I am tired of the Little League World Series. Don’t kill me.
Please don’t take this wrong. I am not taking anything away from the participants, the event itself, or the storied history of Little League and of Williamsport. I have great respect for this major tournament that goes on each August. However, my enthusiasm has dissipated in recent years. Let me try to explain myself by pointing out a few reasons why.
Well, actually let me back up. Let me make clear reasons that don’t make me hate the Little League World Series: I don’t care that the kids cry and that ESPN catches every tear drop. I don’t worry about the stage being too big for these kids. I don’t believe that these young ballplayers are exploited. My gripe is with other conditions.
I don’t think anyone can fight me too hard when I say this: ESPN has completely oversaturated the Little League World Series. They broadcast roughly 30 games each August with many of them on the flagship station. Ten years ago when ESPN and ABC would combine to televise the United States championship game and the World Series title game over the weekend it was special. It left you wanting a little bit more. ESPN totally killed that feeling. Now it seems during the whole month of August games are shown both during the day and primetime. The product isn’t good enough to show that much. The innocent, carefree, and “for the love of the game” angles tire after a few days. It bores me.
Like I said above, I don’t mind the crying. It really doesn’t bother me. What has really driven me nuts though is the dancing. I detest the constant shots that lead off each edition of Sportscenter with two teams dancing around a goofy looking mascot. It looks incredibly stupid, it has been played out, and it really isn’t in the spirit of competition. I know some people think it is cute and a good example of sportsmanship but I just find it dumb. Same goes for the individual dances and choreographed celebrations that ESPN just eats up. Give it a rest.
I also don’t like how it takes some of my favorite ESPN personalities away from covering the sport they should be concentrating on…Major League Baseball. Will someone please yank out Karl Ravech from that Little League booth and put him back on the Baseball Tonight set? What business does he have calling a random contest that is at least a couple games away from the U.S. Championship? How about having Mike & Mike call the games or go fetch the lowest announcers on the ESPN totem pole and have them do the tournament.
I don’t like how teams are presented either. I don’t enjoy how teams are referred to by the region they came out of. While the media is doing a better job at overlooking the region names and calling them by their state names how about they take it a step further? Give recognition to the community that the players are from and make a better effort to call them by the city they hail from. If a team is from Chicago, call them Chicago…not Illinois. If the team is from Rapid City, call them Rapid City…not South Dakota. While this aspect is getting better too, it still needs improving. Then there is the uniform issue. I HATE the standard regional uniforms that each team wears. I don’t want to see a boring uniform with “Northwest” written across the chest of the player. Give me the quirky and colorful unis that the teams wore throughout the whole season, long before they got to Williamsport. It would make the tournament much more spirited and it wouldn’t seem like I am watching the same teams year after year.
I admit that I will be watching Mo’ne Davis on the mound tonight. What a story she has been. But besides that pot of gold for the LLWS and ESPN I have absolutely no interest to watch anymore. I know ratings are good so I don’t expect changes…I just wish it wasn’t slammed down my throat. Don’t Blink.