I just finished watching the final game of the Little League World Series. The final game was a dramatic win by Georgia over Japan, 3-2 in eight innings, with the game ending on a "walk-off" home run. I watched quite a few games in the tournament. I find the LLWS one of the best sports events of the year. Truly enjoyable, for a lot of reasons. Here are a few:
1. The kids (11 and 12 year olds) play great. The pitchers are excellent, but not so overpowering that there is no hitting. In fact, there are plenty of hits, and home runs, but most impressively, the fielding is outstanding. Check out this one....
2. The sportsmanship, by both kids and parents, is always on a high level. I know this is not always the case with Little League baseball, and I've personally observed some atrocious behavior at Little League games. However, the teams that make it to the TV level show only the best things about organized kids baseball.
3. The managers are wired for sound, so you can hear them talking to the players. When a manager visits a pitcher on the mound, or when he talks to a hitter before an at bat, you are right there. Most of the time, they say exactly the right thing.
4. The teams are from actual towns. The team from Georgia was not an all-star team from the State of Georgia. They were the best players from the Warner Robins (a town in Georgia) Little League. ALL the teams are like that. All the players know each other well, they go to school together, and live near each other.
5. They use top announcers and have top technical coverage. The final game today had Brent Mussberger, Orel Hershiser and Dusty Baker as announcers. They analyzed the game like it was a real game, because it WAS a real game. The instant replays and features are top notch too. It's even OK when they show the Mom's and Dad's being nervous in the stands.
6. When the players come up, not only do they show their stats, they tell you who their favorite major leaguer is, or their favorite TV show, or their favorite food. They should do that with the major leaguers.
7. When they change pitchers, they don't call in someone from the bullpen. They call in the left fielder or the second baseman, and the departing pitcher goes and plays a position.
Here are highlights from the championship game http://youtube.com/watch?v=XE5UXU0NM-s
8. OK, it's kinda sad when the losing team is crying. When you watch the games, you know that both teams are trying so hard, that the losing team HAS to cry. Note to anyone who is bothered by this.....they'll get over it. They may not know it at that moment, but they are all winners.