Thinking of attending the Cooperstown All Star Village and want to know what to expect?
You’ve come to the right place!
One of our readers spent a week at the tournament and put together the most important Copperstown All-Star Village tips. These are 8 essential ‘need to knows’ before you go.
Cooperstown All Star Village Guide
The magical age of 12 presents the golden opportunity for travel baseball teams around the country to come together, play ball, and experience the magic of Cooperstown.
This once in a lifetime experience takes a lot of preparation and planning for teams. Those who want to go should begin preparation 12 months prior.
If this is on your teams’ bucket list of travel tournaments, you’ll find 8 essential tips below to make your trip an unforgettable experience.
Consider this our Cooperstown Guide for the players, coaches and families.
Tip #1: Preparation and Planning
The key to making this a seamless operation is to book and plan your Cooperstown trip well in advance, roughly one year to nine months out.
When planning your team’s budget, estimate approximately $1100-$1200 per player. This will include the cost of Cooperstown All-Star Village, plus the cost of team trading pins and custom towels or pin bags.
The tournament runs from early June to mid/late August. Each session is a week. Space is very limited. Securing a spot, without exaggeration, requires registration 9+ months out. Cooperstown All Star village takes requests more than a year away.
- Providing an Umpire saves your team about $1,000. That is, convincing one of your local umps to attend with you.
- Travel budget is NOT included in the $1100+ estimate.
- The week you attend is assigned by the all-star village after you register—you choose 3 slots, in order of preference, and they let you know.
- Cooperstown All Star Village uses USSSA (Big Barrel) Bat rules. (See Big Barrel Reviews, See the Best Big Barrel Bats)
- If you want to attend then registration needs to occur no later than October, or so, of the previous year. Preferably sooner.
Tip #2: Lodging/Travel
Coordinate a team hotel for families (some provide a USSSA discount rate) or determine if families would like to share the cost of renting a home. (Players, coaches and umpires stay at the All Star Village in bunkhouses).
Be sure your lodging is located near the All-Star Village, located in Oneonta, NY, and not more than 30 minutes away. This is important as game schedules can change quickly due to weather.
Most teams arrive Friday and check-in begins Saturday morning.
Depending on your location, your team may choose to drive or fly. If driving, use your favorite travel app for specific directions. If flying, the nearest airports are Albany or Syracuse, both about an hour and a half away. A car rental will be necessary.
Tip #3: Pin Trading
This is a HUGE hit with the kids!
Three months prior to the trip, use multiple pin design websites to get pin quotes. These sites will design your custom pins free of charge and allow you to choose the best option for your team. Some custom upgrades include glitter, spinners and danglers and make your team’s pin a hot trading commodity!
You can also customize your pins with your team logo, player names or numbers and the state your team resides in.
Plan to select and order your team pins two months in advance as they are typically outsourced overseas and you want to be sure to get them in time.
Our team also ordered the Cooperstown All-Star Village pin towels online and had them embroidered with the players’ name and number. This is a great way to display their collected pins.
Tip #4: Goodie Bags and Gear
Prior to leaving for Cooperstown, our team created player and coach goodie bags for the trip.
We also made homemade Fatheads of each player for the opening ceremonies and to display during games.
The player goodie bags included their
- Embroidered towel for pin trading
- Big League Chew
- Custom deck of playing cards
- Team photo
- Cracker Jacks
- Baby Ruth candy bar
- Water bottle spritzer for hot days.
Your child will need to be sure to bring ALL their baseball equipment, including two pairs of white baseball pants and a belt. Triple check before departure!
Uniform jerseys, socks, hat and pullover are distributed at check-in and need to be labeled for washing purposes!
There is a Dicks Sporting Goods and Walmart nearby in case you forget anything.
Tip #5: Destination All-Star Village
Expect mass chaos at check-in!
The parking lot is a mad house and teams are all unloading and moving in at the same time. Add pin trading to the mix and it can be a bit chaotic!
Plan for your Saturday to be a LONG day, and plan accordingly! It begins with moving the team into the bunk house and setting up beds and a laundry system. Labeling the players uniforms is essential. Use a fine tip black Sharpie marker (this was included in our coach’s goodie bag).
Following the team move-in, there is a BBQ (players and coaches eat free) and family members can join for $14 per person.
As soon as the BBQ is finished, the opening ceremonies begin. This event takes about one and a half hours, from 5:00-6:30, and is immediately followed by individual and team skills competition. This is about two hours long and wraps up about 8:30ish.
We ordered the team pizzas to be delivered to their bunkhouse by 9:00 and the parents said their goodbyes.
Try hitching a ride on the complementary golf cart shuttles…the hills are killer!!
Tip #6: Game Time
The first six games are played over the first three days, two on each day. On Tuesday evening, the playoff brackets get posted and single elimination games begin on Wednesday morning, based on team seeding.
Each team is guaranteed seven games total, and may include more if teams make it past their elimination game in bracket play. Games can be played as early at 7:00 a.m. and go into the wee hours of the night if there is any rain.
Expect schedule changes at any time!
Tip #7: Downtown Cooperstown
Once your team has their game schedule, organize a team outing to the Hall of Fame Museum. This is a cool experience for the players, and if possible, arrange for a museum docent to provide a tour to give the inside scoop on the museums highlights.
The downtown area is about 35 minutes from All-Star Village and has a ton of cool baseball-themed stores and places to eat. Give yourself a decent amount of time to tour the quaint downtown area.
Tip #8: Closing Ceremonies/Checkout
We recommend checking your player out no later than Thursday afternoon, prior to the closing ceremonies. The parking lot and player village can get a little hectic during this time.
The closing ceremonies begin around 4:00 p.m. and can take a while as each team and individual player is announced on the field. The players take photos and receive their Cooperstown commemorative ring.
Once the team is done on the field, they are able to leave or stay for the championship game and fireworks display. This was a great way to end a magical week of baseball!