Help From a Star
Source: South Williamsport, Pa.
Date: Wednesday, August 25, 2010 ET
Preparing to face the most dominant team so far in this year's Little League Baseball World Series, the boys from Chitre, Panama received a phone call after lunch today from Astros outfielder Carlos Lee, a native of Aguadulce, Panama.
Panama last entered a team in the World Series in 2004. Lee spoke to that team as well.
"I tried to help out any way I could," he said. "I wished them good luck, told them to play hard and do their best."
Lee was excited to get the opportunity to speak to this year's team.
His good wishes certainly benefitted the Latin America champions Wednesday. Facing an opponent in Chinese Taipei that had outscored teams 41-0 in two games, Panama gave the Asia-Pacific representatives a run for their money. Panama eventually lost 5-1 in a pitcher's duel that remained tied in the fifth inning.
Even though Lee spends much of his time in The Lone Star State and the Southwest representatives come from nearby Pearland, Texas, when asked which team he would cheer for, Lee's response was simple.
"Of course, Panama."
The Men Behind the Mask
The umpires for the 2010 World Series were honored before Wednesday's first game between Hamilton, Ohio, and Waipahu, Hawaii.
The umpires received participation medals and a hug from Dugout.
All of the umpires at the World Series are volunteers and cannot participate in more than one Little League Baseball World Series, but can be chosen for other levels within the Little League organization.
Before the final game of the night between Auburn, Wash., and Pearland, Texas, Al Tarcinale threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Tarcinale, 99, has been a Little League volunteer for 55 years, serving as a manager, coach and umpire. He also served as a District Administrator for New York District 20.
Tarcinale was the third base umpire in the 1977 World Series Championship Game, which was won by Chinese Taipei.
Chinese Taipei eliminated Panama with its 5-1 victory Wednesday night, setting up an International final between the Asia-Pacific champions and Japan.
But when Panama manager Cristobal Salerno was asked to handicap Saturday's matchup, he didn't pick the team that knocked his own team out.
"I'm going for Japan," he said through interpreter Luis Sanchez.
He went on to say Chinese Taipei is a talented team.
"They play with a lot of motivation and happiness," Salerno said. "They don't give up. They play to the last out."