Earlier this year, MLB announced the 1st ever ‘Little League Classic’.
It was a regular season MLB game that would be played between the Cardinals and Pirates in Williamsport Pennsylvania, home of the Little League World Series, WHILE the Little League World Series was going on.
Pretty cool, right?
Well the game is this Sunday (AUG 20).
And you might have questions.
Below are some answers.
Will the game actually be played on either of the fields they play the Little League World Series?
That would be awesome, but unfortunately, no.
Little League World Series games take place at the Little League World Series Complex, home of Volunteer and Lamade Stadiums. The Cardinals/Pirates game will actually be played in BB&T Ballpark, home of the Williamsport Crosscutters (A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies) just across town.
FWIW, the all parts of the fence on the fields that the Little Leaguers play on are 225 feet from home plate.
What else do we know about BB&T Ballpark?
BB&T Ballpark (at Historic Bowman Field) was opened in 1926 and is the second-oldest minor league stadium in baseball and seats 2,366 fans.
It’s 323 to left, 411 to center and 331 to right.
In 2000 the stadium became an official Pennsylvania Historical Marker and is the home field for the Pennsylvania College of Technology baseball team (along with the Crosscutters).
The stadium has undergone some major renovations the past few years.
Is this going to actually work?
Spurned on by the success of 2016’s ‘Fort Bragg Game‘, MLB (with the encouragement of TV partner ESPN) is most likely looking a wide variety of opportunities to create buzz around regular season games (a la NHL’s ‘Winter Classic’ or the NBA’s Christmas Day slate of games or the NFL’s London games).
This is one of the first. Probably won’t be one of the last.
If you want to be real blunt about it, this is a regular season game being played in a spring-training caliber stadium.
Have famous players played in the stadium?
According to a press release (that I can’t find the link to, but I’m going to take the word of), more than 560 MLB players have played in Bowman field, including Hall of Fame members Nolan Ryan, Bill Mazeroski, Jim Rice and Jim Bunning.
If this isn’t true, then I’m the one person that fell for this troll-job.
Will the game be on TV?
You better believe it.
The game will be ESPN’s ‘Sunday Night Baseball’ game of the week and Dan Shulman, Jessica Mendoza, Aaron Boone & Tim Kurkjian will have the call.
ESPN & MLB have dubbed the game the “MLB Little League Classic” and it will cap a day of broadcasting games from the actual Little League World Series (AUG 17 thru AUG 27).
Note that the start time has been moved up 1 hour from the normal broadcast to 6:05p central time.
This game counts, right? Like it’s a real MLB game?
Correct. This is a regular season MLB Game.
And with the Cardinals and Pirates still both in various levels of contention for the NL Central crown, it’s an important one.
The Pirates will be surrendering a home game at PNC Park to make this contest happen. And the game will be played under standard MLB rules.
Does it have it’s own logo?
What uniform will the Cardinals wear?
The teams will wear ‘Player’s Weekend’ jerseys. AKA, the nickname jerseys.
Which Cardinals are going to be the stars of the broadcast?
Lance Lynn and Randal Grichuk.
Both men played in the Little League World Series back in their youth.
Let’s hope that both men like seeing pictures of themselves as 12 year-olds. Because ESPN is working on digging up the best ones as we speak.
On the Pirates side, both Andrew McCutchen and Jordy Mercer have played minor league games at Bowman Field.
Everyone cool with this?
Hasn’t been much dissent (so far), with John Rooney (Cardinals radio play-by-play man) offering some tepid criticism:
“They’re going to play a Sunday night game in Williamsport so ESPN can promote their telecasts of the Little League World Series,” Rooney said Thursday afternoon on Cardinals Radio Network flagship station KMOX (1120 AM) in a conversation with host Mark Reardon. “That’s what it comes down to. This is a pennant race, Mark, and they’re playing in a minor-league park. The Pirates are giving up a home game. Both teams are flying up Sunday morning and they’ll spend the whole day up there doing Little League World Series-related events and then play the game.
“And then the Cardinals will get home in the wee hours of the morning Monday and pretty much waste a day off. It’s strange to me. It’s a nice thing to promote baseball, and I’m all for that. But with teams trying to win a division, and to (have the game in Williamsport) at this point in the season, I just find it rather strange.”
The trip from Pittsburgh to Williamsport is around 200 miles, so it’s not exactly super convenient for either team.
Can I get tickets?
Nah. Not unless you’re paying big bucks on the secondary market.
There was a public lottery that you’ve already missed out on.
A check on FRI of tickets shows:
- SeatGeek: not listed
- StubHub: not listed
- Vivid Seats: not listed
- Craigslist: one sketchy listing from Toronto
You’re going to need to know someone if you want to get into that stadium on Sunday night.
Should be a good time on Sunday night.