Just prior to the 2002 series, the area surrounding World Series Field received elaborate beautification, including brick pavers, knee walls, wrought iron fencing with gated entries and extensive landscaping.
The beautification continued in the summer of 2003. A Memorial Garden was planted, paying tribute to World Series volunteers who had passed away: Judy Bzura, Bob Sands, Richard Anderson, Ginger Anderson, Chuck McAllister and Toby Sullivan. Opening ceremonies included a moment of silence. Other great volunteers have been added to the garden since.
2003 World Series
The 2003 World Series had three first-time entrants: the Khovrino Little League from Moscow, Russia, as well as teams from Massachusetts and Iowa. In addition, a team from Virginia played in the World Series for the first time since 1981, the year the series started.
The nation’s worst power outage affected Michigan and the World Series. A key round-robin game could not be played under the lights and had to be moved to the following afternoon. A team from LaMirada, California, won that game and went on to win the world championship. It was the fourth time that a team from California became world champion and the eighth time a team from the USA West Region won the title. A team from Panama – Santiago, Veraguas – was runner-up for the second straight year.
The teams raved about the fireworks display that was part of the opening ceremonies. The fireworks continue to this day, thanks to the generous donation of local auto dealer Taylor Ford.
Another natural disaster – Hurricane Charley in Florida – affected the 2004 World Series in Taylor. A team from Tampa, Florida, won the South regional tournament in Georgia, but could not get a flight out of Tampa because the hurricane forced the closure of airports. Tampa arrived late, causing the schedule to be revamped, but the team wasted no time showing record-breaking firepower that took it to the world championship. Overall, 13 records were either tied or broken – most of them by Tampa.