Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Place Where Baseball Was Born

Today I got a good nights sleep. I woke up at 9 AM, and walked down to breakfast before embarking on our trip to Cooperstown. The ride was 2 hours but it was totally worth it, as that was where baseball was founded.

We ate lunch right after we arrived, and we chose a local restaurant called Alex and Ika. Mr. Chan-Law read saw from Yelp that it had 4/5 stars, so we expected it to be good. However, it took about 30 minutes just to get our overly priced drinks, and around an extra hour and a half to get our food. My hamburger was good, but not worth that long wait. To make it even worse, the waitress even forgot Rachael's order. She said something about forgetting to tell the chef about it. So, after another 15 minutes, give or take, they finally brought up the food. She ordered a hamburger without buns, but the meat was very red. It was supposed to be medium cooked, but looked as if it was rare. It wasn't only us who had terrible service. The people behind us complained about the long wait for food.

On a happier note, we finally arrived at the Baseball Hall of Fame. This made up for the low quality lunch. The place showcased the greatest of baseball's history. We saw iconic baseball artifacts, like jerseys, balls, World Champion Rings, and the list goes on and on. The three story museum was different from any other museum I've ever been to. Unlike regular ones, the hall of fame only displays the most important pieces of history...but there are a lot. My legs were beat after so much walking, but it was an exciting day. I'm always glad to look at memorabilia from any sport.

the entrance to the Baseball Hall of Fame
a Philadelphia A's jersey
collection of World Championship rings
After a few hours of touring the hall of fame, we headed back to Ithaca, where we all went for dinner, because it was almost too late to eat at our dining hall. We went to a pho restaurant, the first Asian place we ate in the East Coast. Compared to our displeasing lunch, this restaurant felt like it was a five star restaurant. We finally went back to our dorms at around 9 PM, to do our laundry. But before this, we had a quick game of baseball with a bat and wiffle ball we bought from the store in Cooperstown.

This was a fun day, one of the only days we are probably going to have in Ithaca. There was a lot of information in the Hall of Fame, and it was very cool looking at the bats and other items that the baseball hall of famers touched and used.
more baseball memorabilia
Babe Ruth and Ted Williams

Rounding Third, On the Home-Stretch

For the first time in the two weeks I have been here, I woke up earlier than my roommate! After a quick breakfast, we prepared with our 2 hour drive to Cooperstown. Just like our drive to Colgate yesterday, most of the scenery consisted of cornfields and cows. The weather wasn't on our side either; for the last hour and a half of the drive, it was raining fairly hard. Luckily, once we arrived at Cooperstown, it was only a light drizzle. After making a few rounds trying to find a parking spot, Mr. Chan-Law brought us to Alex & Ika Restaurant for lunch. Unfortunately, the service was not up to par. We ended up spending a total of 3 hours there. The drinks alone took about 30 minutes and the food took one and a half hour. In fact, the service was so inconsistent that the waitress forgot about Rachel's food. Unfortunately, the food was not outstanding enough to balance out the sub-par service.

After our disappointing lunch, we headed towards the National Baseball Hall of Fame. We spent a good hour and a half there. Although I do enjoy the world of baseball, I have to admit that after about a floor and a half of exhibits, I got a little tired of it. I did enjoy seeing the "A's" exhibits throughout the museum though (little known fact: I prefer the A's over the Giants). After we toured the Hall of Fame, we headed back to Cornell.
"National Baseball Hall of Fame"
"Holy Cow"
Read it and weep Giants fans
Babe Ruth (L) and Ted Williams (R)

By the time we arrived to Ithaca, it was already past the closing time of the dining hall so we decided to go eat at as Vietnamese restaurant. The service there was very good. As karma has it, Rachel ended up getting her food first while the rest of use waited (but only for a few minutes). The food was delicious and filling. After dinner, we went back to our dorms and did laundry.

Overall, today has been a fun and relaxing day. Now I have to revise my paper and catch up on some of the reading. This three day weekend seems to be going on forever, not that I'm complaining. Well, time seems to have flown by; it is already our last week here at Cornell. Keeping with the baseball theme here, I guess you can say that we are rounding third and on the home-stretch.

