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Local News

July 29, 2013

Inductions draw minimal crowds

Merchant: Weekend was 'disaster'

Even the kids knew it was a down year for the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Induction Weekend. 

Standing on Pioneer Street, in front of their makeshift business, 13-year-olds Margaret Harmon and Nicole Idelson could tell from their still-full bowl of snacks for sale. 

“We usually end up selling something every year,” said Idelson. “This year was harder.” 

“Because of the rain,” Harmon offered. 

“And not as many famous people going in,” added Idelson, who should know. Her dad, Jeff, is president of the Baseball Hall of Fame. 

By 1:30 p.m., the girls were offering free pieces of candy and snacks to the younger kids in their neighborhood.

By then, the rain had starting falling hard. The start of the induction ceremony was officially pushed back until 2:15 p.m.; it actually started closer to 2:30 p.m. 

Hall of Fame representatives put on happy faces as they dealt with inclement weather for the second time this year (the Hall of Fame Classic was rained out on May 25). 

“What would baseball be without some inclement weather,” joked announcer Gary Thorne. 

On Main Street, the faces weren’t always as happy.

“It is just a disaster,” said Brian Paterno of Paterno Brothers Sports. “It is no busier than a normal weekend.”

Not everyone was as negative as Paterno, however. Several businesses reported good sales and good foot traffic, although no one said business was up from last year when 17,500 fans attended the induction of Barry Larkin and Ron Santo. Given the official attendance figure reported by the Hall was 2,500, that’s not surprising. 

“It is not as good as last year, but people are still coming in and they are still buying,” said Sarah Mower, manager of Mickey’s Place.

A few doors down at Extra Innings, manager Scott Morley said he recognized many regular visitors.

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