#WATWB – Let’s Play Ball

I hope my regular readers can take another story that involves baseball. Hey, it’s the stuff of summer, particularly in the US. Trust me, this story is different. This story is better. This story makes me feel good, and that’s what this blogfest is all about.

This is a story about a big bunch of grown-ups setting aside their normal routine, their self-interests, their time and their money to do something really cool for a bunch of kids. According to a story on CBS Sports this past Monday:

An uplifting baseball first took place on Sunday night, as the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates took part in the Little League Classic in Williamsport, Penn. Williamsport is of course the site of the ongoing Little League World Series, and for the first time two big-league teams went at it at in BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field.”

That’s right, two major league baseball (MLB) teams stepped out of the 38,000 seat PNC Park, travelled a couple hundred miles to the middle of Pennsylvania and played a regular season game at Historic Bowman Field which holds fewer than 2,400 fans, not counting the ones sitting on the hill behind the outfield.

The Pirates are my team. I grew up in Pittsburgh and I have followed this team through good times and bad. The Pirates have been involved in a lot of ‘firsts’ – They played (and lost) in the First World Series. They started the ‘Farm System’ that has become the industry known as minor league baseball. They won a World Series in 1960 with a team that included MLB’s first Puerto Rican superstar, Roberto Clemente and just this year, they added Gift Ngoepe, the first player from the African continent, to their roster.

This first is different.

While the MLB World Series is mainly a US and Canadian affair, the Little League World Series is a world deal. I love watching the LLWS, and so far this year, I’ve watched teams from Mexico, Venezuela, Italy and South Korea play. For some of those kids, this is the only time in their lives they will see a major league game.

The Pirates and the Cardinals didn’t just go to Williamsport to play ball. They hung out with the kids, they signed autographs, watched them play and they ended their game with the traditional Little League handshake line between teams. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred:

I have a lot of great days in my job. But today, even before we get to the Major League game, has been one of the absolute best.”

Similarly, Clint Hurdle, coach of the Pittsburgh Pirates said:

One of the highlights of my career…I was happy to be a part of it, humbled to be a part of it.”

Baseball is supposed to be fun. Sunday night, it was!

We drive by Williamsport on our way home from Pittsburgh. I don’t thing they were playing baseball this day.

The “We are the World” Blogfest is in its sixth month of a year-long journey. The goal of WATWB is to spread the message of light, hope and love in today’s world. We are challenging all participants to share the positive side of humanity. This month’s co-hosts,Simon Falk, Inderpreet Uppal, Lynn Hallbrooks, Eric Lahti, and Mary J Giese welcome participants and encourage all to join in during future months. #WATWB is a blog hop on the last Friday of every month. Click HERE to check out the intention and rules of the blogfest and feel free to sign up at any time between now and February of 2018.

59 thoughts on “#WATWB – Let’s Play Ball

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  1. I wonder if they’ve started another *first* and this will become a regular feature at the LLWS. Young lives remember this stuff. It’s what cements lifelong fans, and likely – without exaggeration – molds a few lives.
    I’m not a baseball fan, but I’m a fan of this story. Good one!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think they have. The commissioner said “we need to do this every year.” I was so impressed to see the MLB players sitting in the stands watching the little league game. Thanks for reading an overload of stories here this week, Joanne.

      Like

  2. This was a very cool event, Dan. Thanks for sharing! How awesome for the Little League kids to be able to hang with the major league players, and I think the Cards and Pirates were very honored to be there and watch these kids play in an intimate venue. Yes, I think that should be an annual event because it is FUN!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mary. It looked like it was fun for “kids” in both leagues. The Pirates won, so that made it even better for me 🙂

      I think it should be an an us event and all the MLB teams should get a chance to play there.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The Red Sox are my team [always have been] and my better half prefers the Yankees. [this proves to give us some interesting evenings!!] But I’m awfully glad the Yankees weren’t playing my Sox last night after the brawls, right-crosses, hit-by-pitches and 8 ejections!!
    [talk baseball ALL you want, Dan!]

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, that seemed more like a hockey game. Of course, in hockey that would have resulted in a couple of guys with 2-minute penalties. Living here, between those two powerhouse teams is always a challenge. My wife isn’t a big fan, but she leans toward the Sox. If I had to pick one, I’d go with the pinstripes, but I’m stuck on the Pirates.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Dan – it’s great the sports stars are prepared to put their lives on hold and help out these kids – the Little League Classic sounds so much fun for the youngsters and as mentioned with bring the kids together, they’ll learn other social skills etc … thanks for sharing with us – cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A nice nice in the right direction. I don’t know about all teams but the Pirates and (I don’t like mentioning them) the Red Sox are active supporters of their local communities.

      Like

  5. Ahh, good news is always appreciated, Dan. I, too, love when professional athletes act like real, nice people, something my Blackhawks do on a regular basis. Thanks for sharing this bit of uplifting news that reminds us what sport ought to be.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a story that should make the front page! This is what sportsmanship is all about. This is what honour and kindness is all about. Thank you so much for sharing Dan. (I also love a good ball tale!)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a great thing these guys did for the kids. The funny thing about that is that the adult players are going to go away from it as profoundly impacted as the kids they went to interact with. This will be something none of them will ever forget.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love it when ‘big time’ meets and participates in ‘little guys’ lives. Mainly, my idea of joy is hearing about ball players or musicians visiting children in cancer wards or building homes for impoverished people. But this was a special day for those Little Leaguers! Especially nice for the Cardinals and Pirates to go to Williamsport! Those ball players gave everyone a big smile in doing this.
    My grandsons both played baseball this summer (as you know) and they would have been thrilled! :) :)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Being a Cardinals fan and faithful follower, I knew about the game, its locale, and its import; and I appreciated major league baseball and both teams for making it happen. We were camping, but if we ciimbed a hill behind the campground, we could get reception on our cellphones and follow the play by play descriptions on our CBS sports app. So we did. It was a great time.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. These two teams did a beautiful thing… None of these kids will forget this, ever—and for many it might actually have been a turning point in their lives. In Curaçao, where I live, baseball is big (as in most of the Caribbean, I think), and our Little Leaguers have done really well in past years (even winning once, I seem to remember—but I don’t really follow baseball, haha), but I’m betting this year the experience will have been far beyond any other year, no matter how great.

    Thanks for sharing this story. Really heartwarming, in the best way.
    Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

    Liked by 1 person

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