Baseball Hall of Fame

Visit the baseball hall of fame? Check. Today I got to check off visiting the baseball hall of fame from my to do list. I had been looking forward to this trip ever since Mr. Chan-Law first mentioned that he wanted to take us to Cooperstown.

Gloomy looking clouds covered the sky for as far as we could see. The foreshadowed the rain that greeted us when we arrived in Cooperstown. We rushed into the restaurant Alex and Ika which had a rating of four and a half stars on Yelp. We went in expecting a great experience but we left Alex and Ika with anything but a great experience. The service was extremely slow; it took 30-40 minutes for our drinks to come (one was forgotten) and we didn't receive our food until a well over an hour after we ordered. In addition, the waitress forgot to put in. When the waitress realized her mistake, she put the order in and the chef rushed Rachael's burger so that it came in looking raw in the middle.

Our trip improved by leaps and bounds when we entered the America's pastime's hall of fame. It was amazing to get to see in person all of the authentic gear and see exhibits featuring players that I spent hours reading about. I got to see a real Honus Wagner limited edition baseball card that was worth $2,800,000 in 2009. The story behind why the card cost so much is great. Back in the days, baseball cards were given away as part of tobacco packs. Wagner was extremely popular and many kids idolized him. When Wagner found out that a tobacco was planning in printing his baseball card, he forced the tobacco company to stop printing his card so that kids wouldn't purchase tobacco just to get his card. Instead of basking in the glory, Wagner made the decision to try and prevent children from being introduced to tobacco. Wagner stopped many cards from ever being printed, but he couldn't stop 50 cards from being circulated. Today there are only few Honus Wagner cards that are know to still exist and his career, the few cards that still exist, and the story make the Honus Wagner card so valuable.

The Holy Grail: Honus Wagner Card

Among the thousands of memorabilia, was pictures from when baseball leagues first began to pop up in New York City and expanded during the Industrial Revolution to Matt Cain's hat from the 2010 world Series where he pitched over 20 consecutive shut out innings.

It was amazing to get to visit Cooperstown and immerse myself in over a century's worth of history an culture. Baseball is a great sport and deserving of the title 'America's Pastime'!

Oakland A's locker featuring Barry Zito and Tim Hudson's jerseys

Ricky Henderson

"Catfish" Hunter

Take Me Out to the Baseball Hall of Fame

Today we took a group trip to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Despite the many claims inside the museum that baseball was part of every American, it's actually not my favorite sport (it goes too slow). At least I can check it off my "List of Places to Visit."

My morning did not start off great. I somehow managed to turn off all three of my alarm clocks without me being fully awake, so I only had ten minutes to get ready and meet everyone downstairs. I missed the dining hall breakfast, but I brought the trail mix my mom sent to me and ate a few handfuls of that instead. The two-hour drive wasn't bad; Mr. Chan-Law played music from his iPod, and I turned up my earphone volume so that I could listen to my own music. When we finally arrived in Cooperstown, we went to the restaurant "Alex and Ika." It took thirty minutes just to get our drinks, and another fifteen minutes before the appetizers began coming out. We were there for about an hour before everyone received their food - except me. The waitress forgot to put in my order, and had my burger cooked right away. I only ate five small bites though, seeing that it was undercooked in some places and rare in others (I ordered it medium originally). I don't really want to get angry again by going into more detail, but I was very irritated at the time.
[Root and Ginger] Beer (ginger beer is a stronger version of ginger ale). At least we had some fun with that.
Ah, the ubiquitous Coca-Cola....
We walked to the baseball hall of fame from the restaurant. It was actually bigger than I thought, with three stories of maze-like exhibits. I mostly skimmed my way through captions and perused past the endless collection of old baseball shirts (those consisted of about 80% of the exhibits). I did take my time in the small but interesting women's baseball section. Did you know that women used to have their own professional baseball league? I'm not sure what happened to it, but now it seems that softball is the dominant sport (though it originated as a popular male game). Also, the museum featured not only players, but also famous managers and owners. Unsurprisingly, the players I saw the most were Lou Gehrig, Jackie Robinson, and Babe Ruth. Those three players are also the extent of my knowledge on the sport's history.
The museum's card collection is much larger than my brother's.

