Visiting Doubleday Field in Cooperstown

I walked from my motel to Doubleday Field to see an afternoon semi-pro baseball game (Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League). The hometown nine, the Cooperstown Hawkeyes, were playing the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dogs at 5pm. Doubleday Field has no lighting, so all games are played in the mornings and afternoons. I arrived at the park 40 minutes before game time. Light rain was falling.

The front of the Doubleday Field grandstand.

Doubleday Field is a charming old ball park. As I walked up to the main entrance I noticed a game was being played. I also noticed that the ticket window was empty—so I just walked into the park. It turns out a previous game between the Hawkeyes and Diamond Dogs was suspended due to darkness, and the final few innings were being played. I settled into a seat right behind home plate.

The view from the grandstand, right behind the plate.

In the waning moments of that first game I saw Quinn Pippin, the Hawkeyes third baseman from Tulane University, hit a grand slam to right field. Soon after the hit the light rain turned into a downpour.

Things begin to get muddy. (Notice the authentic stirrups.)

The umpires met to discuss if the game should be continued.

The umpires discuss the weather.

The grounds crew was summoned.

Mound renovation in progress.

The first game ended, and a brief intermission occurred. I stayed put in the grandstand reading a Dietrich Bonhoeffer biography.

For the first 7 innings I stayed in the same seat behind the plate. During that time the rain went from light to heavy several times, but play was never stopped. I saw two very interesting plays in this game. One was a successful suicide squeeze, executed to perfection. The other was a balk with runners on first and third that scored a run. The pitcher was standing on the rubber, he came set, and then the ball dropped from his glove. He just stood there for about 5 seconds, looking up at the sky. The ball just rolled down off the mound.

In the 8th inning I walked out to the outfield bleachers. On my way back I shot some pictures from the seats along the line. This vantage point allowed me to show the batter, catcher, umpire, with the brick dugout of the visiting team in the background. Very cool.

When the game began I thought there was no way it would be played to completion. It started a little after 5:30 due to the partial game that had been played before it. Rain was falling most of the evening, which not only made a rainout probable, the overcast skies also put the game in danger of being called due to darkness.

Dusk arrives at Doubleday Field.

But the full 9 innings were played. It was a rough night for the hometown team, they lost both games.

It was great to see this old ball park. I’m glad there was a game being played the day I was here.

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