Cooperstown, NY: You could have easily confused Cooperstown, this quiet village in Otsego County, New York for a small pueblo in Puerto Rico yesterday with the huge number of Puerto Ricans and Latinos that temporarily occupied the village for the induction of Roberto Alomar, a native of Salinas, Puerto Rico.
Cooperstown is approximately 230 miles north from New York City. Puerto Rico is approximately 1500 miles South, however, yesterday this village became the medium point for the 3rd Puerto Rican and 10th Latino to be inducted into this prestigious museum.
Imagine, out of the thousands of baseball players that have played the game for over one hundred years there are only 205 players inducted. That has to be a very selective Hall of Fame to only have that small number of plaques lining its main gallery located on the first and main floor.
This village has an estimated population of 1,852 people according to the 2010 census. I walked half the village as I decided to forgo the long lines for the shuttle-taking people back to Rogers Field where the induction ceremony was to be held. From downtown to out of town was approximately a 10-minute walk. The interesting thing was that everywhere, I mean everywhere I went I saw Puerto Ricans. Boricuas are easy to recognize in events like this because we all distinguish ourselves with the Puerto Rican flag.
Cooperstown looked like a mini New York City on the National Puerto Rican day parade. Jerseys, t-shirts, hats, bandanas, you name it. Puerto Rican colors everywhere. It was like if everyone came to Cooperstown not just to cheer Roberto Alomar on, but to also cheer themselves as an island nation that has one of the most interesting and complex diasporas with a majority of its population residing outside of the island.
Alomar was the vehicle and the Puerto Rican flag that brings out the pride was the instrument that united so many of us yesterday. I saw friends in Cooperstown from several towns in Puerto Rico that I have not seen in years. I met new friends of all ages through our admiration of our T-shirts. Ours did not have the Puerto Rican flag, instead we had Alomar in that famous shot when he hit that homerun in the 93 World Series and raised his arms up in a sign of victory that gave many back then the same feeling of pride that they felt yesterday.
I could write a lot more about the wonderful experience we all had in Cooperstown, but I would rather share these pictures with you and let the pictures explain our pride.
Congratulations Roberto Alomar and congratulations to all the Latinos, especially every Puerto Rican from the island and the mainland that gave all of us a beautiful day of unity, even if only for one day.
Anyone interested in the Alomar HOF t-shirt can purchase one at the Latino Sports Tienda on this site.