Time of year
Sam C wrote a review Feb 2020
Canonsburg, Pennsylvania12 contributions3 helpful votes
If you ever have the chance to experience Cooperstown Dreams Park, please take advantage of this opportunity. Our experience was like no other. We traveled from the Pittsburgh, PA area and played against teams from across the county. The families and players will never forget this trip and the experience is a once in a lifetime experience.…
Date of experience: August 2019
LostALot22 wrote a review Nov 2019
Chicago, Illinois9,658 contributions1,044 helpful votes
Right now the front of the park is a disaster with construction and mud. But it’s a nice park and right by the town and the Hall. Would love to see a game there.
Date of experience: November 2019
Alexa S wrote a review Nov 2019
Bee Cave, Texas307 contributions78 helpful votes
I love this baseball field. I have been here before and my brother has played here before. I love the logo of this park.
Date of experience: December 2018
285jareda wrote a review Oct 2019
7 contributions12 helpful votes
Cooperstown Review, week 5, summer 2019: The baseball itself was great - extremely well organized, on time, and on exquisitely maintained fields. Unless you are a former pro player, these will be the nicest fields you have ever set foot on. They have a very dedicated and efficient grounds crew. We had a one hour torrential downpour, which would’ve closed our normal field down for a week - they had everything open within a half an hour and stayed right on time. Some people seem to make a big deal about the 200 foot fences. We had one to three homeruns per team in most games and this was a lot of fun for the kids and the parents. I think overall this was a positive. The smaller fields will limit the doubles and triples, and most kids will have to get used to playing with a wall right behind them when they’re in the outfield. In addition, most of the catchers that we played were strong and accurate with throws. Stolen bases were a premium, not a given. For the most part, the umpires had a pretty wide strike zone, and seemed to call close plays as outs to keep things moving. Overall they were fairly consistent and reasonable for all of our games. There is a central practice area with 20 something batting cages and a lot of open fields. The cages are first come-first serve, so you want to get there at least an hour before your game start time. The practice areas are pretty chaotic prior to games, and you’ll need to keep an eye on your kids to make sure they don’t hit somebody with a ball or take a stray ball to the head. You’ll need to be at the field 30 minutes before gametime - they generally start early as long as both teams are there and they have both umps. The only warm up allowed on the field is long toss in the outfield. They don’t even let you warm up your pitcher on the field or practice defense. Your pitcher and catcher can warm up outside the field, although it is not ideal because there is no bullpen (and the area is crowded with parents and fans). Prior to each game, you will exchange lineup cards with the other team and the umpires. If you are home team, you’ll be responsible for a score sheet, which you turn in at the end to the baseball operations personnel (they will come to get it from you). The home team is also responsible for keeping score on the electronic scoreboard. It is pretty straightforward and you can just grab one of the parents to take care of it. Families and fans are supposed to return all of the stray balls to baseball operations. They try to encourage them to do that by offering a pin for every five balls they collect. But many people kept them as souvenirs (particularly if it is a homerun ball, which they will monogram and personalize for your kid for a charge). One thing that is really nice is that they have a separate parent seating area along each foul line. It is safe, provides a pretty good view to the game, and it is far enough away from the game that crazy/emotional parents are sequestered from the team. All games are six innings, with no time limits and no limits on numbers of pitches per player. Most teams have all kids (11-12) batting in the lineup. You are not a good coach if you do otherwise (imagine having your kid and his family make this trip and paying all this money to sit on the bench). However, your first nine hitters all need to start defensively in the first inning (after that, you can shift people around as you wish). If you pull out the pitcher to the bench, or pull out a runner for a pinch runner, there was some rule that they could not return to the game defensively, but this was not a major issue for our games. Attitudes are good from the coaches, Cooperstown staff, and other teams. Everybody there is serious about baseball, but we did not run into anybody who was overly intense or inappropriate. The caliber of play was very high. We are a B-level but successful and experienced travel team, and we were frankly pretty overwhelmed. As an example, we have a stand-out lefty picture who throws in the 60s with an accurate offspeed pitch - the better teams at Cooperstown hit him almost at will. Most teams have at least one or