“We Are Baseball” in STL

(Ballpark Village) The “We Are Baseball” tour from the Baseball Hall of Fame has arrived in St. Louis, setting up camp across the street from Busch Stadium in the parking lot of Ballpark Village.

“It’s about giving people an opportunity to understand what we have there in Cooperstown,” said Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, who recently accepted an invitation to join the Board of Directors at the museum.

“I think it’s worth seeing if you’re a baseball fan and this certainly is the town for people to get a chance to be a part of something very, very special.”

Smith has gloves, shoes, and World Series memorabilia in Cooperstown and featured in one of the interactive displays on this tour. But an original 1910 Honus Wagner baseball card, a gilded baseball, and display from the 1940’s stood out to him from the “We Are Baseball” selections.

“African-Americans fought in the war, but they weren’t allowed to play baseball,” explained Smith as he pointed to the various pictures on the display. “You have unions demonstrating here–asking why if they can go and die for our country, can they not play baseball? That’s pretty poignant. That’s a pretty important piece right there to the history of baseball.”

Besides the display and Wagner baseball card, a bat that he used is also on display with other artifacts such as uniforms worn by Ty Cobb, Joe DiMaggio, Christy Mathewson, and Jackie Robinson. So too are the 714th home run ball by Hank Aaron, Yogi Berra’s catchers mitt from the Don Larsen perfect game, and a hat from Stan the Man.

National Baseball Hall of Fame traveling exhibitonBesides the artifacts, much of the exhibit is interactive as fans can have their face super-imposed on a Hall of Fame plaque like the ones in Cooperstown. A “We Are Baseball” IMAX production is also available to watch–although Cardinals fans beware, there are only a couple brief clips of St. Louis players as most of the focus is on Boston, Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Kansas City, and the Cubs.

The most impressive feature of the “We Are Baseball” exhibit was a virtual reality experience that provides a complete, 360-degree experience. With goggles and earphones attached, you are instantly transported to the top step of a dugout as players walk by–turn your head and view the entire stadium. You’re then taken inside the Green Monster for a look around, out to the mound to watch a pitch be delivered, and more virtual reality experiences.

“I think it’s fun for people to be able to get in what it’s like to be in the shoes of people sometimes and be on the field while something’s going on–virtual reality is pretty impressive when it’s that real,” said Jim Edmonds, who also was on hand for the opening of the exhibit.

The “We Are Baseball” exhibit will be on display in St. Louis through September 11th. Tickets are $29.00, however several discounts will be available through various outlets.

photo credit: Bill Greenblatt/UPI

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