Friday, August 4, 2017

Annual Road Trip to the MLB National Hall of Fame

Story by Epiphany Catling
Photos by Epiphany Catling and Kristin O'Grady

SYRACUSE, N.Y.- Chad Spencer has a daily routine. He is a baseball fan from Dayton, Ohio who goes to school to teach kids during the day and at night volunteers as a Little League baseball coach.  But once a year Spencer drops everything to go on a road trip with "the boys." 

For 18 consecutive years, Spencer and a group of his friends have driven over eight hours through the night so they could attend the National Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y. 

“We’ll probably set lawn chairs up on Friday out on the big lawn so that we’ll have a good seat for Sunday,” Spencer said. On their way to the National Hall of Fame, the men make a pit stop.

“Each year we travel on a Thursday and we stop at a minor league park in New York on the way to Cooperstown,” Spencer said.

This year Spencer and his friends stopped in Syracuse, N.Y. for the Chiefs game, where he talked with a Newhouse Sports reporter Thursday evening.  Spencer says Syracuse’s “neat playing surface” was a small factor in this year's game choice. Spencer and his friends had seats behind the dugout but they did not stay there the whole game. Instead, they took time to explore their surroundings.

“I think that it is a beautiful stadium and we were really excited to find out that it is dollar hot dog night which is really cool,” he said. 

The main reason why the Ohio natives chose this game was to see the Cincinnati Reds Triple-A affiliates, the Louisville Bats play. Some of the Chiefs recent call-ups also caught their attention.

After the game, the group of friends gets in their van to drive all night so they can be in Cooperstown first thing in the morning for the induction ceremonies and the rest of the weekend activities.

“We like to go into the town and visit the Hall of Fame and visit all of the shops and stores," Spencer said. "We all actively pursue our idols from our childhoods for autographs and pictures,”

There is no one in particular, he is looking forward to seeing this year.  Spencer wants to celebrate baseball with the players and take in the whole experience.

"We just enjoy coming to New York every year and making it as if we were 12-year-old boys out for a weekend," Spencer said.

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