two kids who are taller than me (and I am not short). If you intend to be competitive at CDP, you need to be an elite-caliber A team. We went 0 and 6 in pool play. Many teams clearly recruit and bring extra pitching talent. These teams are trying to win the tournament. If that is your goal, you should follow suit. Otherwise, just bring your team and be prepared to play some high-level baseball. After the first six games, they do do seeding in a way that you play somebody at or near your level for the first couple single-elimination rounds, so we at least left with one win. We also came close to a late comeback win in our second single-elimination game. After check in Friday night and Saturday morning, there are a bunch of painful orientation type activities. They are very inefficient, and their staff take a bunch of time looking at each form by hand at a bunch of different stations. They should have taken care of all of the viewing and confirming ahead of time electronically and online. But the place is a little bit behind the times in terms of technology. They have an infirmary for kids that need to take medications, and for any injuries or medical issues. There is a store right by the dining pavilion where you can buy replacement pants, socks, belts, etc., which is important because these things do get inevitably lost. There’s also a separate retail store where they sell a bunch of very nice proprietary gear. It is pricey but good quality and reasonable stuff. Kids will spend a lot of Friday and Saturday trading pins with each other. You will want to bring at least 100 pins for each kid. You will run into some creative and amazing pins, and the kids (and some siblings and parents) get really into the trading. The barbecue on Saturday afternoon is recommended - good food. Go early because they run out of food. The skills competitions on Saturday evening are a little bit ridiculous because each hitter only gets five swings, each centerfielder only gets three throws, and you only get one shot at around the horn. Nevertheless, they are well organized and pretty fun. The final for each event is in the little majors stadium, which is pretty impressive We practiced all the skills competitions ahead of time and our team did very well in around the horn particularly - the key for this skill is avoiding errors. The teams that did well were those that executed without missteps, not those who tried to hurry. The opening ceremony itself is super cheesy and painful/unnecessary, but well organized, and not as bad as the reviews I read. Meals are fine - think high school cafeteria food. It is perfectly adequate, and there are lots of concession stands if you want to eat something else. They have rules that you cannot bring any food or drink into the barracks area, but they don’t enforce this at all, as long as you are discreet. So we had lots of snacks and drinks in the barracks. You always have the option of buying pizzas for the team at the concession stand. Other than for check-in, they will not allow parents into the player village area (barracks, dining area, and warm-up area). You will need a minimum of 3 to 4 people to effectively manage the kids. You need to have all your coaches set up and vetted well in advance. Having enough coaches in the barracks is mission-critical. You can easily get overwhelmed with the need to keep track of all the kids, make sure they get where they need to on time, keep track of getting the laundry done (which is very efficient and relatively easy), make sure you get water and gear to warm-ups and to the games, make sure your kids are in the right uniforms, etc., etc. We only had two coaches in the barracks, and we were completely overwhelmed. Some teams seemed to rotate adults in, which worked well. If you have four people signed up as coaches, you can have at least two living in the barracks at any time. That allows the coaches to rotate out to get a hot shower and some decent sleep and food. Kids can also be signed out overnight by a coach and a parent so they can catch up on rest enjoy a cool hotel room and good meal before coming back (plus one less kid for the coaches to worry about). They have a rule that all kids must be within sight of a coach at all times. This is not realistic, as the kids will want to run around to trade pins, get concessions, play at the arcade, play whiffle ball, etc. Fortunately, this rule is not particularly enforced. We had a strict buddy system where every kid had to have a teammate with them at all times, including going to the restroom. This worked fairly well. When you are home team, you will be in the red jersey with the red belt and red socks. All uniforms are Cooperstown uniforms only - you will not need your team uniforms. For away games, you wear blue jersey, blue belt and the socks. You always wear the blue hats. For unclear reasons, they also issue everybody red hats, but they threaten everybody that if anyone wears it the team will be suspended - so it is not clear why they were issued at the beginning. You will alternate home and away games They also provide performance undershirts and warm-up jackets for each kid. The gear is all pretty nice, and the