As we know, the Little League World Series has been underway. Teams from around the world have been slugging it out with each other as have American teams in the other bracket. Only one will emerge from each for the big showdown on Sunday.
Right now, it's reached the semi-final stage. Panama will go up against South Korea in one game. A team from Endwell, New York will square off with the best of the Volunteers -- Tennessee. At this point, all these kids are really good.
Panama has already beaten the South Koreans once, but the double elimination format has them in line for a rematch. At that, Panama's victory seemed a fluke. South Korea's pitching is just outright dominant. One big Panamanian kid took a mighty swing -- and just happened to connect for a monster home run that made the difference. Other than that, nobody's been able to hit the SK hurlers.
Thing is, unlike like other double elimination tourneys, the two loss rule is waived for the finals match. Teams (Panama and NY) can be undefeated going in, but that one game is for all the marbles. Same with the final final game on Sunday. True, the teams that continued to play with one loss had to play an extra game, but what good is a two loss and your out format if they're going to change the rules towards the end to only one? Let them play a doubleheader, or the best two out of three if necessary.
Idle thought. All the Little Leaguers have a "favorite athlete". One said his was Walter Payton. That seems a little weird. Yours truly was also a big fan of Sweetness back in the day, but he's no longer amongst the living. Hasn't been since 1999 -- seventeen years. So out of all the athletes to choose from, why would a kid pick a dead one? Wouldn't we think it strange for some kid to hold up, say, Babe Ruth or Jim Thorpe as his favorite? Same thing. Get that kid some therapy. Ahem.
The NY team is certainly a hitting bunch. They score runs galore and are likely to dispatch the boys from Goodlettville, Tenn..
And the South Koreans are probably favored over Panama. As mentioned above, their pitching is just that good.
Idle thought II. Some kid is pitching the ball 80 MPH? From the shorter distance between the mound and the plate, that equates to a 106 MPH major league fastball. NOBODY throws that hard. It almost doesn't seem fair to expect 12 and 13 years olds to be able to react that fast.
Soooo, if my fearless, usually foolish prediction is accurate, we'll see NY vs South Korea on Sunday for the world championship game.
That would be quite the contest. A team loaded with sluggers taking on superior pitching. Something's gotta give.
Methinks it will not end well for Endwell. The Seoul train appears to be too much and are on a mission. Good pitching trumps good hitting -- right?
We'll see. In the meantime, the LLWS playoffs have been a joy to watch. Did I mention these kids are good?
Idle thought III. Why is it the Little League umpires can review a replay and make the call in a minute or two, but it takes their Major League counterparts seemingly forever to do the exact same thing?