WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - For the first time in 60 years, induction ceremonies for the Baseball Hall of Fame set for July 26th in Cooperstown were canceled as a result of health and safety concerns connected to COVID-19.
Hall of Fame President Tim Mead says the decision was unanimous.
“Our responsibility is to provide the safest and healthiest environment possible and if there’s any doubt beyond the normal, you know,, situation when you have a big event- Just couldn’t do it and I’m saying aside from even what the state, we weren’t - We didn’t need to wait for the state to mandate it. You know, there comes a point of [...] no return for planning purposes and we felt we’d reached that point,” said Mead.
Mead says by combining the 2 induction classes next year, which will include Yankee captain Derek Jeter, the Hall of Fame expects to break some attendance records for induction weekend.
As for being able to handle a crowd that could approach 100,000 people, Mead says the hall has adequate space and plans in place to host such a massive turnout.
“You know, we felt very strongly we’re gonna challenge some numbers and record setting, but there is space out there. And no it’s in a great location, I mean it really is. You know, sight lines might be a little different. Certainly the larger the crowd grows, but there’s other ways of assisting with that as well, and I think next year, you know, it’s gonna be- And I don’t want to be too mellow dramatic about it, but the return, because it’s such a routine for everybody on an annual basis, and when it does come back it’s gonna be kind of the return of a long lost friend without the long in there,” said Mead.
Losing Hall of Fame weekend is a major economic impact on the Cooperstown area and the Mohawk Valley region with all the tourists and Hall of Famers and their families that come to the induction ceremony.
But Mead says the village, county and regional officials were all in agreement this was the right route to take.
“I would tell you in talking with the mayor yesterday and some of the feedback that we received, as tough as it is on the business community, the hall has the support of the community in that decision because there’s just too much uncertainty which really would have brought on some additional worry in different avenues about are we through this now we’re gonna have the big crowds,” said Mead.
When the hall does open back up eventually, Mead says things may look different in light of COVID-19, when people are allowed back into the hall. Some restrictions may be set in place to visitors to the museum and some safety measures added as well.
“We have had the discussions already internally of what exhibits that are interactive. If we were to open today, you know given the same circumstances they would be off limits. How can we do these? Do you have touchstone with? You know, do you have somebody there to push them for the crowd so we’re evaluating every one of our exhibits? Talking about sanitizers, talking about as you go to the market now you walk in one direction down an aisle and the other, what’s capacity gonna be when we get to phase 3 when we can open up are we gonna be under the guidelines of 25%, 50%?” said Mead.
Sports are underway once again at SUNY Canton- E-Sports that is.
The college, with the help of SUNY Chancellor Kristina M Johnson, has put together the SUNY Chancellor E-Sports Challenge. It’s a SUNY wide competition that began this weekend and runs over the next few weeks. It includes most of the SUNY schools in the state.
Teams are competing in game play in Fortnite, Super Smash Brothers Ultimate and Rocket League, with a $20,000 prize pool at stake for COVID-19 relief efforts.
While students are competing remotely from home, SUNY Canton Athletic Director Randy Sieminski says its a great way to bring kids together for a great cause.
“It’s a tough situation obviously, around the country, and for us to be able to engage students, not only our own, but students all across New York State and beyond in name of a SUNY tournament, it’s been really terrific. It’s taken a lot of hard work from numerous different people from all sorts of levels, but it’s truly terrific to be able to bring a positive thing during these times to all of SUNY. And our students are just having a great time, and so are the students across New York State,” said Sieminski.