kids get to keep it all at the end. Coaches are issued red and blue polo shirts for home and away games respectively, and can wear any kind of shorts or pants, other than jeans. No cleats necessary for coaches They are pretty strict - when the kids are walking around in uniform, they need to be in complete uniform (with hat on and shirt tucked). When they are not headed to/from a game however, they can wear anything they want within reason. If you like to exercise or run, there are very limited options. You’re not allowed to walk off the campus to go for a run. It is drive off only. Best bet is to drive into town and park in Cooperstown. There are plenty of sidewalks and places to run there. You will play two games each on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. You will be randomly assigned to opponents, although they seem to have pools of six, so you will overlap in terms of games with a group of teams. Seeded play will begin on Wednesday morning, with the top 20 or 30 teams getting byes for the first one or two games. If you are in a lower seed, you have to win five games consecutively on Wednesday to make it into Thursday. The first game start at 8:30, then games run every couple hours throughout the day. They generally leave you a gap in between games for meals, and everything is pretty well organized, with all the fields well marked. You will want to get to the batting cages and practice areas an hour and a half before your first game, working on hitting and defensive warm-ups, before you head to your game 30 minutes before your first pitch. You need to use your pitchers strategically, given that you will be playing seven plus games over the course of four days. They do have a mercy rule, which is 12 runs any time (bottom half) after the fourth inning. Every player on your team must be able to pitch and must have mound experience. You need a pitching strategy for each game, but will need to remain flexible based on your score and the competition/situation. You have to budget your arms. By the end of the week, our three best pitchers all had sore arms, and we were very limited. I would recommend you have each kid throw at least 25 or 30 pitches a day every day for the couple weeks leading up to the tournament so they’re conditioned to throw alot of pictches. Most umps gave one balk warning to each pitcher, except in the playoffs You should make sure to ice your pitchers’ arms at night as well. They have ice available for purchase in the player village area. The Barracks are pretty bad, but not if you have clear expectations up front - think summer camp; bunkbeds with crowded, hot, and sweaty conditions. Community bathrooms with nasty community showers (kids wear swim trunks). I would avoid going to Cooperstown in July or August if all possible because there is no air conditioning and the living areas are very miserable. Things that are a must to bring (in addition to the items on the pack list that they give you) include at least two wagons to tote your gear around the large campus, multiple window fans for the Barracks, lots of water and Gatorade, lots of snacks, lots of sunscreen and foot powder. The days go surprisingly fast between four hours of baseball, a couple hours spent for warm ups and practice, and getting around to meals and games. There’s not as much downtime as you might think. The kids did spend a fair bit of time at the arcade, so make sure you bring cash for this. They also enjoyed going to the concession stands (which also requires cash). We brought a football, and wiffle ball sets. Other than that, there are plenty of available activities onsite. There is no Wi-Fi in the barracks, but there is Wi-Fi in the dining pavilion. In addition, cellular signal is good everywhere, so everybody had pretty good connectivity. For the actual on-field baseball experience (fields, umpires, game organization, fairness, quality of play), this tournament can’t be beat. However for living conditions, food, and administrative issues, I would give it a B- or C+. Even though we started the tournament at 0-6 the kids had a blast the entire time. In the end, it is obviously all about them. This is definitely worth doing one time for your kids, but you need to be mentally prepared for some frustration and discomfort, and you must ensure that you have at least three or four adults staying with the kids to help keep organized and keep track of the kids and everything else. Closing ceremonies are not until ridiculously late on Thursday night, and are optional. Most teams do not attend. Once you are eliminated from seed play, you can check out, get your certificate, and get the kids’ rings (which are pieces of junk, but seemed to be a big deal to certain kids and parents). We organized a team banquet Thursday at a nearby put-put and laser tag place, as a chance to spend some time with all the families together before heading home.…
Date of experience: July 2019
4 Helpful votes
Chris wrote a review Oct 2019
Indiana2 contributions1 helpful vote
Apparently they never received our registration and the boys are dying to go. Any help would be appreciated. Indiana Scorpions. Thank you.
Date of experience: October 2019