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Another baseball tradition bites the dust

Somehow I missed this news: in January Major League Baseball announced that this year's Hall of Fame Game would be the last. The annual exhibition was held each year at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown. The first one was held in 1940.

Of course, the tradition started fading years ago. The game used to be played either on the day of, or the day after, the annual induction ceremony up until a few years ago, when it was moved to mid-June. In announcing that move back in 2002, as well as the January announcement of the end of the annual game, MLB cited scheduling difficulties. I'm sure much of that difficulty had to do with the number, and timing, of days off required by the players' labor agreement. The AP, in its report on today's scheduled game, says that the players' union negotiated the elimination of the game in the most recent deal, though that wasn't cited in January.

Another blow came from the addition of interleague play. A game between a National League and American League team, even one that didn't count in the standings, used to be something special. Only once, in 1986, did a game feature two teams from the same league, but when interleague play arrived in 1997, the Hall of Fame game became a mostly intraleague game. Eight of the last twelve matchups, including today's scheduled Padres-Cubs game, were between teams in the same league.

In the end, the Hall of Fame tradition went out with a whimper. Today's game was canceled due to afternoon showers and thunderstorms and the threat of more storms later in the day. -- Joe Guckin