Like most American kids, I had my baseball heroes. The exploits of Roberto Clemente and Brooks Robinson inspired me to pick up a glove and take to the diamond. Though the mitt eventually gave way to a soccer ball and dirt bikes, I always managed to tune in to ABC's coverage of the Little League World Series from Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
As a kid, my summer nights involved baseball. I'd eat dinner and gladly scramble to my bedroom, intent on listening to the play-by-play of Baltimore Oriole games crackling from the small AM clock radio by the bed. I'd thumb through my latest issues of Cycle, Cycle World, or Dirt Bike, feigning disinterest during the other team's at bats, then immediately spring to the edge of my prized La-Z-Boy when it was the O's turn to hit. All through the season, the boys of summer certainly kept me enthralled, but come August, it was another group of boys, real boys, that commanded my attention.
Every year, the world's best young ballplayers converge on Williamsport, Pennsylvania for the Little League World Series. Their batting helmets look too big, they chew bubble gum instead of tobacco, the pitches almost hover, and the swings aren't so mighty - but after all, they're just kids, but they're kids playing baseball on national television. I never did experience the dusty glory of sliding across home plate to take the Little League crown home to Annapolis, but I am happy to say I finally made it to Williamsport, though on quite different terms. Now, my helmet fits and the curves I'll be watching out for will be delivered in another manner.