Day 2 started at 7:00AM - the official wake up time for the Hard 90 Clutch. The team discussed the importance of waking up at the same time everyday to get on a routine and keep your first appointment of the day. Each player made their bed and then headed for the showers to start their day off right.
The team ate breakfast together at 8:00AM and then each player was checked out of the facility by their parents to head to downtown Cooperstown. Day 2 was the first official day of the MLB Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies and the team headed in to town to meet up with some Hall of Famers (and visit their favorite shop: Baseballism.)
Downtown, the Hard 90 Clutch had the opportunity to meet a number of big leaguers including Pete Rose, Andre Dawson, Jesse Barfield, and Denny Mclain, among others. The downtown was buzzing as this was a big induction year for one of the home state teams - Mariano Rivera was the first unanimous selection for the Hall of Fame.
The team checked back in to the facility at 1PM to begin Opening Day Ceremonies. The Clutch met to review the schedule for the rest of the day - which included a number of meetings, Opening Ceremonies and the Skills Competition. At the meeting the boys also discussed the Skills Competition participants. The boys were asked who wanted to participate in each individual skills event - and as anticipated - each player wanted to participate.
We discussed the importance of the value of meritocracy at Hard 90 Baseball (yes - Ben helped us all with the definition of meritocracy.) We then asked the players which stat from the season most represented the skills. It was decided that home runs represented the Home Run Derby, pitch command represented the Golden Arm and steals represented the Road Runner.
After the meeting - the team for the first time donned their blue away uniforms for the festivities.
The process kicked off with an all camp meeting where the Cooperstown Dreams Park team discussed the ground rules for the week - including an important talk on respecting the baseball uniform and the great game of baseball. Players were also treated to a bit of history on Cooperstown Dreams Park - the reason for the founding and some of the records for home runs.
After the 2PM meeting, the Hard 90 Clutch headed to the photography studio for individual and team pictures. After pictures -a quick bite and then reporting for the Opening Ceremonies parade. Sitting in the tent - it was extremely hot as upstate New York summers can be - but still the anticipation of the Opening Ceremony made the blistering heat bearable.
The PA Announcer called Hard 90 Clutch from the bull horn and we were off - the start of our Cooperstown week. The team marched 3X3 to Little Majors Stadium - again the announcer shouted out - Hard 90 Clutch - the boys proudly marched on to Little Majors Stadium to a thunderous applause from their families seated down the right field line. Each parent holding a giant player head on a stick. An amazing welcome from our #1 fans.
At the end of the march, the Clutch took their spot in left field to view the festivities. The team was treated to dances by two Hawaiian teams - including the famous warrior dance the Haka, the Canadian National Anthem- sung by the Canadian Team and the Star Spangled Banner sung by a parent from one of the teams. Everywhere you looked you saw flags and smiling faces. The highlight of the ceremony was a reading of the poem - I Am Your Flag and a tribute to the fallen soldiers that played at Cooperstown Dreams Park.
After the ceremony, the players were released to the individual skills competition. The highlight of the skills competition was the around the horn - where the Clutch took 8th place out of 104 teams - missing the top 6 (and finals round) by a very small margin.
At the closing of the ceremony, the Clutch headed back to the barracks for some free time before the 10:00PM meeting. At the 10:00PM meeting, the boys reflected on 3 things that stood out during their day. The resounding #1 was having time to be with their teammates in Cooperstown - followed by the opportunity to speak to MLB players and get some advice. By far the best advice was from Denny Mclain - keep the ball down and study hard in school!
After texting their top 3 best things to their parents, the Clutch players met with their daily buddy to discuss what they needed to do to be successful in the tournament. The team reconvened to share with the entire team their individual keys to success that they entered into their phone for review in the morning.
At 10:30PM, the Clutch went to sleep - a successful day 2 in the books.
Cooperstown Day 3
Established in 2005, Hard 90 Baseball has been traveling to Cooperstown each year. This is an amazing trip where players are able to truly enjoy "youth" baseball and through this process mature to get ready for high school. Hard 90 is currently forming high level teams for Cooperstown 2020 and Cooperstown 2021. Register your interest for our youth travel teams. Sign up today as spots are limited.