The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

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June 16, 2008

Game over today

It seems fitting that baseball's lovable losers are helping end a nearly 70-year tradition.

The Chicago Cubs _ without a World Series championship in 100 years _ will play in the final edition of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Game at 2 p.m. today, when they face the San Diego Padres at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown.

The Cubs won the first Fame Game in 1940, beating Ted Williams and the Boston Red Sox, 10-9. Future Hall of Famer Williams hit two home runs in the loss.

The annual Home Run Derby will precede today's Fame Game at 1:15 p.m.

Tickets for the game are sold out. Brad Horn, the Hall's senior director of communications and education, said if any tickets are returned, they will go on sale at 9 a.m. today in the Doubleday Field parking lot. The field has a seating capacity of 9,571.

Major League Baseball announced earlier this year that 2008 will mark the last installment of its only in-season exhibition game.

"It's sad," Horn said. "We know the emotion of the Hall of Fame Game is the same drive that drives baseball fans young and old. We know with the game going away, it will be a sad occasion because it marks the end of a great tradition."

Chicago comes into the game with the best record in baseball at 45-23, a winning percentage of .643. The Cubs lead the St. Louis Cardinals by 3.5 games in the National League Central Division. The Padres (31-40, .437) are third in the NL West, 6.5 games behind division-leading Arizona.

"We're looking forward to welcoming the Cubs and Padres," Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said. "It's fitting that the Cubs played in the first game and are bookending with the last game. And the Padres played the first (major league exhibition) game in China and are playing the last (Fame Game) in Cooperstown."

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