New York State has an official gemstone, a fossil a flower and even a reptile just to name a few. But there's not official state sport.
Here's how a determined fourth grade class in Cooperstown and a state senator came together to change that:
Take a walk down Main Street in Cooperstown, it's easy to see why baseball is important to this village.
"You know, baseball to this community honestly it means so much because a lot of people make their living off of baseball," said Matthew Hazzard, Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. "We all live in a trickle down economy here and when baseball businesses are doing well and the museums are doing, we all benefit. It's really neat to think we live in a community that's a bucket list for a lot of people."
Two years ago, a local fourth grade class sent Senator James Seward an interesting proposal.
"They had done some research. Even though New York State has plenty of other symbols, we even have a state reptile of course the state flower the list goes on. We do not have an official state sport in New York State and the class suggested baseball."
"The State Senate overwhelmingly passed my legislation that would designate baseball as the official sport in New York State."
Of course, the legislation has the full support of the Hall of Fame.
"We think what Senator Seward has introduced is phenomenal. When you think of New York, you think of the Yankees and Mets but you also think of the Baseball Hall of Fame," said President Jeff Idelson. "It's where all the legends and legacies live. It's where the games history unfolds. If there was a state that should have baseball be it's official sport there's no place better than New York.
With the National Baseball Hall of Fame and historic Doubleday Field, Cooperstown is already considered the home of baseball. But locals say making it the official sport only adds to that validation.
"Cooperstown is an incredible village," said Mickey's Place manager Sarah Mower. "And if they can advertise the love of baseball and bring more people into the community and try to give people the feel of how wonderful Cooperstown is in the spirit of baseball here it would just be a positive impact on the village."
"Really with the Baseball Hall of Fame here, Cooperstown is a baseball mecca," said Cooperstown Bat Company owner Connie Haney. "We see thousands of people, tens of thousands of people every summer coming here with their youth players, adult men's leagues, high school and college teams playing on Doubleday Field. They're here because of baseball. They're here because it is Cooperstown. I think it's really cool and great that baseball is going to be the official sport"
"It'll also give us more marketing appeal so when people are in schools and stuff and learning different states in different places they're learning that baseball is the life out of New York and it helps promote the game and hopefully exposes baseball to more people," added Hazzard.
"Now we still have to get the bill passed by the Assembly," said Senator Seward on what's next. "We have another step to go and of course the governor would have to sign it but this was important first step."
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