The 2011 Little League World Series gets underway a week from tomorrow.To an outsider, the LLWS must look like a strange phenomenon — little kids playing a child-proofed version of our national pastime in front of 40,000 people (with millions more watching on national TV).
But the LLWS has nonetheless become an end-of-summer tradition for American sports fans since it was first broadcast on ABC in 1963.
Maybe this is because the LLWS falls in the dead zone of the sports calender.
Maybe it’s because watching emotional 12-year-olds react to immense pressure is more entertaining than watching jaded pro players go through the motions.
Maybe it’s because every little team in every little town has a chance to make it on the national stage.
But no matter which theory you subscribe to, TV ratings and general interest indicate that the LLWS is here to stay.
College football and the NFL are weeks away, and the MLB playoff hunt won’t heat up until September so these 12-year-olds are the best show in town.
There has never been a LLWS held anywhere other than the small Appalachian town of Williamsport, Pennsylvania
25 countries have sent teams to Williamsport, including some surprises like France, Greece, Poland, and the Philippines
All but 11 U.S. states have sent teams to Williamsport. Wisconsin is the most populous state to never send a team
Future MLB manager Lloyd McClendon had the best LLWS performance ever in 1971. He went 5-for-5 with 5 home runs and 5 intentional walks
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