Big League Experience Makes Lifelong Memories and Passionate Fans of the New Champs
On Sunday, Aug. 16, a group of Little Leaguers® from LaCoMo East Little League just east of Kansas City, Mo., got the experience of a lifetime. The team was selected to take part in the special event organized by Little League® International, Major League Baseball, and ESPN. The Little Leaguers got to experience the game from field at Kauffman Stadium, meet and interact with players, be interviewed in the dugout for ESPN’s Baseball Tonight, and watch the Kansas City Royals win in extra innings against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Little did they know that they were watching the future World Champions.
Throughout the MLB season, teams just like the one from LaCoMo East Little League got to share in similar outings at Big League clubs around the United States. It’s an experience that only Little Leaguers got to have, and has forged stronger connections between many Little League programs and their neighborhood MLB teams.
It’s also an experience that parents got to enjoy, both through the eyes of their children, and, in many cases, at the field themselves. Here are some of the things that the LaCoMo East Little Leaguers and their parents took away from their Sunday Night experience.
The players had a blast meeting the major leaguers and even score a few autographs. But to the parents, this was one more thing they can bond with their Little Leaguer about. Jeff Droege, a LaCoMo East Little League parent, attended the Kansas City Royals game with his son, Austin. They watch every game they can on TV, but this experience at Kauffman field has made his son a Royals fan for life.
“I was 11 years old when the Royals were last in a World Series,” said Mr. Droege. “Seeing them back in it 30 years later is something I can now share with my son.”
They players took time to say hello, ask questions, and take photos with the Little Leaguers. Perhaps more importantly for the parents, though, their children left the field with that day was a sense of pride for the sport they play. The pride the Little Leaguers had that day carried its way onto their fields throughout practice for the rest of the season and into fall ball.
“Even though the Major League players are hard at work, they still had time to make a group of kids understand that they are just a little older, still playing the game they learned to love as a kid,” said Mr. Droege.
This day will forever be celebrated in their children’s memories as one of their most fun experiences of their life, memories that started on the LaCoMo Little League fields. The parents look back at the opportunity knowing that this is just one way that their children are learning life lessons both on and off the field while cultivating life-long friendships with their Little League teammates.