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The Hall of Fame game changes

This year's Hall of Fame game will be the first that doesn't include two major league teams playing each other.

Baseball's legends and old-timers will play in a new Hall of Fame Classic, a creation deemed insufficient by the group opposed to the elimination of the annual exhibition between major league teams.

The inaugural Hall of Fame Classic will be held on June 21 -- Father's Day and the first day of summer. It will replace the Hall of Fame game, discontinued this season after 68 years because of scheduling problems.

"We're honored to be a part of this," said Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson, president of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, which is working with the Hall of Fame to put on the Hall of Fame Classic.

"There's a lot we can do to promote the game of baseball. This will be a great success and hit here in Cooperstown. It will be a lot of fun -- autographs, family entertainment. That's what it's all about," he added.

Next June's game at Doubleday Field will feature four Hall of Famers and more than 20 other retired major leaguers, although the decision on who will play will not be made until later, Hall of Fame spokesman Craig Muder said.

Not being a resident of New York state or Cooperstown specifically, I don't feel one way or the other about the game being discontinued in its original format.

But the residents of New York state are less than pleased.

Although U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York and other members of Congress objected, baseball commissioner Bud Selig defended the move, explaining that major league teams play 162 games in 183 days and that the addition of interleague play and interdivision matchups made scheduling two teams for a game in Cooperstown exceedingly difficult.

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Eliminating the game was unpopular with many fans, including Cooperstown native Kristian Connolly, who started a Web-based crusade to save the annual game.

I can kinda understand where they are coming from -- they see Hall of Famers and former major league players pretty regularly.  However, they don't see present day major leaguers playing a live game all that often in Cooperstown, and now it will be like never.

The one time I went to Cooperstown the Hall of Fame game was part of induction weekend and honestly I didn't see the stars of either club play that day.  The ones who took the field were the guys you have never heard of and the normal starters signed autographs for the fan.

Which was a good day, since I got some autographs, but it was far from being a normal game.

I guess it is sad that a 68 year-old tradition has ended, but honestly, I would've been just as happy if I had seen some legends of the game.  Then again, I don't live in Cooperstown where they show up on an annual basis.

If you would like to read about the history of the game, go no further than here:

The Hall of Fame Game.