Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Future of Little League World Series

Earlier this afternoon, the championship game of the Little League World Series was suppose to be played. I believe the game was postponed due to rain. The Little League World Series has been played for over 60 years, but I concerns with how the event is promoted and marketed.

* Have you been to Little League’s Web site? I am amazed it is not more technologically advanced. While you can click on a link to go to another site to see the scores, why don’t they have a ticker on the page highlighting the most recent scores? Where is a video from some of the games? Where is the bloggers who should interview the players and write interesting feature stories? The site is not aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

* Have you ever watched a game on ESPN or ABC? There are a lot of questionable activities that take place during the contests. EDITOR’S NOTE: I understand this is a chance of a lifetime for the kid playing, but certain aspects of the tournament need to be revised.

* The announcers cannot promote a pitcher when he throws a curveball or change up. The pitcher should be “thrown out” of the game immediately. I know this may sound extreme, but so many kids injure their arms from throwing curves at an early age. It boggles my mind when the announcers show an instant replay of a great curveball. They should not be promoting this activity. Have you read the stories of kids have Tommy John surgery at age 15 or 16? That is just wrong.

* I saw a trick play a couple of years ago where a second baseman made it seem like a ball flew over his head into the infield. They were trying to trick a kid on second to go to third. The shortstop had caught the ball from the outfielder. The announcers were impressed the kids tried to pull off this trick play and showed the replay a couple of times. Now, in the grand scheme of things, this is a part of baseball. I understand this. The problem is that Little League was specifically created to help boys learn the correct qualities to become men. Learning to cheat was not in the mission statement.

* Next time the Little League World Series takes place, check out the ads on television. There are ads for beer, trucks, etc and then products for children. I understand parents watch the games on television, but come on; there is no reason in the world that beer commercials should be allowed during these telecasts. Any commercial during the telecast should be aim at kids.

* At the end of the game, there are always kids on the losing team who are crying. Television producers need to use their heads and NEVER allow the cameramen to film them. I understand the producers want to bring drama and emotion to the telecast, but do they really need to put a camera in front of a kid who has a broken heart?

* What bothers me about Little League World Series is the pressure the kids face when they return and the kids who follow them. Some pressure is healthy for everyone, but not at this age. The kids who return and play baseball in the future are going to have a bull’s eye on their back, while the new all-star team is saddled with the expectation that they must make it to Williamsport.

How to fix it? IF ABC/ESPN wants to cover kids baseball games, why not promote a World Series for 14-16 year olds. They play on a bigger field and are a little more mature than Little Leaguers. Just one man’s opinion….


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