Cooperstown Dreams Park
One of the most amazing experiences in Youth Baseball in going to Cooperstown NY for a week long tournament. Cooperstown Dreams Park is only available for 12u, and really takes some planning and commitment from EVERYONE!! The city is amazing and being able to go the Baseball Hall of Fame with your player is something that only true baseball fans dream of! In this post we will break down what to expect, how to plan, and what it takes for everyone to enjoy the experience
When to Request A Spot
Just to start, this tournament is 12u only and will fill up. There is no guarantee that you will get into the tournament so it is very important to get your paperwork in order and turned in ASAP! That being said, it is a good idea to get your paperwork submitted in June or July of your 11u season! There are tournaments run from May thru August every week and you don’t get to hand pick one week only and that’s it… You will rank your ideal weekends 1-10 and they will let you know which week you get. If you plan ahead and get lucky you might even be able to get the weekend that they have the Hall of Fame induction!!
This is a very important part of the week to make sure that everyone has a good time in Cooperstown. Friday is the first day of the week-long experience. This is the day that the team can check into the barracks and the coaches can begin to get your team checked in for the week. This is the ONLY TIME that parents can be at the barracks, and from that point on a coach will HAVE TO be at the barracks with the team. I would suggest to have everyone check in, get their gear into the barracks, and then have everyone stay with their parents for the night. The reason for this is to allow the coaches time the following morning to check the team in officially and get uniforms/etc. This takes some time and having to juggle that and keeping an eye on all of the kids would be a lot to ask to start the week. Once you get your teams schedule you will see what times you will have available for everyone to enjoy the town and all that Cooperstown has to offer! It would be a good idea to have a night that no-one stays at the barracks, to allow the coaches time to relax outside the village without having to keep and eye on all of the players. This is a vacation as well as a tournament, so allowing everyone time to enjoy will make the experience enjoyable for everyone!
What to Expect on Opening Day
Saturday will be a day that the players get their uniforms, go through orientation, do team pictures and Dreams Park media coverage, and then Opening Ceremonies!! This is a very long day for the players and coaches so be prepared for it! Part of the Opening Ceremonies is the Skills Competition!! Each team will chose 1 player for the HR Derby, 1 player for the Run the Bases, 1 player for the Outfield Throwing Accuracy, and a full team for Around the Horn. This is probably the best part of the day, but is very long because there are over 100 teams to get through, so be patient and enjoy the experience!
Playing Schedule and Playing Time
This tournament is a 6 game guarantee, so there will be 5 pool game and then everyone goes into a single-elimination bracket. The teams in the tournament will vary from Rec/A thru Elite Major teams. Just being honest, there is probably 2-4 teams out of 100+ that are actually there with a legit chance to win the tournament. This tournament is about the experience, so make sure that every player is playing the position they want at-least 1 game and let every player that wants to pitch get a few innings in. Like I said before, there will be Rec/A teams in your pool, so make sure that EVERY KID is getting the experience they deserve. The fences are 200 ft. all the way around so Home Runs are going to happen! Its tough for the players not to swing for the fences because they want to say that they hot a HR at Cooperstown!! The other teams will also be hitting HR’s so don’t let your pitchers loose confidence if the other team hits a few bombs…IT WILL HAPPEN!!
Lodging and Expenses
When you get your week confirmed Parents need to find housing ASAP!!! There are houses to rent, a few small hotels, and even Lake housing available, but they will fill up so DONT WAIT!!! We used the website Cooperstown Stay to find and book our house to stay in. I would expect to spend $1500 – $2500 for a week, so you might want to plan ahead and possibly share a house this another parent/family to help with the costs! Just like you would expect, Food is not cheap. There are plenty of choices available including Pizza, BBQ, and other chain restaurants in the area. There are also a few grocery stores in the area that are affordable, if you want to cook a meal at home or even have a team BBQ one night!!
Bucket List Attractions
Obviously there WILL be a trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame some time during the week. Make sure that you plan out and allow for 2-3 hrs at the HOF. There is so much to take in, so make sure that you allow enough time to enjoy it all. My family personally came from the Midwest(Kansas City) and drove up. We wanted to drive because we could drive to Canton Oh and see the Football Hall of Fame. From there we went to Niagara Falls to see one of the 7 Wonders of the World! Both of those stops along the way made this trip and absolute trip of a lifetime!! Especially when you get to experience it with your family!! Some of the people that flew up there went to NYC and did some sight seeing before they went home! Like I said earlier, this is not just a baseball tournament it is a vacation!! Plan it out and it will be one of the best experiences of your life!!