SBD/July 8, 2013/Events and Attractions

Baseball HOF Faces Lower Turnout For '13 Ceremony With No Living Inductees

The Baseball HOF on July 27 "will hold one of the most star-studded induction ceremonies in its history," but for a museum "hoping to draw fans by the thousands, there is but one problem with this lineup of luminaries: They're all dead," according to Brian Costa of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The BBWAA "didn't elect any candidates to the Hall this year." For the first time since '60, there "will be no living inductees." HOF officials had "to ponder a difficult question: If they could only induct ghosts, how would they attract living souls to the ceremony?" HOF President Jeff Idelson said, "It will definitely have a different flavor than when we have fans who come to celebrate living inductees." This year's "all-ghost class presented a couple of unique challenges." The "larger issue" for both the HOF and Cooperstown is "how many fans will show up." Idelson said that last year's ceremony "drew around 20,000 people" and the HOF this year "would be thrilled if it could draw more than 10,000." Idelson added that it is "hard to project the size of the crowd." The HOF "expects to draw mostly from New York state." Fans within driving distance "don't need to plan as far ahead and could even be swayed by the weather forecast." Idelson: "No one here expects our numbers to be what they would be if we had a headline Hall of Famer. But there's enough going on throughout the weekend that it makes it fun and palatable for casual fans to attend or those that make a habit or history of doing so." The only crowd "seemingly unaffected by the lack of living inductees is living Hall of Famers." Forty-one of the 62 "plan to attend the weekend festivities ... only a slight drop from the 44 that attended last year" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/5).

UNWANTED COMPANY? In K.C., Mike Hendricks reported plans for a new Negro Leagues museum in Birmingham are "not exactly welcome news" for Negro Leagues Baseball Museum execs, who "even object to the terminology" used by Birmingham officials.  Museum President Bob Kendrick said, "We have some problem with them calling their project a Negro Leagues baseball museum. We own that name." But Kendrick has "far bigger concerns," and "chief among them is the financial impact the Birmingham project could have on museum attendance and charitable donations." Kendrick said, "It would be like building another National Baseball Hall of Fame. Why do that when we already have one in Cooperstown?” Chuck Faush, Chief of Staff for Birmingham Mayor William Bell, "declined to comment" as to whether the Birmingham project "will compete with the Kansas City museum for dollars and attention." He also "shared no specific information on the type of exhibits being planned." Faush said, “We really think we’re going to have a unique facility, honoring those who’ve given so much to the sport." Faush stressed that the museum "will largely focus on the role that Birmingham and the region around it played in the birth and development of Negro Leagues baseball" (K.C. STAR, 7/7).
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