Home

 

Obituaries

 

Art & Leisure

 

Calendars

 

Puzzle Page

 

Coupons

Cover Story

Local

Sports

Outdoors

Classifieds

Contact Us

 

Scott on Sports

by Scott Lowery
Through Pirate Eyes
 

As we walked across the Clemente Bridge to take in a Labor Day Pirates game against the Chicago Cubs, I spotted a man in front of me wearing a lanyard stating ‘MLB-Little League Classic.’ While I didn’t stop the man to talk, I wondered what his impressions of that wonderful day might have been.
Once inside PNC Park the scoreboard treated the fans to a several minute segment that highlighted the visit of Little League World Series teams Venezuela, Italy and Japan’s to the Pirates game with the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 24. The video was filled with glowing comments from Pirates players and refreshing interaction shots of both Big Leaguers and Little Leaguers enjoying each other’s company.
Then, reading through the Pirates’ ‘First Pitch’ game program, I discovered a touching article reflecting the Pirates experiences with attending Williamsport for the August 20 MLB-Little League classic. While the author of the article was not mentioned, its contents spoke vividly about the teams visit to our community. With full credit extended to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Major League Baseball and the Pirates First Pitch game program, I’d like to share what the Pirates experienced as contained in that article.

“As the plane made its way to a stop on the runway, everything immediately seemed more intimate, more personal. As the folks at the small airport brought the stairs out to meet the large United charter to begin unloading procedures, two groups of Little Leaguers were getting out of vans on the tarmac to get in line to meet the plane’s occupants.
On this day — Sunday, August 20 — the Pittsburgh Pirates were about to officially begin a series of events that would leave everyone involved feeling a little more connected to the game of baseball. During a week when hundreds of youth baseball players from around the world descended on Williamsport, Pa. for the 2017 Little League World Series, Major League Baseball brought the big leagues to the small, but popular town.
When Manager Clint Hurdle, the first Pirate off the plane, got to the bottom of the stairs, he found the first Little Leaguer in line and exchanged hats with him. ‘Welcome back,’ a woman in the crowd yelled.
‘Thank you. I have been here before,’ Hurdle said, referring to his year managing the Williamsport Bills in 1991. And just like that, the day’s activities were underway.
Fist bumps and selfies were nonstop throughout the day as the Pirates visited with young ballplayers at the Little League International Complex. After the big-leaguers arrived, they split into groups and made their way through the crowds to cheer on the youngsters who were playing their games.
Felipe Rivero and Elias Diaz led a group to Volunteer Stadium where their home country — Team Venezuela — was playing. Andrew McCutchen headed up to Lamade Stadium to watch a game from the bleachers as well as from the famous outfield hill. Every step of the way there were big leaguers interacting with Little Leaguers. That created some very cool moments as the team sat with young players watching the games, taking pictures and signing autographs.
The Pirates visit to the complex lasted for about 90 minutes. It concluded with watching pre-game drills from the field and taking part in a pre-game ceremony before teams from Japan and South Korea squared off. The visit was short, but the impression it left on the Pirates was evident.
‘It’s cool to take a step back and realize there are kids all over the world playing this game, and we’re fortunate enough to play it as adults,’ first baseman Josh Bell told MLB.com. ‘It’s definitely an awesome experience.’
Later that night, the kids made their way over to Bowman Field, the home of the Williamsport Crosscutters of the New York-Penn League, to watch the Pirates take on the St. Louis Cardinals in MLB’s very first Little League Classic. The game, played in such a small venue, made for an incredible scene as kids stood and waited for Pirates players to make their way through the crowd to visit or stop along the walkways to sign autographs and hand out baseball and batting gloves.
One moment stood out and seemed to encapsulate what this day was about. As the game was in progress, Little Leaguers made their way to the top of the Pirates dugout to interact with the big-league team. Francisco Cervelli walked to the top of the steps where the kids were stationed and took it all in as he talked to the young ballplayers about game situations, specific plays and more.
The Pirates won the game 6-3 over the Cardinals behind Bell’s four-RBI performance, but the day will definitely remembered more for the way Major League Baseball was able to bring a kids’ game back to the kids.
‘It’s just growing the game. It’s the best place to do it, in Williamsport during the Little League World Series,’ McCutchen said. ‘It’s awesome that we’re able to come here and play this game.’ The day was an absolute success all around.
Pitcher Trevor Williams tweeted, ‘10/10 would do it again. Would recommend to a friend.’
Other posts came from players such as former Little League World Series participant Max Moroff, who shared, ‘Had a lot of fun today! Brought back some memories…hopefully more to come.’
And there was this from Josh Harrison, ‘I had a blast today. Definitely a day to remember in Williamsport!’
Hurdle summed the event up best for all involved when he said postgame, ‘One of the highlights of my career…I was happy to be a part of it, humbled to be a part of it.’”

As the MLB powers will ultimately decide if a 2018 MLB-Little League Classic will be played, the Pittsburgh Pirates appear to have already seconded the motion.

 
 
 
Click on a writer's photo below to read their articles.
 
 
Jim Webb, Jr.
From The Publisher
 
Steph Nordstrom
From The Editor
 
Fishing With
Mike O'Brien
 
Outdoors With
Ken Hunter
 
Scott on Sports
Scott Lowery
 
Sporting Matters
Jamie Spencer
 
The Jaded Eye
Gerry Ayers
 
Faith Conversations
Tim Hartzell
 
 
 
 
Home
 
Obituaries
 
Sports
 
Calendars
 
Puzzle Page
 
Coupons
 
Cover Story
Local News
Art & Leisure
Outdoors
Classifieds
Contact Us