The coronavirus epidemic has come for one of the most anticipated weekends on the baseball schedule, the Hall of Fame ceremony in Cooperstown, New York. This year, Cooperstown had been expecting record crowds as Yankee legend Derek Jeter had been set for induction.
While Major League Baseball attempts to salvage their season with ideas ranging from Arizona only to these newly aligned divisions, the Hall of Fame has elected to postpone the inductions of Derek Jeter and Larry Walker until 2021.
A lot of the focus has been rightfully placed on Derek Jeter, and the crowd he will attract as being the most successful Yankee and Yankee captain since Don Mattingly. Jeter nearly went into the Hall of Fame unanimously save for one anonymous ballot. Many baseball observers had been expecting an enormous crowd as fans of the Bronx Bombers would make the trip upstate to Cooperstown and see a player they cheered on for two decades take his rightful place among the legends of the game.
Just like he had been overshadowed by the induction of Jeter, Larry Walker’s impact on the crowd size shouldn’t be short sold either. Montreal is just an hour further from Cooperstown than the Bronx, and Walker had many of his greatest years as a member of the Montreal Expos, and Walker himself is Canadian. By any and all estimations, this year in Cooperstown would have broken records with just two inductees.
Knowing what we know about the COVID-19 virus, the Baseball Hall of Fame is making the correct decision in postponing these ceremonies until next year. I appreciate the decision to postpone from a fan’s perspective. It just wouldn’t feel the same to watch Jeter or Walker deliver their speeches on a glitchy livestream from their homes. There is something special about the way baseball handles their hall of fame ceremonies with thousands of fans surrounding special guests.
As long as we continue to socially distance and wait on a vaccine, we will have a ceremony next year, and we can expect to see our favorite teams take the field for hopefully a full season.
Editor’s Note: Both Walker and Jeter appeared on my imaginary ballot back in January.