By Matt Furtado/KHTK Sports 1140
The Little League World Series: few reach it, but we ALL watch it.
But why? Why do we all tune in once a year to watch kids play a game which we can watch professionals play every night? Here are the top 5 reasons why:
1. The kids play their little hearts out.
They aren’t paid, they really want to win and they just flat out love the game. We have all felt this way about a certain sport at some point in our life. It’s rare to see professional athletes play with the same excitement for the game like these Little Leaguers do. There’s no pressure on the kids. The coaches don’t have to worry about losing a job. They aren’t making a living off of it. They are simply playing baseball because they love it.
2. It is wildly unpredictable.
There is no such thing as a routine out in the Little League World Series. Yes, these are the best of the best 11-13 year-olds on the planet, but they are still kids learning the game. A basic pop fly to the outfield can turn into a triple in no time. The countless number of passed balls creates excitement on the base paths. If you think a 6-0 lead after the first inning means a blowout victory, think again. There is nothing safe or routine about a Little League baseball game, and that is entertainment.
3. Professional Analysis on kids.
Flip on the TV and Major League Baseball greats like Barry Larkin and Nomar Garciaparra are breaking down these little kids’ technique. Most of the kids fundamentals are all over the place, yet they are breaking down swings and pitching motions as if we are watching Sunday Night Baseball. Is the whole production over the top for 11-13 year olds? Yes, it is. But that’s part of what makes it fun. Just for one month these kids get to feel like they are at the top of the game.
4. Kids become role models.
They may just be kids, but there is no doubt that they become role models for other kids. These Little Leaguers are playing at a level a lot of kids would love to play at. But there is more to it. Seeing kids at 4-foot-8 and 6-foot-4 playing against or next to each other can mean a lot to youngsters watching. To see a kid which they can relate to playing on TV can encourage or give them hope that they too can be successful at the sport. Mo’ne Davis, for example, is showing girls across the world that they can not only compete, but beat boys in the same sport. Will she be remembered a few years down the road? Maybe not, but the image of her slinging balls passed boys her age will be a lasting image in the mind of many girls.
5. Professional Athletes rooting for kids.
Normally, the kids a rooting for the professional athletes and teams. Each Little Leaguer has their favorite baseball player, but for this one month Major League Baseball players have their favorite Little Leaguer. Whether it’s National League MVP Andrew McCutchen tweeting about Mo’ne Davis, or Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard visiting teams to cheer them on, the role reversal is a welcome site for the kids, and those watching on TV.