MLB Needs To Relax Its Television Only Plan For The 2021 HOF Induction

MLB HOF Induction Ceremony

MLB has announced that the 2021 Hall Of Fame Induction ceremony will be a televised event only, an abrupt decision that needs correction.

Major League Baseball (MLB), during the darkest days of winter in mid-February when the COVID Pandemic was still swarming the continent, and a vaccine was not yet within reach of most citizens, MLB announced that the 2021 HOF Induction Ceremony scheduled for July 25 would be a television event only with no fans in attendance.

At the time, most of us expressed disappointment but understood that MLB was probably making the right call, all things considered.

MLB: The Times They Are A-Changing

Two months later, as of today, April 14, 75 million Americans have received the full vaccine, a number that is 22.7 percent of our population, and the list is growing every day.

No reasonable person can argue we are out of the woods yet. Still, surely MLB has more data and information available to (at least) re-evaluate their initial stance to permit X number of fans to attend the ceremony, provided there is strict adherence to pre-established guidelines for all attendees.

<a rel=Derek Jeter and Larry Walker MLB 2020 HOF inductees
Derek Jeter and Larry Walker MLB 2020 HOF inductees

In 2019 when Mariano Rivera was honored for his unanimous election to the HOF, the estimated crowd of 55,000 fans was the second-largest in history, trailing only the 82,000 fans that attended the 2007 induction of Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr.

This year, Larry Walker, Derek Jeter, and Ted Simmons will be among those inducted. Many believe that Jeter’s throng of fans would break the attendance record – but again – no reasonable fan or person can think the gates should be swung wide open by MLB, allowing that to happen.

MLB: This Can Be Done (Safely)

But as with anything, there is always room for compromise. In conjunction with the National Center For Disease Control (CDC) and New York State government officials, a formula similar to allowing fans to attend MLB games now can be arrived at.

The CDC and MLB working together
The CDC and MLB working together

One guideline, or in this case rule, can and should be a requirement that all attendees must show proof of being fully vaccinated, thereby limiting exposure right from the get-go.

An announcement from MLB now to this effect gives fans wishing to attend plenty of time. It can even spur publicity and incentives for fans to get vaccinated, making it, in effect, a privilege to be there in person.

Perhaps even more than fans, though, three players, each of whom spent two decades to reach the highest honor in baseball, deserve MLB’s consideration in doing everything it can to reverse its decision while still maintaining all practical safety measures.

Beyond the players, the 2021 Ford C. Frick Award winner for broadcasting excellence will be presented to Al Michaels, and last year’s 2020 Frick Award will belatedly be given to Ken Harrelson.

Cooperstown: A Baseball Celebration To Behold

And last but not least is the village of Cooperstown, the home of the Baseball Hall Of Fame, which comes alive once a year for a three-day celebration that lines its streets with past players, famous and not so famous, who give of their time signing autographs and posing for pictures – for free.

<a rel=Clete Boyer 1961 Yankees World Series Ring
Clete Boyer 1961 Yankees World Series Ring

It was my good fortune, for instance, to see former Yankees third-baseman Clete Boyer sitting idle at a table. Spotting his 1961 World Series ring, I asked if I could try it on. Without hesitation, he handed the ring to me. Small things mean a lot.

I observed something else that day in 2006 that MLB is always hawking about but does little to encourage. Families with their kids, single moms, and dads treating their children are predominant in the crowd. Grow the sport, MLB says…

So MLB…start buying enough chalk to draw separation pods on the lawn, determine the number of fans who can safely attend, establish a tickets lottery if you have to – but make the announcement soon that you’ve changed your mind…

Here’s What Readers Are Saying…

Agreed. Put me in a hazmat suit in July…I need to be there!!
You sure do like to present these stories with your opinion prefacing them, don’t you? What if the rest of us (including some of us in the medical profession who aren’t seeing that the pandemic is really subsiding) don’t agree with you that it’s “an abrupt decision that needs correction”? How about just reposting your “news” stories without your opinion tacked on top? Just sayin’…
UM….MLB has no say in this. The HoF is a separate entity, and their Board of Directors made the call. MLB has no input and is at the discretion of what the Hall wishes to do. With that understanding, they do NOT want folks coming down, milling about the town, creating a spring-break-like atmosphere, which will be impossible to control and will over-run the town.
really the second year with no ceremony let’s just destroy Cooperstown’s economy
Mlb has terrible leadership
Really?? It is outdoors. More baseball normalcy, less politics!!! PLEASE
The Cooperstown field will not allow any teams to play unless the kids are vaccinated
1) I’m sure it was not an “abrupt” decision. It has been well thought out, and deliberately so.
2) For the benefit of those who have never been to Induction Day in Cooperstown – it is NOT a ticketed event, where attendance can be restricted. The Clark Center is an open field. There are no “gates”.
It would be a nightmare for the town to set up and plan for a “limited attendance” event, with checkpoints all over town? Are you kidding? And Cooperstown is a SMALL town. Who gets to come, and who has to stay home? And who’s going to decide that?
3) The vaccination numbers going forward are pure speculation. We STILL have to play it safe until we get to a point of “herd immunity” – which may not be achieved by Induction Day.
MLB and the HoF (and the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce) don’t want to set up a “super spreader” event. We are so close to winding this pandemic down – let’s not jump start it over a ceremony and some autograph parties.
They can still hold the Frick and Spink ceremonies on Saturday at Doubleday Field (behind closed doors, of course) and have the induction ceremony indoors somewhere on Sunday. Do not encourage people to come to Cooperstown and swarm the place. At least, not at this time.
It’s so dumb to make the call today not to allow fans, July 25th is 3 months away. Last year the COVID cases were extremely low during the summer months in NY, this year there is going to be a vaccinated population, continuing significant drop hospitalizations, and treatments, scientific information, and therapies we didn’t have last year. They should see how things go over the next two months then make the call whether or not to have fans.
All those people that bought tickets, booked flights and hotel reservations.
I feel sorry for
They announced this weeks ago and I wrote them and told them it was a terrible decision. We are close to everything opening up again and they’re going to rob people of seeing Jeter get inducted? I was last in Cooperstown two years before Jeter retired and the whole town couldn’t wait for his induction- they were building roads, hotels, etc. in preparation. The store and restaurant owners were so looking forward to this, not to mention us fans. I had a room booked the first year Jeter was eligible, then switched it to this summer. Now we won’t get to see it at all? That is a huge mistake by the HOF. They should push it until next summer. I’m sure Jeter and the other inductees really want to have their day in the sun, in front of a million fans. The HOF responded to my message, saying “We feel this is the best course of action”.

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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.