Congratulations to my friends at Little League International. They somehow found a way to crown a 2021 World Series Champion. The new norms and COVID protocols were a major challenge. Everyone’s an expert, and I applaud my chums for providing another great experience. I am very proud to live in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
The crowds at Lamade and Volunteer looked quite different. COVID stinks, and we have to adjust. Fortunately, all of the games were on TV. My son is still obsessed with Little League. We tuned in and watched most, if not all of the action. Hats off to the talented youngsters who captured the hearts of millions. These 12-year-old ballers continue to amaze. It was good to see them again. Remember sports fans. We did not have a series in 2020.
The play and entertainment were again outstanding. The game itself might change, but the love for baseball and the memories from this week remain. There were so many special moments with this year’s World Series. Rather difficult to describe them all on this page. I personally love where youth baseball is headed.
I would also like to applaud the folks who flew to IPT for the BIG game at Historic Bowman. I am glad that someone is actually using our new airport. This was the fourth installment of the MLB Little League Classic, and this unique showcase continues to exceed all expectations. The interaction with the pros and youngsters is amazing.
I had my doubts back in 2017. There was definitely a buzz when our field underwent a major facelift. The City of Williamsport kicked in some cash, and MLB donated a large amount to help with the tab. Rumors quickly spread, and it was pure bedlam. Memorial Park turned into Area 51. How will they ever pull this off? I watched the first MLB Little League Classic from my kayak. It’s true. I have pictures and a retweet from ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian to prove it.
Jensen and I scored two tickets at the very last minute, and we were very fortunate to be in the stands for the 2018 Classic. A fan of this column must have read my column on Watching MLB from a Kayak. I still owe him. We were just three rows behind the New York Mets’ dugout with the Asian Pacific team. We didn’t understand a darn word they said, but we had a ball with our new Korean friends. The game itself was a lot of fun, and the Mets took down the Phillies 8-2. It was grand — an exceptional father-son experience. I still have lots of pictures.
So, I didn’t get the call for the 2019 MLB Classic. No worries. Been there, done that, kids. My media credentials were denied, and I struck out in the Disgruntled Residents of Lycoming County lottery. The same people from the area always seem to win. Come on, man. Jensen and his mates from Susquehanna M & G got the nod. MLB always invites some local teams to take in the game. In fact, the youngsters from the 17728 were one row from Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez, who came in late. She’s really pretty, Dad. I was so jealous. Jensen and his mates were everywhere, and I got to see my son getting autographs. My phone buzzed whenever there was a sighting on the big screen. My boy is a magnet for TV. He had a great time, and I am very thankful that he had this opportunity.
I had the chance to go to the 2021 Classic. I turned it down and scored some tickets for several of my young friends instead. Jensen was away and wanted to sell his. We had it on eBay, but it was then later flagged. The Hepburn Lycoming All-stars had a great summer run. Hanging out in the stands for this year’s big game was the perfect cap. They were very appreciative and scored some cool gear. One player brought home a broken bat, and many got some impressive autographs. Jensen watched it from Southern California. He laughed every time one of his buds made it on camera. Great stuff.
Special shout to my man Noah Kirby who they call Little Papi. Montoursville’s twelve-year-old phenom can smack a baseball. He is a quiet well-spoken lad. I have known Noah and his family for quite some time. I played against his father in several sports. Noah made us all proud by finishing FOURTH in the T MOBILE Little League Dinger Derby. Very impressive kid. Cheers.