Thanks for hanging with the blog this summer. It has been a real treat to follow the teams and communities that are involved in Little League Softball, especially the final ten that make it to the World Series in Portland. This is the 14th year that Alpenrose has hosted the tournament, and it never looked better.
Many people make this event happen: tournament staff, housing families, field crews, Alpenrose employees...and they are on-site for about two weeks straight. That's a lot of time away from home and family for the benefit of 11-13 year-olds and their families and fans, from all over the world.
I played, coached and umpired Little League Softball at Alpenrose in the late 70's and early 80's. My dad was the manager and my mom was the co-Tournament Director. My poor sister was #1 fan until she started playing herself (and then proceeded to make every eligible All-Star team). Every day I am at the LLSBWS, my dad (the current webmaster) and I run into someone we played ball with or their parents or friends from High School taking their daughters up to watch softball. This is COMMUNITY.
Michele Smith frequently discusses this on the ESPN broadcasts of Little League Softball. These are the best teams that the rules of Little League produce each summer. We are lucky to have her doing the broadcasts, as she is a role model for the players as well as someone who stresses playing the game for fun and with families in your neighborhood.
As for the grass infield at Alpenrose, I know you softball purists are having a fit... But the truth is, the facility is one of the best in the country and a unique opportunity to play in a well-loved, well-cared-for stadium that has "kids" written all over it. It is not a huge park with several dirt fields and played on by slo-pitch mens teams. The grass infield looks great on TV and yes, it does slow the game down, but I don't think it makes a huge difference at this age.
And finally, congrats again to Morristown LL, Tennessee (South), and Elgin LL, Texas (Southwest), for battling through Districts, Regionals and making it back to the LLSBWS and giving us a championship game for the ages. The South team won, 3-2, but in a best of three series, it might have been different -- these were two great teams.
The Citizen Tribune (Tennessee)
Beaverton Valley Times (Oregon)