Friday, September 05, 2008

As most of you who are regular readers here know, the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY is one of my five favorite places in the world to visit (the other four? Fenway Park, McCoy Stadium, Disney World and pretty much any other ballpark). So when the Hall of Fame's Baseball as America exhibit finally made it's way to Boston's Museum of Science, I made plans to catch it during it's 2 and 1/2 month run here. And since we have a museum membership, we would even get in free!

Well, a few days before we were to leave for Vermont I got a mailing from the museum reminding me that the exhibit was only running until September 1. So I made plans to go with the kids on August 31.

We arrived at the museum around 10:30 and headed directly to the exhibit. The first surprise was a bit of a disappointment - no pictures! I didn't quite understand this, since I (and millions of others) have taken many pictures at the Hall of Fame.

I kept my camera in it's pouch and we went off to enjoy the exhibit. It was broken out into various sections linking baseball to the American experience: "Our National Spirit", "Rooting for the Team", "Invention and Ingenuity" and so on. Each section had different baseball artifacts that related to the theme. For example, the "Enterprise and Opportunity" section had items like products endorsed by ballplayers, hot dog carriers from different eras and the rare Honus Wagner baseball card representing the memorabilia industry.

One other funny note - the panel explaining the "Invention and Ingenuity" section talked about Yankee ingenuity. For Boston, however, "Yankee" was crossed out and replaced with "Red Sox". It was fun to see that they were paying attention to the little things like that.

There were quite a few cool Red Sox artifacts displayed as well. Yaz's Silver Bat from 1967, Curt Schilling's bloody sock and Mike Lowell's hat from the 2007 World Series were among them. Other highlights included one of Jackie Robinson's uniform shirts and the #1/8 St. Louis Browns uniform belonging to midget Eddie Gaedel among many other items.

One personal highlight for us was a poster designed by A.'s cousin! A number of years ago, when the Dodgers were up for sale, there was a movement in Brooklyn to bring the Dodgers back to town. A.'s cousin designed a poster to support this (I have a copy around the house somewhere) and there was a copy in one of the display cases. It was pretty cool to see something we had a personal connection to like that.

The exhibit ended with a couple of interactive items. One was a pretty standard speed pitch (J. humped it up to about 42 MPH) and another was a pitching machine that would shoot a ball at you at 95 MPH. You could either stand behind a net and a piece of plexiglass to see what it was like to have a major league fastball come at you, or push a button to see if your reflexes were quick enough to "hit" the ball. It was pretty cool. It's kind of inconceivable that ballplayers are able to react quickly enough to hit a ball thrown that fast.

We spent almost two hours making our way through the exhibit. After that we grabbed some lunch and went home. It was way too nice a day to explore the rest of the museum - there will be plenty of weekends this winter when the weather is bad to do that. The exhibit was a lot of fun to see though - I'm just sorry I don't have pictures!


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