The Little League World Series showcased all that is good about baseball, while highlighting things that might need to change in the professional game. The kids clearly had loads of fun, worked hard, were good sports, passionate, supportive of one another, and clearly loved by fans (and even many professional players, who not only watched games, but some were involved in getting parents to the game) from around the world.
The tournament was won by a fantastic undefeated team from South Korea, defeating the US champion from Chicago, Jackie Robinson West.
The US side of the tournament was notable for a number of reasons. It is a rarity, in this specialized age of youth athletics, for an inner-city team to make it to the Little League World Series. Two teams did so, Jackie Robinson West and the team from Philadelphia, the Taney Dragons. The Chicago team won the US draw by overcoming an undefeated team from Las Vegas that had earlier torched the Chicago team 13-2. The all-black team was honored yesterday at Wrigley Field:
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 1, 2014
Meanwhile, the Philly team was celebrated upon their return home. The Taney team also featured 13 year old Mo’ne Davis, who became the first female pitcher to win a game in the series’ 68-year history.
The hierarchy of Major League Baseball should take notes on some of the things that made this tournament great, as the perception of baseball’s ability to remain popular has been questioned by many.
An article by Jack Moore in Vice Sports, The Woman who struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, also feels timely. Here is his conclusion:
“The question, then, isn’t when women will earn a spot on the diamond next to men. They have been earning those spots for over 100 years. The question is when the men barring the gates will finally stand aside and let them in.”