The Little League World Series is the heart of American summertime, and it is the best baseball tournament of the year. It is the best chance for little kids to be the best kid on the field. A chance for their parents to be the biggest fans of their child. A chance to be a dad or a mom. A chance to feel the pure joy of a kid running out of a stadium and into the arms of the biggest person on the field for a hug.
The Little League World Series is an international competition between the best 8-year-olds in the world. This year, a total of over 28 million people will watch the games on television, and across the world the Little League World Series brings out the best in people. The games, which are played in August of each year at stadiums across the United States, are a time for us to celebrate and enjoy a pastime that we as a nation hold dear.
Even though the Little League World Series is not really a true baseball game, it is still a great example of what makes the game so awesome. Parents, coaches, and players have worked hard to make this event happen. However, the World Series is just not baseball. It’s actually a tournament, and the final game is all about the sportsmanship, camaraderie, and fun. That’s why the World Series is so great. The Little League World Series is all that is good about baseball.. Read more about little league world series bracket 2021 and let us know what you think.
MY FIRST VISIT to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, home of the Little League World Series, was in 2015, as part of a project that many colleagues said would be a career highlight, which it was, and so much more. One of the many great traditions at the LLWS is to slide down The Hill at Lamade Stadium on a piece of cardboard, which should not have been stressful but was since I am old and little — and afraid of heights to the point that I’m not even comfortable being as tall as I am (5-foot-4). Despite this, I was standing at the bottom of The Hill, holding a piece of cardboard in the form of a king-size bed.
“‘Don’t worry,’ said a kid carrying a cardboard surfboard. “I’ll teach you how to do it.”
I said, “How old are you?”
He said, “Four.”
And off he went, safely down The Hill, headfirst.
That’s how the Little League World Series works. It’s all about the kids; they’re the ones who rule; they’re the ones who show you the way, not the other way around. Last year’s LLWS was canceled due to the pandemic, which was arguably the greatest sporting loss ever, but it is finally back, triumphantly. Even with COVID limitations in place, nothing beats watching youngsters play baseball.
“It’s baseball in its purest form,” said Cubs manager David Ross, who covered the LLWS for ESPN for many years. “To watch the kids simply going out and wanting to win, not trying to be famous, to have no pressure from a contract, that’s what makes it so wonderful.” All of their friends will be able to watch them on television. It’s the last week of summer. They are permitted to remain in the dormitories. “Everything is very genuine there.”
Joe Maddon, the Angels’ manager, grew up in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, but had never visited Williamsport until 2019, when his Cubs club competed in the Little League Classic.
“He described it as “amazing.” “I had no idea what to anticipate. I got to the little town, which was appropriately situated on a mountain, and all I could say was, “Wow!” Magical.’ It really blew me away. I had no clue how big it was going to be. It is not necessary to be a child to appreciate it. It is well worth the journey if you have never visited. If you’ve gone to Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, you must visit Williamsport.”
In the LLC game against the Cubs in 2019, Padres pitcher Joe Musgrove pitched for the Pirates.
“In Williamsport, it’s all about the simplicity and enjoyment of the game,” he added. “It was fantastic to be with those youngsters and reflect on my own childhood.”
“It’s awe-inspiring… It is not necessary to be a child to appreciate it. It is well worth the journey if you have never visited. If you’ve gone to Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, you must visit Williamsport.” Joe Maddon is the manager of the Angels.
Todd Frazier was named to two All-Star teams, appeared in three playoff games, won the Home Run Derby at the 2015 All-Star Game, and just returned from the Olympics. But winning the LLWS with the Toms River, New Jersey, squad in 1998 remains one of his greatest sporting achievements.
“For a 10- or 12-year-old, Williamsport is a dream come true; it’s like playing in a major league stadium,” he added. “It’s the coolest spot in the planet. Nothing was more exciting than playing against youngsters who couldn’t communicate in English. It’s because of the cultural variances that it’s so wonderful. Friendships are formed there that last a lifetime.”
Tito Francona, the Indians’ manager, grew raised in western Pennsylvania.
“‘There was some haggling about my contract when I got to ESPN [as a commentator in 2012], and I said, ‘I want to do the Little League World Series,’ since I’d never gone,” he added. “It was one of the most uplifting weeks I’ve ever experienced. It embodied everything wonderful about baseball. They handled the children as though they were children…. It’s a cross between a county fair and a baseball game.”
