Little League World Series Begins

Do you want to know why baseball is America’s pastime? It’s not because of 500-foot home runs and 60-foot JumboTrons that shoot fireworks every time someone from the home team gets a game-winning hit. Well, almost every time. While football has eclipsed baseball in popularity, the game of basball has been a part of the fabric of this country for far longer. While people watch sports to escape the stress of everyday American life, no sport has paralleled American history quite like the game of baseball. War. Segregation. Drugs. Baseball is part of us. ↵

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↵The Little League World Series begins today, and for the next 10 days we can pop on one of the ESPN family of networks -- including 360 for those stuck in front of a computer -- and watch baseball at it’s elemental core. Just a bunch of kids playing in a sandlot. Well, a sandlot with thousands of spectators and national pride on the line, of course. ↵

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↵Tens of thousands of young boys and girls around the world, ages 11-12, hoist their stirrups and lather on copious amounts of eye black every spring weekend, just for the chance to end up in Williamsport, Penn., to play in the Little League World Series. This is the biggest thing that will ever happen to most of these kids – playing for the opportunity to call themselves World Series champions. In fact, according to Baseball Almanac, there have only been eleven players to play in both the Little League World Series and the Major League World Series. ↵

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↵So we can forget about PEDs for a week, and focus on falsified birth certificates. We can root for teams from Mercer Island, Washington to Staten Island, New York and everywhere in between. We can watch as foreign teams from Japan to Curacao compete for the honor of being the collection of kids a few thousand middle-Americans will openly root against for no other reason than they are not citizens of this country – unless, of course, the team from Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany wins the International bracket, because those kids most likely are American citizens. ↵

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↵And don’t worry, American sports fan, there is something in it for you. While the Little League World Series is the annual culmination of grass-roots baseball at its formative finest, there’s still a chance to bet on it. Google the term “bet on Little League World Series” and it returns some wonderful message board treasures, like (sic): ↵

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↵⇥Illusion:Anybody here going to be betting on this years LLWS? I know a few guys that take this stuff really serious. I might actually bet a few of these games this year. ↵⇥

↵⇥fifawcs:If it is predictable hence profitable, count me in ↵⇥

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↵And perhaps my personal favorite, where a Williamsport native who played in the ‘original’ LLWS expressed concern that betting might impact the integrity of the event (sic): ↵

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↵⇥Defying:What happens if one of these kids fathers really is a (expletive) of a parent and tries to get their kid to throw the game? Or maybe puts more pressure on him to win... Doesn't it cross a line being that they are kids....However, as I was watching the regional games the past week, I was finding myself trying to handicap these team ↵⇥

↵⇥Kottja:At most books you can’t get action over a couple hundread bucks so whats the big deal? ↵⇥

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↵⇥Railbird:Little Leauge is big buisness. They are pimping themselves off to ESPN, if its on tv its fair game. You think Danny Almonte gets drafted in the 7th round if he wasnt on espn? HELL NO. ↵⇥

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↵⇥President of little leauge is a major leauge (expletive) making close to a MIL a year. ↵⇥

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↵Even ESPN is getting in on the action, in a way. While they won’t post the lines for the games, the ↵Streak for the Cash blog’s “StreakMaster” does give picks, taking Staten Island, Chinese Taipei and Warner Robins in today’s games. ↵

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↵So let’s get excited America. For more than a week we get to hear the constant ping of tiny aluminum bats, follow pre-pubescent pitch counts and, it seems, lay a fin on a Chinese-Taipei/Staten Island final. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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