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Bumping along in Cooperstown

7/23/2010

The combination of lost bags, rain and masses of people makes for more than just an easy trip down Cooperstown’s memory lane.

10:45 a.m.: Talked to my pal Kenny McRenolds, who is my go-between with Sunday’s star Andre Dawson this weekend. (It does me no good to have Dawson’s cell phone, the Hall of Fame controls every minute of his time.) Just trying to find five minutes for a one-on-one with the guy that I’ve talked to thousands of times, before he is inducted on Sunday.

11:00: Set up my radio equipment for Talking Baseball on Saturday morning. In the past I was able to broadcast from the Hall of Fame itself. Now they set you up in tents outside. (Yes, grass floors.)

11:12: Equipment tested out well. Did a hit with Waddle and Silvy. Talked more Chicago baseball than I have in Cooperstown.

11:30: ESPN’s Jon Miller stops by to chat. Miller is going into the broadcast wing of the museum this weekend. Miller, a baseball historian in his own right, is giddy about the induction ceremony. He’ll be joined by his co-host Joe Morgan on the podium on Sunday. Miller and Morgan started ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball in 1989 and have made it appointment television for the last 21 years. (Miller and Morgan are now joined by Orel Hershiser.) Miller told me he’ll be anxious to get his speech over and done with Sunday afternoon.

1:45 p.m.: United Airlines calls and tells me that my luggage will be dropped off before 4 p.m. Lost en route, Chicago to Syracuse. Here’s a tip for you. When flying on United Express, carry on. Do not check your bags. I repeat, do not check your bags. And I do love United Airlines, I fly them all the time.

2:15: Hall of Fame pitcher Fergie Jenkins stops me inside a baseball memorabilia store and rips me for being a mark. Jenkins said he couldn’t believe I’d be looking at baseball memorabilia in Cooperstown after covering over 3,000 baseball games. I shot back at Jenkins, ragging him for charging for his autograph in front of a CVS store with six or seven other Hall of Famers. (Jenkins gives a large portion of those earnings to charity.)

3:00: Pick up my credentials at the one-and-only high school in Cooperstown. That’s right, it’s called Cooper High School, what else? Pleasantly surprised to find an invitation to a special party the Cubs are throwing for Dawson on Saturday evening within my packet.

3:25: Bumped into Ryne and Margaret Sandberg buying Hall of Fame baby clothes for their fourth grandchild. Both are cautiously optimistic about Sandberg’s future interview for the Cubs manager job. The Sandbergs have three children in Chicagoland, and will look to relocate back to Chicago soon, whether or not he gets the Cubs job. I told Margaret that the Ricketts family will be the ones throwing the Dawson’s party on Saturday night, and she lights up, anticipating meeting owner Tom Ricketts.

5:15: Another torrential downpour as my bags finally arrive. Looking forward to dinner with some media buddies at the Yum Yum Shack. Yes it is food, for those of you who are wondering.

That’s about it for all this dribble. Lots of Hall of Fame talk, as well as Cubs and White Sox, on Talking Baseball tomorrow morning from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Guests include Cardinals broadcaster John Rooney, Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly and Sox broadcaster Hawk Harrelson.