At Lamade Stadium, are you sliding down The Hill? For 4-year-olds, it’s simple; for 64-year-old baseball writers who are scared of heights, it’s not so simple! Getty Images/Rob Carr
Beginning in the middle of August, WILLIAMSPORT is the happiest town in America for almost two weeks. The Grand Slam Parade takes place the night before the games begin, with children riding down the street with their teams alongside teams that have traveled hundreds of miles. They don’t all speak the same language, but they all know what a celebration and a parade are. The procession attracts the attention of the whole community. The community is involved in every facet of the Little League World Series, and it is this participation that allows everything to run smoothly.
This year will not be ideal. There will be no international teams; in fact, owing to the epidemic, several areas, like Japan, have not even played baseball this year. There will be 16 teams competing, all from the United States. The number of people who may enter the ballpark will be limited: Each team will be given 250 friends-and-family stadium passes each game, but they must leave after the game is finished to make room for the following game’s supporters. The idea had been to allow 3,000 general-audience spectators each game, but Little League executives decided against it on Friday, citing new CDC guidelines. On a busy night, Lamade can hold up to 25,000 people.
Still, nothing compares to Williamsport. The tickets are free, the concession food is delicious (especially the fried dough), the level of play is impressive, and the two main stadiums where games are played are completely covered in protective netting, ensuring that no one, especially Nana and Pop, will be hit by a line drive while watching the grandkids play. Almost everyone involved in the Little League World Series, including the umpires and grounds staff, is a volunteer. The fields are pristine; most of the children have never played on a field like this before, and some may never do so again. At Lamade Stadium and Volunteer Stadium, which are next to one other, games are played all day and night on some days. It’s a breathtakingly beautiful, joyful, and human sight when Lamade is filled for a night game, as it frequently is, with fans from all over the world sitting on blankets on The Hill, watching youngsters play baseball.
“This is likely to be the final time these youngsters play for the front of the shirt rather than the back.” Tim Corbin, the baseball coach of Vanderbilt,
One of the joys of baseball on all levels, but particularly at Williamsport, is that the youngsters come in all shapes and sizes. It is available to people of any nationality. There are little children, large children, noisy children, and timid children. There are two types of people: boys and females. Indeed, 12-year-old Mo’ne Davis, who threw for the Pennsylvania squad in 2014 and became the first female to throw a shutout in an LLWS game, was arguably the greatest story in the LLWS’ 74-year history. She became into a sensation. Networks and national publications sent their top talent to Williamsport to witness the girl who had beaten the odds. She was the most renowned baseball player in the planet for those incredible two weeks in 2014.
“Davis remarked five years later, “I liked it.” “”I still like it.”
Davis, who is now a communications student at Hampton University and plays second base for the softball team, was part of a group of three adolescents that aired an LLWS game in 2019. This year, she’ll be part of the broadcast crew for an LLWS game, as well as helping to call the Little League Classic game between the Angels and the Indians on ESPN2.
In 2019, I was a guest announcer for a half-inning of a Little League game. “How many guys here are taller than you?” said the play-by-play youngster as the opening inquiry.
The players in Williamsport live in dormitories, much like major leaguers on a road trip, with the exception that everyone has a roommate or several roommates. During a typical year, students from the Southeast of the United States may share a dorm with students from South Korea and Venezuela. When they’re not playing baseball, they can be found at The Grove, a community facility where they may swim, play pingpong, and play video games with children from all over the globe. Without authorization, no one is permitted to enter The Grove. It’s simply a place for children to be children.
They’re exchanging pins with fellow players and fans at The Grove and everywhere else in Williamsport. The pins are all unique and distinctive; some reflect the area from where they came, while others have nothing to do with the LLWS, but they are all important to everyone.
“”The pin trading is the most underappreciated aspect,” Frazier says. “I had a lot of fun exchanging with kids from other places. Everything about Williamsport appealed to me.”
The River Ridge, Louisiana, squad completed the last victory lap of the 2019 Little League World Series. After losing the 2020 event to COVID-19, seeing this year’s champions rejoice in Williamsport will be more exciting than ever. Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press
Terrence Gist of the Southeast squad blasted a 370-foot home run in the LLWS in 2015, a cannon ball that almost reached the scoreboard beyond the left-center-field fence. Terrance was 5-10 and 185 pounds at the time. “In the second grade,” he replied when I asked him when he was as little as me (5-4, 140).
