Were you up around 4:30 this Monday morning? Wow! We had a huge downpour. A little light rain or shower activity continued another hour or so, but then clearing arrived in our area and now it looks like a couple of pretty decent days. If that humidity takes a vacation, I won't be disappointed. Now the little clan has a relatively empty calendar for this last full week of August.
Through the time I've communicated here, I've periodically mentioned that I love sports played by the youngsters. About the lowest age levels I get to see with any regularity is the Little League Championships, both the baseball ones in Pennsylvania and the softball ones in Oregon.
Right now it's the boys in Williamsport. There's just something about the sportsmanship, the intensity, the honesty of the boys playing. I also like the adult announcers that ABC/ESPN selects every year to call the play-by-play and the color commentary. They never criticize and can find something good to say about any play; even the most misplayed ball was usually something like "an outstanding attempt." (Edited Tues: Perhaps last night's announcers are the exception.)
I like the touch that Orel Hershiser and Nomar Garciaparra, a couple former great Major Leaguers, put into the announcing. They explain what the youngsters will be learning to improve as they move up through the age groups of games.
And what is more exciting for youngsters playing baseball than a double play off a sacrifice bunt? It happened in Sunday night's game.
The umpiring is also excellent. All the umps are volunteers, not only of their time at the games but also of their paying their own expenses to get and stay in Williamsport. Do they ever make mistakes? Of course. But in the LLWS, on a close, possibly questionable call, all six get together to confirm or correct a call. If that doesn't work, then, in the LLWS level only, replays can help the home plate umpire make a correct call.
If I had a criticism, it would probably be of my own ignorance of the strike zone in the softball games.
In fairness of disclosure of my liking the work of the umpires, I got my start in umpiring in Little League games in Gulfport, Florida, where I lived in the mid 1950s. I continued calling games into the mid 1980s.
I don't have a political rant today. You're welcome! The major excitement on the Maine calendar is the redistricting public hearing of the state's two congressional districts. The republicans and democrats have competing versions of a plan to equalize the population representation in our two districts. Redistricting is mandated to assure the one person one vote rule. In Maine, however, as it probably is in most states, anyone living in the state can run in either district. The legislature will have the final say in September.
Enjoy the day!