path and discussed the character that resulted in his stellar 21-season big league career.

10-9-10-Muder_Dawson.jpg“I knew I wasn’t flashy, but I wanted to leave it all on the field,” said Dawson, looking fit and relaxed in his first return to Cooperstown since his July 25 induction. “Once someone said that I was like Roberto Clemente – only with bad knees. That’s a huge compliment.”

Clemente is one of three Hall of Famers – along with Lou Gehrig and Jackie Robinson – who are represented in the Museum’s Character and Courage exhibit. Made possible by through a gift from Hall of Fame supporter Bob Crotty, the permanent exhibit celebrates character and courage on and off the baseball field. The Hall of Fame celebrates character and courage annually during Columbus Day Weekend.

Dawson, who had 12 knee surgeries during a career that saw him become one of baseball’s leading citizens, drew several thunderous ovations during the program while discussing his legendary career.

“I’m not as old as I pretend to be, but I’m very content where I am right now,” said the 56-year-old former outfielder for the Expos, Cubs, Red Sox and Marlins. “This is a way of life now, and I’m thankful for every opportunity.”

Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Night at the Museum: Extra Innings

Light_90.jpgBy Steve Light

On Friday evening the Hall of Fame stayed open a little bit late for a group of young baseball players from Newtown, Conn. In fact, it never closed. The nine and ten-year-old ballplayers and their parents and coaches had a night to remember as they took part in the Hall’s Extra Innings Overnight program.

11-16-09-Light_Overnight.jpgArriving after the Museum had closed for the general public, the first task before each family was deciding which alcove in the Hall of Fame Gallery would serve as their sleeping quarters for the night. As a father and son Red Sox fan pairing searched out Carlton Fisk’s plaque, three Yankee fans settled for sleeping under Joe DiMaggio’s plaque once they found that they had been beaten to the “First Five Alcove” and Babe Ruth.

With the sleeping arrangements made, the group made their way upstairs to get their visit started with a special showing of The Baseball Experience in the Grandstand Theater. They then had the whole museum to themselves for the next two hours. It was difficult to tell who was more excited, the kids who had never been to the Hall of Fame or many of the parents whose last visit to Cooperstown came when they were just 10 years of age.

The group made their way through the museum, completing the Discovery Tour to claim their free pack of baseball cards. On the third floor the kids paused to take part in special activities. In Sacred Ground, they went on a cross-country virtual tour of ballparks old and new, while in the Education Gallery they learned how they put their knowledge of science to use each time they step to the plate. The evening closed out with a snack and entertainment in the Bullpen Theater. By 11:30, our guests were tired and it was time to sleep where baseball’s immortals live.

A light breakfast and one last look around the Hall of Fame Gallery and our visitors were on their way before the museum opened Saturday morning. But they didn’t stray too far, as many planned to take advantage of their free admission to visit the Museum Store and find out what the Hall looks like under the light of day.

This Friday, we welcome a group of members of the Hall of Fame for yet another after-hours experience of a lifetime. The Hall offers its Extra Innings Overnight program several times a year in March and November. You can visit our event calendar to find our upcoming dates, or call (607) 547-0312 for more information.

Stephen Light is manager of museum programs at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

A marriage in baseball heaven

Carr_90.jpgBy Samantha Carr

Sometimes their neighbors get confused when they fly both a Yankees and Red Sox flag at their house, but it seems to work for Rich Kretser and Alison Moorby.

11-13-09-Carr_WeddingCouple.jpgThey even wore their opposing fan gear on Friday when they arrived in Cooperstown to do a walk through for their wedding – appropriately being held at the Baseball Hall of Fame on Saturday.

“We are huge baseball fans and members so it just made sense to have it here,” said Moorby. “We started dating in 2004 and our first date was a Yankees-Red Sox game. Our whole relationship revolves around baseball and it is what we love to do together.”

Kretser and Morrby live in Canajoharie, NY, about a 40 minute car ride northeast of Cooperstown. They emailed the Hall of Fame in April to see if it was possible to get married here.

“We are having about 50 guests and wanted a small place,” said Moorby.

“Once we knew we could have it here, there was no question,” added Kretser.

Kretser works for Pepsi and Moorby for Price Chopper and after meeting at work, a friend passed his number along to her.

“We were kind of on opposite sides at work and sometimes I would even avoid her. But when she called me up and asked me to a Yankees-Red Sox game, I wasn’t going to say no,” he said.

11-13-09-Carr_GrandstandTheater.jpgThe game turned out to be a memorable one, for more than one reason.

“It was the best first date I’ve ever had. It was the game when Derek Jeter dove into the stands and came out with a bloody face. We had plenty of time to talk,” said Moorby.

“And the Yankees won in 14 innings,” adds Kretser.

Although Kretser could spend some time gloating on the way home, it has been Moorby who has done most of the celebrating in the playoffs during their relationship.

“It can get a little tense sometimes in the playoffs, but we bond because we are baseball fans in general,” said Kretser.

This weekend, the happy couple will have something besides baseball to celebrate. Kretser, fresh of his team’s 27th World Series win, has already requested a gift from his new wife.