The big three of baseball - Gehrig, Ruth, and Clemente.
We weren't able to make it back to Ithaca in time for the dorm food, so we went out to a Vietnamese restaurant. I'm sure everyone was sad that they missed out on the same food we eat every single day, but we made the best of the hearty pho, stir-fried chow fun, and unusual boba smoothies (my first time having one). Once we got back to the college, the guys went to do their laundry after we played a little baseball (they bought a plastic bat and wiffle ball), and I went to complete the reading part of my homework assignment. I will do the quiz tomorrow online so that I can be excused from office hours.

America's Pastime

Barry Zito (75) and Tim Hudson (15), the good old days
After a late night, I woke up half past eight to join our cohort for breakfast. We soon met Mr. Chan-Law at 10 o'clock to leave for Cooperstown, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Again, the drive was beautiful, at one point it even started to rain! After two and a half hours we arrived and grabbed a bite to eat at Alex and Ika's Restaurant.

Unfortunately, the service was not too good at Alex and Ika's. We waited for our drinks to arrive for about 45 minutes and received our appetizers about an hour after that. Though we spent more time in the restaurant than we wanted to, we could take away that this time was a good bonding experience. Both groups had been especially busy over the past week and this was a good time to catch up with each other. 

Ball used in Dallas Braden's perfect game,  5/9/2010
Afterwards we headed to the Hall of Fame. Being a total baseball nut I was really looking forward to the visit. In addition, as an Oakland Athletics fan, a team that currently does not receive much attention in the majors, well-deserved attention was given to the team at the museum, who has a very rich and successful history. The Hall was organized with the gallery on the bottom floor and two floors of historic artifacts and exhibits above, my favorite being the individual team lockers display in the Today's Game section. Visiting the Hall one day was something that I have always really wanted to do to witness the history of “America’s Pastime.” We left in the early evening after a long, but eventful afternoon.

Around 7:30 we arrived in Ithaca and dined at the Saigon Kitchen. After a long lunch, the quick but tasty dinner was refreshing. Dining outside the community center with our group was a refreshing experience, it reminded me of our days in Philadelphia. We arrived back to Cornell around 9 to do laundry for the week and spent the rest of the night relaxing in the Donlon lounge, like always.  

The Cornell Cohort Together Again

Today was our first day all together as a cohort since we flew in to Ithaca. It was a lot of fun. I feel like we have grown very close of group. I guess that is what happens after 3 weeks of seeing each other every day and practically living together. It is going to feel strange going home and not seeing them. Luckily we are already making plans of things to do back in the Bay Area, primarily going to play golf.

Baseball Hall of Fame
It was around a two hour drive to get to Cooperstown, which made me really appreciate how nice our rented vehicle is. The AC and ability to play music from our iPods through the cars speakers made the trip mug more pleasant. Considering the group, I am sure we would have had a great time even without those luxuries.

Three Championships in a
Row for the Athletics!

When we arrived in Cooperstown we went to have lunch at Alex and Ika Restaurant. It was an "interesting" experience. It was probably the worst service I have ever gotten. The food and drinks took forever to get there. No one ever came around to refill our water glasses. Our orders were completely forgotten or just wrong. Rachel, especially, was inconvenienced  as her burger was first completely forgotten, then came out drastically undercooked. On top of all of that, the meals were overpriced, portions too small, and simply did not taste that good. Our silver lining was that it was a bonding experience, and we got to spend almost 3 hours together joking about the situation.

Art of Babe Ruth and his
Famous Called Home Run
 The Baseball Hall of Fame was amazing. I am so glad we made the time to drive out and see it. We bought a whiffle ball and bat, so we finally can go out and play baseball risk free. After the return trip we had to eat out, since lunch had take too much of our time and we were too late for dinner. We went out for Vietnamese which completely made up for lunch! I had Kang Pao Chicken, and a boba Vietnamese iced coffee. I was very impressed by the meal, especially after the terrible lunch experience.

After dinner we returned to Cornell, played whiffle ball, hang out in the lobby, and finally I watched Adventurela d with Morgan, Gloria, and Alyssa before I went to sleep. It was a great day.