Billy Canavan of Las Vegas, Nevada, has been to over a dozen Baseball Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies in Cooperstown, N.Y., making him the perfect tour host for this year’s Induction Plus trip offered by Sports Travel and Tours. The trip, which is scheduled from July 22-28, will feature three games at three different ballparks and, of course, admission to the Hall of Fame Induction ceremony.
The Hall of Fame-related festivities will commence starting on Saturday. The agenda features an awards presentation at Doubleday Field, followed by the “Parade of Legends.” Billy, who has seen his fair share of these parades, remarks on how great the experience can be.
“It’s unbelievable to watch all the Hall of Famers riding around down Main Street in these open-ended cars or pick-up trucks,” Billy says. “They sit in the back, and you’re 15 feet away from these guys. You’ll even get a chance to throw them a ball when the traffic stops, and they’ll sign it and throw it back.”
Sometimes, he says, travelers go on Hall of Fame weekend trips just to catch a glimpse of their favorite player.
“On one trip, a family came just to see Gaylord Perry of the San Francisco Giants,” he says. “That special moment made their entire trip.”
Billy has been a tour host for Sports Travel and Tours for 20 years now. He first met company president Jay Smith and the rest of the crew when he was 25. Because of his eagerness to work and his vast knowledge of sports, which he had gained by working for a hockey team, Billy was a great fit. Now, he says, he and the other Sports Travel and Tours employees have become like family.
This year, Billy is hosting the East Coast Classic, which will also feature admission to the Hall of Fame Induction ceremony. He is thrilled to see how this particular trip has grown and improved.
Both trips feature two New York games so fans can see both the Yankees and the Mets, the induction ceremony and a stop in Boston to watch a Red Sox game. The East Coast Classic, however, also includes stops in Washington D.C. and Philadelphia for two additional games: the Washington Nationals vs. the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies vs. the Tampa Bay Rays.
“It’s a little bit of everything for everyone,” Billy says. “And then, Sports Travel and Tours took what was already a really great trip and they added little touches, so even if you’re not a die-hard baseball fan, you still get to enjoy a trip reception and tours of the stadiums.”
Billy thinks back to his most memorable trip to see the Hall of Fame Induction ceremony, which he says was four years ago. Roberto Alomar, a second baseman for the San Diego Padres and a native of Puerto Rico, was being inducted. Many of the travelers that Billy was hosting had flown in from Puerto Rico and they were all wearing matching shirts and carrying Puerto Rican flags.
Upon their arrival to the Hall of Fame, Billy remarks that all of the travelers grew very quiet. Billy could see just what a big and emotional moment this was for them. They walked inside, carrying their flags, singing and playing instruments. Alomar understood the significance of the moment and waved to all the travelers from his spot on stage.
“We made this connection with Alomar,” Billy says. “For all of those people to come from Puerto Rico to support him was just amazing.”