|Even when the Little League World Series is weeks away, the welcome is always present.|
During the last two weeks of August each year, the eyes of the baseball world turn toward Williamsport, Pennsylvania for the summer’s second World Series—this one for kids. Unlike the season’s first World Series held in Omaha to crown the NCAA champion or the last one pitting the pennant winners from the American and National Leagues, the Little League World Series is truly for the World Championship. It features representative teams from Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America, as well as regional winners from the U.S. Indeed, Little League claims to be the world’s largest youth sports organization.
|Lamade Stadium rises above the other fields in the Little League complex.|
|Little League's values guide fans to the museum's entry.|
In contrast to the sound system failure during the pre-game ceremony, amplified recordings generated entertaining highlights throughout the game. When a downpour interrupted the sunny early evening in the bottom of the third inning, the guys on the grounds crew enjoyed hearing their own “walk on” music. While they sloshed through the puddles to extend the tarp over the left side of the diamond, they heard the familiar refrains of a Creedence Clearwater Revival hit blaring over the loudspeakers: “Have you ever seen the rain coming down….”
|Using old-fashioned half-diamond tarps, the grounds crews covers the left side of the infield with one. . .|
|then pulls a second one into place over third and short.|
After the passing shower delayed the game for almost an hour, an incredible sunset smothered the sky before the seventh-inning stretch on summer’s second longest day.
|Even the concessions got drenched.|
When another foul ball rolled into the bullpen, a Batavia reliever picked it up and tossed it toward a fan, but it hit the wall. He retrieved it and tossed again, this time with the fan dropping it. Finally, he picked it up and handed it to the fan before returning to his seat in the middle of bullpen bench.
Meanwhile in the grandstands, one of the vendors hawked peanuts by threatening to throw them to the fans. One joked with him, “If you hit me, I’ll sue.” “Won’t matter,” the young man replied keeping up his banter while also offering two for one sodas. “When you bought a ticket, you signed a waiver,” he grinned.
Before the rain erupted, Williamsport scored a run on a couple of doubles in the second inning. But in the third, an error led to the first run for Batavia and extended the inning for the Muckdogs to score another. Minutes later the offensive productivity of both teams drowned, and Batavia held on to win 2-1.
|The skies cleared in time for the sunset to glow and the Muckdogs to claim victory.|