I’ve watched more Little League World Series in the past week and a half than I have in the past five years combined. There’s something about the fundamentals of the game that are so enjoyable at this level. Watching the kids play which reminds me why I love the game. Bunt singles. Running out every hit ball (the Baltimore Orioles’ Sammy Sosa got thrown out at second base this week admiring his home run that ended up NOT clearing the wall this week). Forcing the throw in attempting the extra base.

The Williamsport, PA tournament started with eight U.S. teams and eight international teams. There have been nail biters (usually involving the team from Louisiana, it seems) and blowouts (15-0 four-inning game called because of the application of the 10-run lead rule). Tonight, powerful Hawai’i plays scrappy Louisiana. The winner will play California Saturday for the U.S. championship. Meanwhile, the winner of today’s Guam-Curacao game will play Japan Saturday, assuring that the international champion will be from an island nation. The LLWS finals are on Sunday, and it really will be an an international affair, unlike Major League Baseball, which has its wealth of players from other countries, but only one foreign team, and that one not that far from the U.S. border.

Let me tell you about my Little League experience. I went for a tryout. I was having trouble on the field. I struck out on a 3-2 pitch that I never saw. I never went back. So I am amazed that any 12-year old can hit a 75-MPH fastball.

Former Phillies manager Larry Bowa will be honored Sunday as one of those who played in both the LLWS and in the Major League and displayed character (he is a character).

Last night, Pete Rose was on that damn best sports talk show thing. He seemed very knowledgeable about a lot of sports issues, but perhaps disingenuously surprised that the clock has been ticking not only on his possible reinstatement to baseball, but also his eligibility to be voted into the Hall of Fame by the writers. (In time, IF reinstated, the Hall could allow Rose to be considered by the Veterans’ Committee.) My feeling in that he DID break the fuindamental rules of baseball, and that the late Bart Giamatti did issue a lifetime ban. Here’s my compromise: allow Pete Rose to be considered for the Hall as soon as he is dead. That way, he doesn’t personally profit from his misdeeds, but that baseball recognizes the 17-time All-Star with the most hits ever.

Meanwhile, the Mets beat Arizona last night by two touchdowns. There are five teams competing for the National League wildcard slot, Houston and all of the East teams except Atlanta (Philadelphia, Florida, Washington and the Mets.) This morning, the Mets were tied for third place in the wildcard, 1.5 games back. All the East teams play each other in September, and I suspect the race won’t be determined until the last week of the season. This is the time of year I start getting into the major league game.

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