The Little League Network At The World Series

A daily journal of happenings in and around the 2005 Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA.

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Challenger Game

One of the most exciting games held at the World Series isn't between any of the US or International teams but the game played between two Challenger teams. This year there was even a new record set; the first home run ever hit by a Challenger player. If you could have seen the smile on the player's face you would have melted as I did.

This picture shows the player being met by his teammates after his home run which cleared the 205 foot fence in left field. What a great Little League moment!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

US Final Predictions???!!


It's game day. Who's gonna win.

"Voice" your opinion.

Feels like rain?

We're out at the stadium and it feels like rain. Could that have an impact on the games tonight?

Hopefully it clears out and we have a great day of baseball.

Friday, August 26, 2005

The Active Network Appreciation Reception

I want to thank all the district and league administrators who stopped by the Active Network Appreciation reception on Friday evening.

Friday was an "off" day, reserved for any rain delayed games that might happen during the series. Luckily all went well and weather was never an issue. We hosted the reception as a way to thank the many Little League volunteers who have supported the Active Network, the Little League Network, eteamz.com and our many sponsors. Everyone who attended received a tee-shirt and one lucky person won 2 tickets to any professional baseball game of their choice.

It was a relaxing night with a bunch of great Little League friends. It doesn't get much better than that!

ESPN Reception

Each year at the series ESPN hosts a reception for all of the Little League corporate sponsors. It's a way for everyone to relax after all the work the sponsors and ESPN put into helping make the World Series the success it is.

This year, I got to meet Harold Reynolds and he autographed a baseball that I brought for a District Administrator friend of mine. Harold is as friendly in person as he is on TV.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

We all put in a lot of effort to maintain our local Little League fields during the year but the people who work on the fields in Williamsport really shine!

After every game played on either Volunteer or Lamade stadiums the grounds crews take the field and do their magic. Using regular push brooms, they brush off all of the line chalk, rake out the base paths, repair the mound, and then re-line the fields for the next game. As you can see from this picture, it's 10:00 PM and an 8:00 game was just completed but they have to have the field ready for the first game of the next day.

The crews really do take pride in their work!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Fish Fry

For the past nine years two District Administrators have treated Little League friends that attend the World Series each year to a fantastic fish fry.

Ed (Big Daddy) Hotchkiss from Michigan District 7 and Butch Faber from Wisconsin District 6 make the trip each year to Williamsport to not only watch a few games but also to keep the fish fry tradition going.

According to Big Daddy they bring in about 100 pounds of perch and walleye, 100 ears of corn, 75 pounds of potatoes (cut up for fries), 25 pounds of tomatoes, 50 pounds of fresh fruit, and several deep fryers. They cook up enough fish, corn, fries and other fixings to feed over 150 people that attend each year. This was the first time I was able to attend and I can tell you, it was great! Thanks Big Daddy and Butch!

2005 Little League World Series Umpires

Each year thousands of volunteer umpires take to the field giving their time, experience and wisdom, receiving no pay and they are not reimbursed for travel expenses. Their abilities, demeanor and on-field mechanics are evaluated at virtually all levels of Little League play. At the regional tournaments, a select group is invited to officiate at the Little League Baseball World Series: the highest honor Little League can bestow upon an umpire. Appointment to the World Series Team is recognition that an umpire has reached the highest level of proficiency and now considered among the best in the world.

There are sixteen umpires at the World Series and they represent each of the Little League Regions. Click here to see who the individual umpires are. You can even send them an email message if you'd like. Click here and in the "Select A Team" drop down menu, select "Umpires". I'm sure they would love to hear from you.

One of the umpires, Bill Carter, from Placerville, CA is also the webmaster for the Western Region's web site (www.eteamz.com/llbwest) and has been keeping a daily journal of his own. If you have a chance, visit his site at www.eteamz.com/wsump5 and sign his guestbook!

Did You Know?

If you added up all the games played in six full seasons of Major League Baseball, it would still be less than the number of games played in the Little League Baseball International Tournament during the 40 days leading up to the Little League World Series!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Little League Volunteers

Just like in major league baseball park, as you enter either Lamade or Volunteer stadium there are ushers that greet you and give directions to your seating area. I usually enter Lamade Stadium every year at the same place, Section 1. When I arrive at Section 1, the same two ushers seem to be there no matter the time of day, or day of the week. So today, I decided to ask them why.

According to Joe Robinson and Chris Bird, they have been coming to the World Series as Ushers since 1999. Chris is a local from South Williamsport, PA but Joe is from Russell, KY and makes the drive here each year. What you need to know though is that both Joe and Chris are volunteers and accept no money for their time. They typically start their volunteer duties at 9 AM and don't leave the park until after the last game (sometime around 10 PM) and don't take a day off. Now that's real volunteer dedication. For the 2005 Series there are 75 Ushers working as volunteers and most, like Joe, even pay their own way and lodging to be here.

But Joe and Chris aren't alone. There are hundreds of volunteers doing all kinds if different jobs in and around Little League. From Ushers, to Grounds Crews, these volunteers do what they do for the love of Little League. So, the next time you see one of these great volunteers around the park, take a moment and say thank you! Did you know that there are only about 65 paid employees at Little League Headquarters? Can you imagine putting on an event like the World Series with just these 65 people? No way!! Without these very dedicated volunteers, the tournament would not be the class event it is. THANK YOU Joe and Chris and ALL the other Little League volunteers. You make Little League proud!

