The jewel game series: A proposal for the 2024 MLB season

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Nick Lodolo (40) warms up in left field prior to the baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, at the MLB Field of Dreams stadium in Dyersville, Iowa.Mlb Field Of Dreams Game Cincinnati Reds At Chicago Cubs Aug 11 5629
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Nick Lodolo (40) warms up in left field prior to the baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, at the MLB Field of Dreams stadium in Dyersville, Iowa.Mlb Field Of Dreams Game Cincinnati Reds At Chicago Cubs Aug 11 5629 /
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Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, N.Y. (Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, N.Y. (Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** /

The Hall of Fame jewel game

For many years, in connection with Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, a pair of major league teams were hijacked up to Cooperstown to play an exhibition at Doubleday Field.

That aspect of induction weekend ended 15 years ago when teams objected to interrupting their season to fly and bus up to Cooperstown to engage in a meaningless exercise nobody paid attention to.

But what if the game was not meaningless? What if it was a regularly scheduled and spotlighted jewel game complementing the induction ceremony?

There is no reason why a jewel game series could not and should not encompass baseball’s shrine.

Yes, Doubleday Field is small … at least by general big league standards. It’s 296 feet down the line to left, about 335 to the gap, 390 to dead center, and a bit deeper in right than in left. Yes, capacity is tight, although at a few fannies short of 10,000 it also is larger than Dyersville. The field has no lights, so a portable system would have to be used. If you are serious about the general idea, that’s really not a problem these days.

Would it be possible to push Doubleday’s fences back 30 or so feet to more closely resemble a typical major league park? I don’t know … take that one up with the good citizens of Cooperstown.

But even if not, the lure of playing a real annual game at baseball’s legendary home ought to be too good to resist. Besides, short dimensions are hardly unprecedented. It’s only 302 feet from home plate to the Pesky Pole at Fenway. At Philly’s Citizens Bank Park, the gap in left requires only a 355 foot carry. Yankee Stadium’s right-center gaps is two feet closer, 353.

So while Doubleday Field’s dimensions are certainly small, they’re not that much smaller than several stadiums in every-day use. For a once-a-year event, the field may be well worth the cost.