Thursday, August 16, 2007

LL Softball World Series Wrap-Up

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.

Press Coverage:

The Citizen Tribune (Tennessee)

Elgin Courier

The Oregonian

Beaverton Valley Times (Oregon)


Anonymous said...

I know you are bound by the rules of LL, but in all honesty, the LL softball at 12U simply doesn't even hold a candle to ASA. It's a shame that ASA doesn't get all of the publicity that LL gets. It is nice to see little girl softball on TV but it gives the impression that this is the best softball in the country and it is sub standard at best. Grass infields? Come on!! I can't believe you will admit it doesn't change the game at this level? Please, please go to an ASA game 12u, go to Class A Nationals, you will be blown away. ASA girls are totally dedicated to softball, they will be the future D1 players in the country. Again, don't want to be bitter, I am sure the girls who won are proud...but the best of the best? Not even close.

CarrieM said...

Every year around this time I get emails from folks putting down Little League Softball. I think if the games weren't on ESPN, they wouldn't care...why not leave well enough alone?

I'll say it again (and again, and again, as I do every year): The LLSBWS is the best softball that LL offers. LL, ESPN nor I have ever said it is THE BEST softball.

Take a good look at the big picture: every time youth softball is on TV it is good for the game. Period.

And I disagree that D1 players only come from ASA. It is simply not true. PLENTY of D1 players have played LL in their lives -- many were introduced to the sport through LL.

Why not spend your time working in a positive direction to get the ASA 12u on TV?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Sure, some ASA teams may be better, as well as other travel organizations, but, they are also made up of players who are recruited, scouted, had extensive tryouts, etc from as far as a 500 mile radius. LL has limits, and these girls all live in one small area. Many of the girls playing LL also play travel ball too. Both the Southwest team and the South team, as well as West, etc have girls playing your great organizations too, either ASA, USSSA, etc maybe not with all the girls on the LL team, but they PLAY. Be glad LL and ESPN care enough about Softball to get it out there. Be happy for the girls and Softball.

Softball Junkie said...

First of all let's get things straight. The two championship game teams South and Southwest play plenty of travel ball and can compete with the best of ASA. Plenty of the girls on the South and I'm sure the Southwest played up in 14U travel ball and did very well. Get a life and go pay your way to play in a World Series!!

Anonymous said...

My daughter just wrapped up LL tournament youth 11/12 with the Devon Strafford Little League in PA up until this week it's been a good four year run. She lives for the sport.

Sadly we had some really poor managing and our daughter got the shaft from this coach (a 55 year old man whose daughters moved on) on top of that a huge fight broke out among a parent from our team with the other team about sportsmanship and while I went down to talk to the field director about him handing this with dignity - (thankfully before the girls saw this happen)
the coach we've had an issue with ripped me to pieces - verbally assaulting me and calling my daughter a "Mediocre player at best" Screaming it was such a scene. I may not even thank him.. I said I'd thank him for making her cry for an entire week.
It was awful - all the while the assistant coach stood off and never got him out of my face.
I couldn't believe a grown man came to attack me while I thanked another for breaking up ugly - and said how awful this week had been for our daughter.

I can't even complain, why? The league director is an assistant coach herself.
So much for the best, fair interest of our kids.

Anyway we still have one in little league I hope her run ends better -

The Devon Strafford League is screaming for softball help equality and fairness.

ASA here we come. :)

Rich Spargo said...

This comment is directed to "Anonymous" regarding Devon Strafford Little League.

I am aware of the incident which is discussed by "anonymous" in the blog but at no time did "anonoymous" contact me to discuss their concerns.

I am most offended that once again computers have given a forum to a coward and that if the facts were correct, there would be no reason not to sign their name. Therefore your choosing to not talk with me nor sign your name leads me to conclude that your side of the story lacks credibility. It is easy to hide behind "anonymous" and attack individuals and groups with self serving statements. That is why newspapers will not print anonymous letters.

Devon Strafford Little League has provided quality programming and coaching for over 45 years.

In the future, if you are interested in positve role modeling for your children, I suggest you start at home because if you feel your convictions are strong enough, you should always put your name behind it.

Rich Spargo, President
Devon Strafford Little League