Tuesday, July 7, 2009

America's Game -- making a buck

Just returned from Cooperstown, N.Y., where my parents have spent their summers for the past 23 years, and once again much of the conversation is about how baseball commercialism is destroying the village. A woman who grew up in Cooperstown but now lives in Boston wrote an op-ed piece in the local paper expressing shock over the demise of shops that catered to locals. To which my parents said, right on. I used to look forward to visiting a gallery on Main Street that sold Lavern Kelley carvings (http://americanart.si.edu/collections/search/artwork/?id=31991). I could never afford one because even then -- 20 years ago -- they were $1,000 or more. (But I did get to visit Kelley at his decrepit home in Oneonta, where silent men sat in broken chairs, cats roamed and the ground was visible through the wood floor.) Today the former gallery space sells bats. A retailer who operated a variety store where my father bought his newspapers tried desperately to sell to someone who would continue to operate it as a variety store. No luck. Now it's a shop with some connection to Pete Rose, who sells his autographs.

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