The place to be
South Williamsport, home of the Little League Baseball World Series, sings the song of all that is good

By Mark Rogoff

South Williamsport is a special place. It’s a place for fans of baseball, for fans of sport, for fans of children and for fans of never-ending heartwarming fun.

The Little League Baseball World Series descends upon this small Pennsylvania town that hugs the Susquehanna River in the north-central part of the state.

This is the special place where these fans come to enjoy the final few days of summer.

This is the special place where these fans come to watch baseball in its purest form.

This is the special place where these fans come to cheer on young lads who are basking in the glory of their final games in their Little League career.

This is South Williamsport. You have to be here to get it, to understand all that it is.

While ABC and ESPN paint a Norman Rockwell-esque picture of these games, they do it no justice. Nothing can do it justice. Nothing but human sight can do the trick. You have to see the magic of the Little League World Series with your very own eyes.

The pageantry of the Series should be witnessed whether you’re young or old, male or female, tall or short, or whether you’re American, Hispanic, Russian, Canadian, or Asian. Baseball brings us together. Little League Baseball brings us together, and the following sights and sounds of the World Series explain why:
  • There’s that feeling of total satisfaction and a grin on your face after walking up to a concessionaire and saying, “One hotdog, please,” and you get the response of, “That will be one dollar and 25 cents.”
  • There’s another can’t-help-but smile on your mug when Dugout engages in his pre-game dance routines with the players. As Jock Jams blare on the public address system, the kids try to keep up with the Little League mascot, whose worm and belly jiggling usually gets fans to dance as well.
  • Smash Mouth’s “All Star” is the unofficial anthem because for the players, after all, “Hey now, you’re an all-star. Get your game on, go play.” And for you fans “you’ll never know if you don’t go. You’ll never shine if you don’t glow.” There’s just something about this song ringing between the grandstands and hills at Lamade Stadium.
  • The Y.M.C.A. is a close second, but that song is too well known to be the official anthem of this unique event. You could probably coin it the official anthem of weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs and birthday parties anyway. Nonetheless, still a treat at the LLWS.
  • The little guys are the most fun to root for. Four-foot-seven, 75-pound Rayshelon Carolina of Curacao plays bigger than his size. Prior to the World Series final, he was 5-for-9 (.555) with an RBI and three runs scored. Hawaii’s Layson Aliviado, who stands in at four-foot-six and weighs 80 pounds, was just 1-for-14 (.071) entering the finale, but is perhaps the best defensive first baseman at this tournament. Then there is Vista’s Josh Gomez, who at five feet even with a weight of 89 pounds, was 3-for-7 (.429) before Sunday’s consolation game and could be the best defensive catcher here.
  • A game between a pair of already-eliminated 0-2 teams is just as exciting and as the U.S. title game. A true Little League game occurs when the outcome is meaningless. Roughly 10,300 showed up for the Newtown-Davenport match Monday night. That’s just 2,550 less than the next night, when two undefeated teams in Vista and Lafayette went at it.
  • There are teams that are here to win and win only. There are teams that are here for the experience, and winning is just icing on the cake. You get the sense of which is which by roaming the complex and watching closely the actions of players and coaches. Whether it’s mannerisms after a failed bunt attempt or throwing error, or the spoken word following these same plays, you just know. Neutral fans tend to side with the underdogs, the teams that are here for the experience.
  • The art of lawn seating at a baseball game has been perfected. There are lawn chairs with short back legs to compensate the slope of the hill, giving the fan an even seat.
  • Harold Reynolds is bigger here than chocolate is in Hershey. Hoards of adult and child autograph seekers wait for him after every telecast he does. Harold poses for every photograph request that’s asked of him. What a guy.
  • Pins is the only currency that matters. Pins are traded from Day One to Day 10. If you’re not in the pin trading circle, you’re square.
  • Those who dare to dream are watching those who are living the dream. Playing in the Little League World Series is something so special that hundreds of thousands of fans attend these games each year.

You should, too.

2005, Little League Baseball Incorporated
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