Although not all of the players in Williamsport are capable of scoring, they are all remarkable for their bravery. Many kids drop out of baseball before they are 12, but these youngsters stand right on top of the plate, put their face in there, and don’t bail, even while facing a child twice their height throwing 75 mph. These young pitchers not only throw hard, but also curveballs and changeups. But they’re all on a pitch limit: no kid’s arm is going to be tortured simply to help his team win another game.
“When I was in the major leagues, he was a better hitter than I was.” Reece Roussel was 17-for-23 in guiding Louisiana to the 2019 LLWS championship, according to Cubs manager David Ross.
The youngsters, particularly the middle infielders, are very talented. The integrity of the infield that a team uses may reveal a lot about it on any level. No team takes infield better than the Japanese squad every year. The level of discipline, talent, and accuracy is incredible.
“They were simply on another plane,” Musgrove said.
Some of the youngsters can really smash, with Reece Roussel of the Southwest team being the most recent standout in 2019. He went 17-for-23 in the Little League World Series, guiding Louisiana to victory. With a chuckle, Ross added, “He’s a better hitter than I was when I was in the major leagues.”
Then there are athletes like Trey Thibeault (pronounced Tee-bow) of the 2014 Rhode Island squad, who personify everything the LLWS stands for. He had struggled in the tournament leading up to Williamsport, but he came off the bench in the LLWS and produced a string of huge hits, earning the nickname “Thibeault Time” from the squad.
“His coach, Dave Belisle, described him as “everything you’d want in the Little League World Series, the purest of pure.” “He demonstrated that dreams may come true.’
Cole Wagner, a 12-year-old from Pennsylvania, was the greatest batter I’ve seen at the Little League World Series in 2015. His father served as his coach. His uncle, his father’s twin, worked as a coach’s assistant. Both of them were professional baseball players. In his backyard, Cole had a batting cage. He claimed to be able to hit 360 days a year. I made the mistake of not asking, “What five days of the year do you miss?” Every day, Cole competed in BP against his father and uncle. It prepared him for both sides since one throws right-handed and the other left-handed. Cole claimed he practiced with both a wood and an aluminum bat every day to prepare for the pro game.
When I informed Cole’s father that I wanted to give his kid batting practice for a TV story, he promised me that I would not harm him or hit him with a pitch. “We’re not concerned about him being harmed,” Dad remarked. They were concerned that a line drive hit by a 12-year-old might kill me. “Make sure you go behind the screen,” Cole’s father instructed me three times, and he told Cole three times, “Pull everything, nothing up the center.” On the pull side of the cage, three pitches, three strikes, and three rockets into the netting. It was a short round of BP, but it was very amazing. No one was harmed in the process.
In Williamsport, it’s all about the kids, but it’s actually all about the team. Tim Corbin, the baseball coach of Vanderbilt, one of the finest collegiate baseball teams in the nation, came to the LLWS a few years ago. “This is truly the final time that these youngsters will play for the front of the jersey instead of the back of the jersey,” he remarked, as did everyone else. Indeed, following Williamsport, many of these youngsters will be more focused on obtaining a college scholarship or playing professional baseball than on winning a state title for their high school team, as the system requires. They’ll be playing travel ball, attending camps, and participating in showcase games that focus on individual talents rather than what you can do to help your team improve. It is for this reason why the Little League World Series is so significant.
The kids, as well as the instructors, are wonderful and surprisingly well-behaved. In direct discussions with the coaches, Steve Keener, president and CEO of Little League International, makes it clear that sportsmanship and a good atmosphere are the most essential aspects of the LLWS. Everyone is putting out their best effort. No one ever shouts at the umpire or the player.
“We warn them about the repercussions of their actions. And the majority of them pay attention “According to Keener.
Chris Archer, the then-Pirates pitcher, spent time with Little Leaguers in 2019 and faced some difficult questions from them. Getty Images/Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos
THE EXPERIENCE IN WILLIAMSPORT HAS ALWAYS BEEN AMAZING, but it got even better in 2017, when major league teams began playing a regular-season game — the Little League Classic — on Sunday nights at what is now known as Muncy Bank Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field, home of the newly formed MLB Draft League’s Williamsport Crosscutters. When the Cardinals and Pirates got off their buses and walked into Lamade Stadium and Volunteer Stadium the first year of the LLC, they were greeted by a sea of children, a heartwarming, unforgettable scene that was, in some ways, more rewarding and enriching for the MLB players than for the Little Leaguers, because most big leaguers never got to play in Williamsport when they were 12 years old.
