My Experience at the Little League World Series
Living in Williamsport this summer has its privileges. Although I am unable to watch Yankees games on a regular basis due to blackout restrictions, I live within ten minutes of the Little League World Series complex. The tournament got underway on Thursday, but Wednesday really kicked things off with the Grand Slam Parade through downtown Williamsport. Thousands of people lined the streets to watch local marching bands and various floats and performances go by. But, of course, the main attraction was the trailers carrying the players from each competing little league team. As the teams rode by, the players threw pieces of candy to the crowd and many in the crowd threw small objects to the players for them to sign on their way by. The interaction was truly unique, and it was a great way to welcome the little leaguers to town. Randy Johnson was even in attendance and rode by on a vintage convertible, waving to the crowd. On Thursday, I made my way down to the complex for Day 1 of the tournament. Once again, Randy Johnson was in attendance, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch ahead of a convincing 11-0 Curacao win over Australia to open up international play. But afternoon thunderstorms postponed the rest of the day’s action, setting up a seven game slate on Friday.
My photo of Volunteer Stadium on Day 1 of the 2019 Little League World Series
With a full schedule of USA and international competition, I was able to catch four games on Day 2. The first, Venezuela and South Korea, pinned two powerhouse baseball nations against one another. The fans from South Korea were very vocal and seemed to be taking to American hot dogs quite well. South Korea took the game, and it was on to an interesting matchup between Japan and. Italy. In my observation, the Japanese team was very fundamentally sound on defense and took advantage of a starting pitcher who lacked velocity and left balls right over the plate. The final score of 20-0 was like something out of a Yankees-Orioles matchup . The perennial favorites, Japan has quickly emerged yet again as the team to beat in the 2019 World Series. The third game I watched was a battle for North America, as Canada and Mexico squared off. Canada starting pitcher, Matt Shanley, gave his team a chance to win by turning in 3 2/3 innings, allowing just one run with seven strikeouts. But, after throwing the ball around the infield in the 5th inning, the team from north of the border would fall to Mexico by a score of 5-0.
My photo of Howard J. Lamade Stadium on Day 2 of the 2019 Little League World Series
The night cap took place at the famed Howard J. Lamade Stadium, featuring a matchup between the team from Elizabeth, New Jersey and the Northwest. My view, as pictured above, was from the hill beyond center field— a great place to watch a ballgame as the sun sets on a Friday night. The local team won by a score of 6-2, setting up a date with the defending champions from Hawaii (West Region). After just one full day of action, I have already gained an immense appreciation for this tournament and its tradition that cannot be grasped on television. To see the passion for this sport that spans to every corner of the world is something truly special. The fans, players, and families have immense respect for the rules and competition, making for a pure game of baseball. The local baseball fans from Williamsport come back year after year, and now I can see why. Admission is free and the product you see on the field is really a treat. I would put this experience right up there with Cooperstown as a must-do for any baseball fan.