Anthony Pettingill and Shirley Vallieres, both of North Adams, check out a big piece of baseball history on Tuesday afternoon.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The players on this year's North Adams SteepleCats are too young to really remember the frustration that preceded the Boston Red Sox' 2004 World Series Championship.
But that did not stop them from being a little awestruck in the presence of history.
On Tuesday, the team stopped by the "One Country, One Game: A Celebration of Baseball" exhibit on Main Street to see the 2004 World Series trophy, which was on loan by the team for the day. Originally, the team had announced it would be sending the '07 trophy but made a late change of plans, allowing local fans to see the trophy Boston got for breaking a historic 86-year "curse."
From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. visitors were welcome to stop by the exhibit, free of charge, to check out the "hardware" and pose for a selfie with the trophy.
The SteepleCats were among those taking advantage of the opportunity.
"It's pretty cool," third baseman and Hoosac Valley High School graduate Matt Koperniak said. "Not even just seeing that, but seeing the museum itself is great. It's kind of inspiring to see what's out there.
"And it's a great accomplishment by the Red Sox."
While Koperniak remembered seeing one of the Sox' World Series trophies in elementary school "back in the day," Tuesday marked his first visit to the first-year gallery at the corner of Main Street and American Legion Drive.
In addition to posing for their own pictures, the 'Cats prowled through the gallery, which celebrates not only Berkshire County's baseball legends but also the role that the Negro Leagues played in the fabric of the game.
"This is the first time I'm really looking at everything," Koperniak said. "I'm pretty excited about that.
"There's a lot of cool stuff in here, and they did a good job with it."
Koperniak has been doing a solid job for the SteepleCats this summer, hitting .358 with a team-high eight doubles and 20 RBIs in the wood bat league.
The rising junior at Trinity College said the NECBL has been a positive experience for him.
"It's been fun," he said. "It's been a good ride. Traveling every day or playing home, I'm just trying to stay within myself, play ball and have fun with the guys.
"The league itself is great. You get tons of opportunity, you get reps, and you get to see great pitching. ... You get guys from DI, you get DII guys from all around, so you see different arms, different arm slots. It's tough. But you've got to adapt to it.
"If you want to play at the next level, you've got to learn to hit it."
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