“That’s right, we have to pick up a new Yankees flag while we’re here.”

Samantha Carr is the media relations coordinator at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Spotlight on baseball: Hall of Fame gears up for 4th Annual Baseball Film Festival

Light_90.jpgBy Stephen Light

Here at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, summer is our busiest time of year, as families on vacation flock to village of Cooperstown to take advantage of the beautiful weather and baseball history.

But you might argue fall is the perfect time of year to visit Cooperstown – you can take in the crisp autumn air and the beautiful tree foliage while the baseball seasons winds toward its exciting conclusion.

9-14-09-Light_Movies.jpgFall also brings to the National Baseball Hall of Fame our annual Baseball Film Festival, held this year on the final weekend of the regular season – Oct. 2-4. If you ever doubted that baseball is woven into the cultural identity of America – not to mention dozens of other countries – then the Baseball Film Festival is an event that will open your eyes.

This year’s lineup will have you following the footsteps of former big league pitcher Luis Tiant as he returns to the streets of Havana after 46 years of exile, and the footsteps of Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. as he brings America’s pastime to China as an official ambassador. It will unravel the mysterious origins of umpire signs and signals, and reveal the complex and unusual love affair between the city of Chicago and the Cubs. You can root for the WBL Sparks, the first all-girls baseball team to compete in a boys’ national tournament, and for a man struggling to make a baseball league in Israel a reality.

These are just a few of the many plot lines that will run throughout our fourth annual Baseball Film Festival as 13 films vie for three awards: The Award for Best Film, The Award for Baseball Excellence, and the Award for Excellence in Filmmaking.

Tickets for each screening are free, but must be reserved in advance. Members can reserve their tickets immediately, and any remaining seats will made available to the general public beginning Monday, Sept. 28, by calling the Membership Department at 607-547-0397 or by visiting the membership desk in the Museum.

The awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, Oct. 4, at 3 p.m. in the Grandstand Theater and is open to the public. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

For a complete schedule, please click here.

Stephen Light is manager of museum programs at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Here are a few the trailers for some of the films at this year’s festival:

The Lost Son of Havana

Signs of the Time

Girls of Summer

We Believe

The Farm Team

Holy Land Hardball

Road to the Big Leagues

Ghost Player

Hands down, Schmidt among greatest ever

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

His hands settled around the shaft of the golf club, then drew back for his practice swing.


The power of that swing — the legendary power of Michael Jack Schmidt — was still apparent, even if the familiar baseball bat had been replaced by the metal wood.

Those hands — an unforgettable instinct.

9-8-09-Muder_Schmidt.jpgSchmidt, who will turn 60 in less than three weeks, is still fit and trim. The once-red hair is now gray, but the body looks to be not far removed from his playing days with the Phillies. At the very least, it would be easy to picture Schmidt on the Champions Tour.

The Hall of Fame third baseman was in Cooperstown this weekend, and on Tuesday he teed off at the Pro-Am for the Otesaga Hotel Seniors Open. Schmidt served as the celebrity host of the tournament, which benefits Pathfinder Village, located in nearby Edmeston, N.Y., a residential community dedicated to children and adults with Down syndrome. The tournament also benefits the Baseball Hall of Fame.

“No charity I’ve ever been associated with is more deserving of a tournament like this,” said Schmidt of Pathfinder Village. “I’ve played in this tournament a couple times now, and it’s always great to come back.”

Schmidt spent 18 seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies from 1972-89, winning eight National League home run titles and three NL MVP awards.

But his greatest thrill as a pro athlete just might have come on the famous Leatherstocking Golf Course in Cooperstown.

“I’m not playing in the Seniors Open this year, but I did a couple years ago and actually finished third in my flight. I got a check for $700. When you’re up against competition like this — great senior pros from around the country — that’s pretty good.”

Craig Muder is director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Stars shine in Cooperstown

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

The All-Star Game came to Cooperstown on Tuesday night.

Close to 200 fans packed the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Grandstand Theater for the annual All-Star Gala. They watched the broadcast of the 80th Major League Baseball All-Star Game — a 4-3 American League victory — while sitting in the same building where baseball’s memories live forever.

7-15-09-Muder_AllStarGala.jpgFor some fans, the All-Star Gala was part of the trip of a lifetime. Amy and Traci Juhala gave their father Curt Juhala a Hall of Fame Membership for Christmas, then traveled with their dad from Bismarck, N.D., to visit the Hall of Fame for the first time.

“It just happened that we were here at the All-Star Game, so it was great we could come and watch the game,” said Amy Juhala, who was dressed in Minnesota Twins’ gear along with her sister and father. “Cooperstown is lovely, and the Hall of Fame is great. Dad just loves baseball.”

But the event also attracted local fans like Corinne Hillman, who lives in Cooperstown and works for the Hall of Fame’s education department.

“I buy tickets for every event here,” said Hillman, who was the first in line at the Grandstand Theater on Tuesday night. “I love teaching and I love baseball — what’s a better job than that?”

Craig Muder is director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.


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