Every August they come. Packs of adolescent baseball players from different regions of the U.S. and around the world. They descend upon the small town of Williamsport, Pa., to compete for the Little League World Series. It’s a tradition that has maintained a surprisingly resilient hold on the public’s consciousness since 1947.
Why 11-13-year-olds and not 14-16-year-olds? Why Little League baseball and not Pop Warner football, when the former has become the more popular professional sport? Who knows? Maybe a mix of tradition and sports media summer boredom.
No matter. The Early Lead will do it’s best to quickly and cleanly lay out all the information you need to follow along.
The Little League World Series is a 10-day, 30-game double-elimination tournament that began Thursday, Aug. 18. There are two brackets with the winners from each side — one with eight American teams, the other eight international teams — playing in the finals on Aug. 30. Not among these teams will be the Ugandan national team which were facing some Danny Almonte-like suspicions on fudged birth certificates.
But that doesn’t mean there are not plenty of other young stars to follow...
Today’s first game was Mexico vs. Asia-Pacific regions. More specifically teams from Mexicali, Baja California and Kaohsiung, Chinese Taipei. The Mexican team won 3-0 behind shortstop and pitcher Carlos Arrellano who showcased his gap-to-gap power at the plate by going 2 for 4 with a double. In later games, we’re likely to see a changeup with good movement when he takes the mound.
If you think that’s a lot of particular scouting information to have on a 12-year-old, I agree. But in today’s world, kids don’t parachute in and become surprise heroes overnight. Now each player in the tournament has their own Baseball Factory scouting report complete with video.
It may seem like overkill, but I suppose you can always impress your friends with this fountain of knowledge. So when Japan makes it to the final and Mitsuhiro Uchida throws a would-be base-runner out at the plate, let others be stunned. You just sit back and nonchalantly say that you’re not surprised. The scouting report on him does say he has a “strong accurate arm” with a “quick release.”