“I’m the guy that gives up all the home runs,” says the pitcher. In 2019, then-Pirates pitcher Chris Archer laughed as he answered a question from a Little League World Series participant.
Little League youngsters were permitted to ride with big league players on team buses from the airport to the Williamsport facility in 2018. Rhys Hoskins, the first baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies, organized a dancing contest for the youngsters on his bus. “Hoskins described it as “hilarious.” Jake Arrieta, a pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, taught the youngsters how to grip various pitches on the bus and then spent another 45 minutes in the bleachers simply discussing baseball with them. Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs had the youngsters on his bus perform a cover of John Fogerty’s “Centerfield” in 2019. Rizzo, of course, rode down The Hill with the kids on a piece of cardboard, stating, “I couldn’t possibly come to Williamsport and not ride down The Hill.”
“Hey, aren’t you the guy that gives up all the home runs?” a youngster on the bus questioned when he recognized Pirates pitcher Chris Archer in 2019.
“Yes, I’m the guy that gives up all the home runs,” Archer replied, laughing.
The Venezuelan squad was on Musgrove’s bus from the airport.
“With them, I practiced my Spanish,” he said. “It reminded me of what it’s like in the major leagues, where there are so many different cultures. Later, I stood in the stands with maybe seven or eight youngsters and just discussed baseball. After that, we proceeded to the snack bar and ordered hot dogs, candies, and beverages.”
Did Musgrove make restitution?
“Yes,” he said, a smile on his face. “When they reach to the big leagues, they’ll be able to repay me.”
Blue Jays outfielder Randal Grichuk and Phillies infielder Scott Kingery, who stated, “I was so young and tiny back then, I believe I had one hit in Williamsport.” But it was entertaining.”
Keep track of the schedule, scores and highlights for every LLWS game as the competition returns for 2021. Little League World Series >>
Frazier was a key member of the Toms River squad that won the championship 23 years ago.
“The entire event was amazing,” Frazier remarked. “Getting out of New Jersey was the most difficult thing for us. After losing the first game, we needed to win four straight to move out of the state. We then traveled to Bristol, Connecticut, and finally to Williamsport, Pennsylvania. “And when we finally won it all…”
Frazier and his squad were honored guests at Yankee Stadium when they won the championship. They were each permitted to stand next to a different Yankees player on the field minutes before the game started. Frazier had the opportunity to stand next to Derek Jeter, the shortstop for the New York Yankees.
“Frazier remarked, “Derek’s final All-Star Game was my first All-Star Game.” “I’m not sure he realized how much it meant to me. “It [the LLWS] was the catalyst for my athletic career.”
So, how would Frazier recommend Williamsport to a first-time visitor?
“‘It’s all fantastic,” Frazier remarked. “Ride a piece of cardboard down The Hill. Some pins should be traded. On top of The Hill, see the museum. Book a hotel as soon as possible; ideally, a year ahead of time, so you can be as near to the ballpark as possible. Don’t be concerned about money. Everything is inexpensive. There is no pay for anybody who works there. Take everything in. Take four or five days to see all there is to see. Observe a baseball game with two teams from different countries. Bring a blanket and lay it down early so you don’t lose your spot on The Hill. “It’s the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.”
The Angels will face the Indians in the Little League Classic this year, making it even more exciting. That means Maddon, a Pennsylvania native, will be in charge. And, maybe more importantly, Shohei Ohtani will be in Williamsport.
This year, Frazier is expected to return to Williamsport to see his nephew, Carson Frazier, play for the New Jersey squad.
“Frazier said, “They have a terrific squad.” “Tim, they have four or five men who are four or five inches taller than you.
For this tiny, acrophobic 64-year-old baseball writer, there will be no more treks down The Hill, but the annual journey to Williamsport remains a career highlight. It is, after all, magical. It’s a cross between a county fair and a baseball game; it’s where the game is played at its most basic level, where kids are kids and kids are kings. And there’s always a four-year-old to lead the way.
Baseball is in its summer lull. Most of the games have been played, the All-Star game is over, and the old men are trying to figure out what to do during the summer months. Everyone who was alive during the 2004 World Series knows that as a baseball fan, there is nothing better than watching the Little League World Series.. Read more about little league softball world series 2021 and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who won LLWS 2021?
The LLWS 2021 was won by Team USA.
Who has won the most Little League World Series?
The Little League World Series has been won by teams from the United States of America more than any other country.
Will the Little League World Series be in 2021?
The Little League World Series will be in 2021.
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