Pin Trading

I'm sure most Little League people trade pins at different tournaments, Little League meetings and at other events and you might even have your own personal pin that you give out. If you do, you would be in pin trading heaven here.

Pin trading at the World Series is an art form and it's not just for kids. There are even some people that bring suitcases full of pins they have collected over the years to see what else they can get. Though most pins are available for trading, it might take 5 or 6 of your pins to get 1 on theirs. Die hard pin traders have "sets" that can be many pins that make up the set. For example, each year we have a Little League Network pin made up to give away here. Now there are people that come up to get their pin just to add to the others they have collected from previous years. I also have some of the pins from those years and might give (or trade) a set of those for something I've been trying to find. Being an umpire though, I mainly try to collect umpire pins.

On the grounds next to our tent is the pin trading tent. Each day there can be hundreds of people (kids and adults alike) trading. At some of the hotels in town, there are even pin trading rooms setup that always attract the hard-core traders. If you're looking for something special, the pin trading rooms are the place to be!

Monday, August 22, 2005

How Many Baseballs Are Used In A World Series Game?

Answer: A lot! From what I'm told from the "baseball guy" who makes sure the home plate umpire for the game always has a supply handy, they will usually go through 8 to 12 baseballs per game. On days where the field might be wet from rain the number might reach 20.


Each of the baseballs have the World Series logo on them and it's a tradition that the home plate umpire keeps one of the game balls as a souvenir and has the rest of the umpire crew sign the ball. The ball becomes a very treasured item for sure!

The Little League Post Office

Have you ever seen a U.S. Post Office on wheels? There's one at the World Series and it's in the shape of a outdoor post box with red flag and all. It's a real Post Office that is brought in just for the World Series and you can buy stamps and special items such as Dugout post cards that are postmarked from Williamsport, PA.

According to the postman assigned to this portable office they mail out between 500 and 800 pieces of mail the first week of the series and over 1,000 pieces the Saturday before the championship game.

The Dugot post card is one on the most popular items sold at the Post Office and comes in different colors. Maybe someone will be sending you one. Keep an eye out at your mailbox!

Hawaii

There is an interesting discussion going over on the eteamz baseball board regarding the strong showing by Hawaii this year. You can check it out here.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Sunday, Day 2

We opened for business today with a crowd gathered outside our Internet tent lining up to get more information about the Little League Network. Of course, many were there to also register for our give-away and to pick up their collectable trading pin.

We opened around 4 PM and closed at 7 along with all of the other sponsors. During this very short first day opening, we have had 98 people register for our give-away.

As part of the registration for the give-away, I thought it would be fun to include a couple of questions. One is which team do you think will win the Little League World Series and the other has to do with the trading pin we're giving away.

Part of the design of the pin includes 16 stars which represent the 16 teams playing in the World Series. But, there are a total of 17 stars on the pin. So, the question asks what do you think the 17th star represents?

Both questions have had some interesting responses so far and I'm sure as the days go on the results will change but here are the leaders thus far:

Who do you think will win the World Series?
1st - West (Rancho Buena Vista Little LeagueVista, California)
2nd - Southeast (Maitland Little LeagueMaitland, Florida)
3rd - Northwest (West Oahu Little LeagueEwa Beach, Hawaii)

What do you think the 17th star represents?
1st - Little League Volunteers
2nd - Little League Baseball
3rd - The Challenger Program


There are many more answers to the 17th star question but these are the leaders. However, so far only 3 people have picked the correct answer and you'll have to wait until the end of the series to find out what the correct answer is.


Later this week I'll highlight a few Little League Network sites that administrators have stopped by to show me. It always amazes me how creative some people can be. And, if you have a site you'd like me to highlight, just send the the address.

Well that's it for tonight.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Greetings from the Little League World Series...


It's great to be back in Williamsport and it brings back some great memories as well. I was one of the umpires here in 2001 which was the year Little League opened Volunteer stadium and increased the number of teams from 8 to 16. President Bush attended the championship game and I was assigned 1st base and wore "ump cam" on my hat for ABC and all I could think about was "don't mess up"!

Holly and I also became engaged here in 2003 and I proposed with the help of Little League by having the proposal on the scoreboard at Lamade Stadium. She had no idea that I was going to propose and thought we were going to surprise some friends of ours with a special scoreboard announcement. Well, the surprise was on her! As I said, the World Series and Little League have given me some great memories.

Well, back to business. Each year we have our "Network Trailer" setup next to the sponsor tent and have Little League administrators stop by to setup web sites or maybe get a little help. Some want to see how the Data Center works or maybe take a look at how Online Registration can be usesd by their local league to register players.

This year in addition to the trailer, we have a tent setup with computers inside that will make it easier for more people to take a look at what the Little League Network is all about. We're also having a contest to give away five 17" LCD monitors and of course, we have our 2005 LLB Network World Series pin to give out too.

Well, it's getting late but I wanted to get this blog started. Here's to another great year at the LLB WS!