There are times when we really wish we paid less attention to what is printed about Cooperstown as we tend to think that w would spend less time wondering what on earth people are thinking. Of course, we suppose it does give us something to ponder although we must admit we are sometimes suspicious that the worth of the pondering does not match the worth of the information.
This year alone, there have been two logos put forth for various undertakings which we find puzzling at best.
The first of these is the logo for Doubleday Field which proclaims rather prominently that Doubleday Field is the ``Birthplace of Baseball.’’ And while that concept did not go out with high button shoes, we are of the opinion that it has since been fairly universally debunked. So we fail to understand why it has reared its ugly head again. We could understand, and make a good case for, ``Home of Baseball.’’ But we certainly can’t do the same for ``Birthplace of Baseball.’’
Equally troubling is the logo for the newly formed collegiate baseball team that will play at Doubleday Field this summer. The team’s name was designated as the ``Hawkeyes.’’ And that, given its James Fenimore Cooper association, seemed to make perfect sense to us. Yet when the logo for the team was announced it featured an antique ``C’’ adorned with two feathers. The antique ``C’’ seemed appropriate enough for Cooperstown, but we simply could not fathom how the two feathers came to be a part of the logo.
According to the newspaper article which we read, the team logo was a result of a national contest circulated through ESPN online. And, according to the reports in this very paper, Tom Hickey, President and General Manager of the Cooperstown Hawkeyes, announced the logo ``...is simple and it fits the historical reference in our name...It was just perfect.’’
On the contrary, we think the choice of logo demonstrates a complete lack of knowledge about James Fenimore Cooper’s novels. The name Hawkeye (used by Natty Bumppo in James Fenimore Cooper’s 1826 novel ``The Last of the Mohicans’’) has nothing to do with Indians. In fact, in the novel Hawkeye is a white man. And one might well have assumed that by choosing the awkeye name, the decision had been made to not adopt a name with ``Indian’’ connotations. However, to adorn the ``C’’ with two feathers would seem to suggest otherwise. We also find ourselves musing, in this day and age, why anyone would choose a logo with an ``Indian’’ connotation when it is fairly well known that Native Americans are very opposed to sports teams adoptingáIndian motifs in their names, logos, or other materials. Over the years the CCS name for its sports teams, the ``Redskins,’’ has taken a fair amount of heat and the concept of adding another such potentially troubling logo to an area sports team is difficult to understand.
We are also not quite certain why the decision has been made to change the name of the Central Leatherstocking Region to the Central New York Region at this point in time. According to a Daily Star editorial of April 10, two years of research by tourism officials went into the new designation for the region that includes Otsego, Chenango and Schoharie counties.
Funding is also needed to replace current tourism materials to reflect the name change. With New York state and local budgets failing to add up and many people unemployed, investing resources into updating promotional materials and asking the state to change highway signs seem to be an improper use of limited resources. We could not agree more. It would seem to be another example of governmental waste.
And while it may be true, as was pointed out in the Star’s April 6 article entitled ``Officials rebrand area Central New York Region’’ by Denise Richardson, that ``Many people aren’t familiar with the ``Leatherstocking’’ references to 19th-century author James Fenimore Cooper of Otsego County and his ``Leatherstocking Tales,’’ the bigger problem may be that many people are finding travel is no longer a part of the family budget. It is going to matter little that ``The new name will simply better identify our geographic region,’’ if people find they do not have the means to vacation here. We find it to be most bemusing.
We are also puzzled by an ad we saw in the April 2010 issue of Smithsonian that showed a picture of what we assume is the Fenimore Art Museum coupled with the thought ``Believe it or not this is Cooperstown.’’ Since we found this somewhat disconcerting, we went to the website listed in the ad, ThisIs- Cooperstown.com where we discovered an entire website dedicated to ``Believe it or not this is Cooperstown’’ which claimed to be the ``official’’ website of Cooperstown, NY.
We discovered we could ``Take an Aerial Tour!’’ to ``Enjoy a Flight Over Cooperstown’’ which we did.
And during our virtual travel we learned about both the Oneonta Tigers playing on Damaschke Field from June through September and the Oneonta home of the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Not only are these not Cooperstown attractions, we believe they are also no longer Oneonta attractions. It might be suggested that a bit of updating be done on the website.
And we also think we would prefer some other heading than ``Curious Facts’’ about Cooperstown in a list which includes:
• Otsego County was originally settled by Judge William Cooper, the first English land baron to sell his land, rather than ``rent’’ to tenant farmers.
• The D&H roundhouse in Oneonta was once the largest and its turntable the longest in the world.
• The Village of Cherry Valley is located high above the Mohawk Valley where, on a clear day, there’s an 80-mile view of Vermont’s Green Mountains.
• Otsego County is located within a 750-mile radius of 50 percent of the North American population.
• The Village of Unadilla, settled about 1770, is at the junction of the Ouleout Creek and Susquehanna River. The Indian name Unadilla is said to mean ``Meeting Place,’’ indicating the place where two rivers meet.
• One of the most notorious events of the Revolutionary War was the Cherry Valley Massacre of November 11, 1778. English Tory Rangers and Joseph Brant’s Mohawks killed 47 people, mostly by tomahawk.
In closing, we have decided that this week’s quote is one of those ``Curious Facts’’ of Cooperstown which states ``Cooperstown has a twoblock downtown area with one traffic light and a yearround population of 2,200.’’
We believe the one traffic light would be correct.
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