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>Vice President Cheney and Family Visit Little League Baseball World Series

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Aug. 25, 2004) – Every year at the Little League Baseball World Series, grandfathers and grandmothers take their grandchildren to the games, often sitting on a blanket and lawn chairs on the terraced hills overlooking the outfield fence at Howard J. Lamade Stadium. Tonight was no different as a man from Wyoming settled in a few minutes before the first pitch of the U.S. Semifinal Game between the Southwest Region champion Lamar Little League of Richmond, Texas, and the Southeast Region champion Morganton (N.C.) Little League.

Vice President Dick Cheney, with two of his granddaughters, speaks with ESPN reporter Sam Ryan during the game.

The man was one of about 18,250 people who attended the game, and like the other 18,249, no admission was charged. His wife, Lynne, daughter Liz, and granddaughters Kate, Elizabeth, and Grace accompanied him … along with a detail from the U.S. Secret Service.

The family, of course, was the Cheneys.

For the second time in Little League Baseball World Series history, a sitting vice president was a guest of Little League at the world’s greatest youth sporting event. Vice President Cheney arrived at the front of Little League International Administration Building with his family, toured the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum with Little League President and Chief Executive Officer Stephen D. Keener, then walked from there down the hill into the amphitheater-style seating for the game.

In a mid-game interview live on national television, ESPN reporter Sam Ryan asked the vice president what impressed him the most about Little League and its growth over the years.

“It's become a phenomenal organization, it's a great introduction to the sport,” Vice President Cheney said. “There are millions of people involved now in the game, not only here in the U.S., but around the world. It's had phenomenal growth. Williamsport, of course, has been the home for the Little League World Series since the late 1940s, so it's been a tremendous success story. It's a fantastic sport, it teaches kids some very, very important values, and anybody can come out to the ballpark and enjoy the game like we are tonight.”

The vice presidential was nearly three years to the day since Aug. 26, 2001, when President George W. Bush became the first U.S. president to attend a game of the Little League Baseball World Series. President Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch for the final game, then sat with his wife, First Lady Laura Bush, along with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, for the first few innings of the World Championship game. The seat used by President Bush is now on display in the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum.

Two men who eventually became president also have traveled to Williamsport for Little League functions. Lyndon Johnson visited in the fall of 1960 to present a U.S. flag to Mr. McGovern, the president of Little League Baseball, following the dedication of a new administration building. Then-Sen. Johnson was John F. Kennedy’s running mate and only a few weeks away from election.

George H.W. Bush also was a candidate for vice president in 1980 when he attended the final game of the Little League Baseball World Series, and threw out the ceremonial first pitch. President Bush and his wife, Barbara, were volunteers in the Central Little League of Midland, Texas, where George W. Bush played for four seasons in the 1950s.

Another executive branch visitor, Vice President Dan Quayle, visited the Little League Baseball World Series in 1992 to accept enshrinement into the Little League Museum Hall of Excellence. He was the first sitting vice president to have attended a Little League Baseball World Series game.

Many Little League Baseball and Softball World Series teams have spent time with the president, either during visits to the White House, or when the president stopped near their hometowns to visit. The tradition of the president meeting with Little League World Series teams began with President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Little League Baseball is the largest organized youth sports program in the world, with 2.7 million participants in all 50 states and more than 70 other countries.