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The Boston Globe

At the Parade of Legends, baseball is alive and well

By Stan Grossfeld | Globe Staff

Cooperstown, N.Y. — Pedro Martinez was loosey goosey, dancing in the back of a pickup truck as he rode down Main Street in the Parade of Legends on Saturday.

Inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame a year ago, now the stress was off. The only thing on his mind was having fun.

“I’m going to enjoy my time now that I don’t have so much pressure. I’m going to enjoy everything that I do . . . I’m extremely happy and relaxed this time,”
says Martinez.
Globe Staff Photo by Stan Grossfeld

Anyone who thinks baseball is dying has never been to this short parade of aging heroes and their sun-drenched fans. It’s as close to a Norman Rockwell painting as you will see in the 21st century.

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It’s full of joy.

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Johnny Bench jumped up and down, like a little kid. Wade Boggs teased fans on each side of the street before choosing the most adoring fans to go to and sign autographs. Dave Winfield threw himself into the throng outside the National Baseball Hall of Fame. George Brett darn near ran at pine tar incident speed to greet some fans wearing Kansas City Royals fans.

Globe Staff Photo by Stan Grossfeld

New inductee Mike Piazza almost got tackled by his young daughter.

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Ken Griffey Jr. rode proudly with his son Trey, the Arizona wide receiver, who looks like “The Kid” in his rookie year.

Players and fans here
unanimously scoff
about the annual stories proclaiming the impending death of baseball.

That’s never going to happen, says Martinez, after putting his arms around statues of Babe Ruth and Ted Williams, inside the Hall.

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“I don’t see it, I don’t know what game they are watching,”
says Pedro.
“It doesn’t matter how good the player is. Players can come and go but baseball continues. Whoever says that is completely out of earth.”
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