COOPERSTOWN (WBNG) — Cooperstown is attracting thousands of people, traveling from near and far to attend Hall of Fame weekend and celebrate America’s pastime.
“This is my 33rd or 34th year coming with my dad,” said Jeremy Pratt of Poughkeepsie. “I mean look around you, people, baseball, hot dogs. How does that get better?”
Not only does it bring in fans of the sport, the weekend also brings back some former professional players.
“You get to talk to people you get to have a conversation and be able to say why are you here, what are you here for, and of course this weekend is a huge weekend for New Yorkers,” said former New York Yankee Jim Leyritz.
With so many people coming into town, Hall of Fame weekend is not only a home run for fans, but for local businesses.
“All hands on deck, all weekend long. And we love it, we look forward to this weekend all year,” said Carly Brentini whose family owns the Silver Fox Gift Shop.
Preparations for this weekend have been underway for months.
“So many of the business owners keep so much inventory that they normally wouldn’t have. They bring in extra help. I don’t live in town, my brother doesn’t live in town, we had to fly in just for this weekend,” said Brentini.
“We definitely stock up before the weekend. It’s a big process, we prep everything the night before,” said Cooperstown Beverage Exchange employee McKinley Neil.
And shops stock up with apparel based on who is being inducted.
“We’ll have a great many of Mariano Rivera products that we offer to the public,” said Mickey’s Place owner Vin Russo.
But the businesses say all the hard work is worth it.
“Having four excellent days just does pay a lot of bills,” said Russo.
“This is how my parents make their living, this is how they’ll be able to afford retirement one day, so we love it,” said Brentini.
While the excitement only lasts a few days, businesses are already getting ready to round the bases again next year.
“In a couple years when Derek Jeter hopefully gets in, we’re already thinking about that,” said Brentini.
12 Sports will have live coverage from Cooperstown all weekend long on 12 News.