On Sunday, Waipi'o, HI defeated Matamoros, Mexico in the 2008 Little League World Series to win the state's 2nd LLWS in the past 4 years. I only got to watch a couple of games this year, but as always, it was great entertainment. It's really fun to watch kids just play for the love of the game, and I'm always amazed by 12 year old kids who can already throw an off-the-table curveball and a 72 MPH heater; I think my high in the pitch-speed game is somewhere in the low 50s. When you first start watching the games and you see the 60-foot bases, the 200-foot fence, and the metal bats, you naturally think that each game is going to be an 18-16 slugfest, but this is far from the truth. These kids represent the 16 best teams in the entire world, and all of them are a lot better at defense and pitching than I ever was, even in high school. And to think that the smallest percentage of these kids, maybe 1-2%, will ever even get drafted someday, tells you how hard these kids have worked and must continue to work to make it as a baseball star, and how hard it is to not get arm problems playing ball as much as these kids do, particularly the pitchers.
The Little League World Series has been held every August since 1947 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. It is currently held on two fields: Howard J. Lamade Stadium, which has hosted games since 1957, and Little League Volunteer Stadium, which was opened in 2001 to accomdate the expansion to 16 teams. Prior to 1959, the games were held at Original Little League. Each year, 8 teams from the International division (representing Canada, Mexico, Carribean, Latin America, Japan, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and Middle East-Africa) and 8 teams from the US (representing New England, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Great Lakes, Southeast, Southwest, Northwest, and West) compete in pool play. These 8 teams from each division are selected through a series of qualifying tournaments. Teams from 13 states and 7 countries have won the Little League World Series, and thousands of current and former major leaguers got their start here, at one of the only events in the world where children under 13 are at center stage. Erik and I have already tentatively decided on most of our Tour-Plus trips through 2015, but the LLWS will definitely be something that we attend someday, and we look forward to it - particularly the free admission, and tying one on in small-town Pennsylvania.
Also this weekend, I attended ballgame #44 of the year at Fox Cities Stadium. It was considerably warmer than the last time I was there in April, but the team had not gotten any better and lost 4-0. The Rattlers only managed 3 hits in the game and the post-game fireworks were weak, but I got to hang out with a couple of friends that live near Appleton and it was a beautiful Saturday for baseball. Lastly, on a bitter-sweet note, the United States won the bronze medal in what was the last time baseball is featured in the Olympic Games. The IOC will work on reinstating baseball for 2016.
STANDINGS AND UPCOMING SERIES AS OF 08.25:
Brewers 76-55, -4.5 (2 @ Cardinals, 3 @ Pirates)
Reds 57-74, -23.5 (3 @ Astros, 3 v. Giants)
Twins 74-56, -0.5 (3 @ Mariners, 4 @ Athletics)
RACE FOR 2008 "MOST GAMES ATTENDED" TITLE:
Erik - 22
Peter - 44