A Braves trifecta enters the hallowed halls in Cooperstown this July and many dedicated fans will be there to watch.
Admit it, as soon as you saw Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine were definitely joining Skipper Bobby Cox you said, “I gotta be there!’” I actually started planning my trip last summer so for those of you starting now, I’ll share what I learned.
Do You Know The Way To Cooperstown?
Cooperstown is literally a village in Otsego County, New York with a population just under 2000 so there’s not a huge hotel industry. Many will make the drive up there and fend for themselves but I’ve found the most convenient way to get to the induction is via a package tour. There are two kinds I know of, a general baseball tour and an official Hall of Fame Weekend tour.
My first trip was via a baseball tour package from Diamond Baseball Tours in 2009 to see Rickey Henderson inducted. The owner of Diamond Tours and his son were with us and it was a very enjoyable trip though at the end my old butt was dragging. Seven days on a bus isn’t for wimps but we had all ages and everyone was pleased with the trip. Packages like this one typically include meeting at a central city (mine was Baltimore) travel by bus a few baseball games before and after the induction and return to the city of origin for your flight home. I enjoyed the trip but most of these tours leave your Cooperstown experience up to you. If you enjoy making your own way or have been before, can take five days or so to take in the baseball, know what you want to do and see in Cooperstown and don’t mind sitting on the ground two football fields away from the stage these are good value. Yes I said two football fields back from the stage.
The induction is held in a 40 acre field (or something like that, I didn’t ask the actual acreage) about a mile away from the Hall itself in Cooperstown. Transportation to and from the site was provided by the community during my visit (they use their school busses) and some of the other tours used their bus to drop folks near downtown. You can of course walk. I did that and don’t recommend it unless hiking a mile or so is your thing. Aside from the VIP seating down front it’s a bring your own lawn chair event. They erect huge screens so you can see the event better but I found it less than satisfying and had trouble actually hearing a lot of the speeches.
This year I opted for an official tour package from Sports and Travel Tours (STATS) who work directly with the Hall. They have several different options including a couple marked “Braves Fans.” I looked all of them over in detail and chose one without that designation. My personal evaluation was that the Braves specific package cost more and provided less of what I wanted. You have to make that choice based on your preferences and what you are willing to spend. I found the staff helpful, courteous and knowledgeable; that’s a huge plus for me.
These tours aren’t exactly cheap but considering the hassles that eliminate they are good value. The road trip tour will eventually run out of seats so early booking is essential if you want that experience. All packages require you to get to Albany – where your hotel is located – on your own, no travel is included. They have an “Induction Plus Road Trip” that gives you 2 ballgames as well as the induction weekend. The road trip tour will eventually run out of seats so early booking is essential if you want that experience. That trip is $1900 single. The standard HoF weekend package from STATS runs $975 single while VIP package is now $1440 and the Braves Fans VIP package is $1520. I say today’s price because the costs can increase as time passes. I booked a double VIP weekend two days ago for the cost of a triple today. The increase isn’t price gouging folks they simple ran out of rooms in my hotel and had to go to a more expensive one. The message here is book as soon as you can, it gets more expensive when you wait.
That’s a Wrap
I don’t have any relationship other than as a customer with either of the companies mentioned. They are simply the one’s I’ve dealt with personally. There are others advertising and I encourage you to search the web and call your travel agent or perhaps your credit card company to arrange a trip that fits your budget and time constraints. I hope to see a lot of my Braves Fan Family in Cooperstown for the big event. If you’re traveling there let me know and maybe we can find each other in the crowd.