2012 Little League World Series: A Running Diary

This Thursday marked the beginning of the greatest two weeks of the year (and, consequently, the worst two weeks of the year for my wife). That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for the 2012 Little League World Series.

I don’t know whether it’s because my dad was born and raised in South Williamsport (he always mutters like a curmudgeon when they incorrectly say “Live from Williamsport” instead of “Live from South Williamsport), or because I never got to play Little League (I was a park league kid through and through…no fancy grass infield or outfield fences for me…they way you knew you hit a homerun is because the field you hit the ball into had to stop play), but I have always had a special place in my heart for the LLWS.

A few years ago I circulated a LLWS Awards MS Word document (yes, this was pre-blog), but I figured why wait until the end of the tournament to talk about it? So I’ll be dropping little comments here throughout the fortnight, being sure to note all the miraculous things that only happen during the LLWS. Enjoy.

Thursday, Aug. 16:

Tennessee vs. Nebraska:

7:07 pm: Nebraska runner makes the final out at home trying to score on a wild pitch…good hustle, good effort…only they were down 12-1 at the time. Maybe the spread was 10.5?

7:01 pm: Nebraska left fielder Nathan Murray gets hit by a pitch, tries to shake it off, and throws his bat towards the wrong dugout…have to applaud the kid for trying to be tough. Definitely some tears welling up at first base…

6:55 pm: One of the Tennessee moms looks just like Sarah Connor from Terminator Part 1

6:50 pm: Tennessee just hit its fourth hr of the game…in a related matter Victor Conte just gave an interview about how rampant synthetic testosterone is in Little League baseball…

6:47 pm: Two things you don’t see too often on Major League hitters: goggles and football facemasks.

6:41 pm: Nebraska’s pitcher is named Thad Huber. Sadly, I can’t think of a good way to make fun of his name. I’m sure his middle school classmates don’t have a problem…

6:40 pm: Nebraska makes a pitching change and sends the current pitcher to third base. Another thing I’d like to see happen in the MLB. I bet King Felix could pick the crap out of the ball at first base…

6:17 pm: A quick reminder about the “special pinch runner” rule. Just one example of the myriad Little League rules that need to be adopted by the Major Leagues: “And David Ortiz draws a walk to start the 8th. That means we’ll see Usain Bolt head out of the dugout to take his place as the special pinch runner…”

6:13 pm: Our “first Web Gem of the LLWS” according to Karl Ravech when the Tennessee center fielder comes in on a ball to make a diving catch. This one was pretty legit, but it reminds me of how unathletic most 12-year-olds look when they do something athletic. I wonder how I looked dropping behind-the-back passes in the Woodland Hills Rec Center gym…

5:15 pm: Almost our first tears of the LLWS when a kid for Tennessee gets thrown out at home. I realize the emotions are running high, but come on. Crying after getting thrown out at home? At least wait until you make an error or walk four straight batters…

Chinese Taipei vs. Germany:

4:00 pm: Germany finally pushes a run across in the 4th; game ends 14-1. Being told that it’s the first run they’ve scored against Chinese Tapei in…well…in ever. One of those dubious achievements like the USA beating Mexico for the first time this week. Hey! We used to suck! But now we…well, we probably just got lucky…

3:45 pm: German kid (well, not really) gets called out for sliding into first base on a play where the third baseman bobbled the ball and never even made a throw to first base. Replay clearly shows that the kid tripped on his way to first and had no intention of sliding. If I’m the kid I have to plead my case about being so full of hustle that my emotions got the best of me and I dove into first. No way I’m admitting I just tripped over my own shoelace while running on national television.

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