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June 14, 2008

Blogger urges silence in bottom of the third inning to protest Fame Game loss

Many baseball fans have expressed regret that Major League Baseball and its players have decided to cancel their annual exhibition game in Cooperstown, but few believe the decision is reversible.

Kristian Connolly, 30, a former Hall of Fame employee, is different. Not long after the National Baseball Hall of Fame announced that MLB was dropping the annual exhibition game, Connolly started the blog, Save the Hall of Fame Game.

Operating mostly on the Internet, at www.savethefamegame.com, his group has lobbied baseball owners, players and Hall of Famers, trying to keep the annual exhibition game alive.

``We've heard from a lot of fans, but the hardest part is getting the word out, because people don't realize it's happening,'' Connolly said.

On Monday, this 1995 Cooperstown Central School graduate will join other miffed fans to march as a unit in the pre-game parade, which begins at noon on Main Street.

``We'll have about 20 people in the parade, which is the maximum allowed,'' he said.

Connolly said MLB's decision to drop its final exhibition game seems to center on money, mainly how little can be made playing before about 10,000 fans at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown.

Connolly said he's also seen evidence that the MLB Players Association, the bargain unit for the game's well-paid athletes, is less than eager to have its members trekking to Cooperstown.

``If we're going to change minds, it's going to have to be the fans who do it,'' he said.

Fans who disagree with MLB's decision can quietly express this sentiment during the bottom half of the third inning, he said.

"While we don't want those people who benefit from the Hall of Fame Game _ namely baseball fans and Cooperstown school kids selling concessions _ to suffer the consequences that a boycott or walk-out might bring, we believe that a period of silence lasting an entire half-inning is an appropriate demonstration of opposition to the decision to end the Hall of Fame Game after this year," he wrote in an e-mail to The Daily Star.

Connolly said the Save the Fame Game group will continue to lobby for the game's reinstatement after Monday.

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