Thursday, August 29, 2013

Little League World Series Diary Day Three: Game Day

Did I tell you I bought Angus this? How could I not, really?

We got there early enough to see Angus and Jack do their close-up for ESPN.

Aren't they cute? Hundreds of teen-aged girls certainly thought so.

Angus led the team in some warm-up exercises.

Sure, they look little and cute, but don't let that fool you - they're small but deadly.

We had VIP passes and a roped-off seating section, but there weren't enough for everyone's immediate family and everyone extra who came, so we would get there crazy early for every game and sit all around the VIP section to save seats for all the grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins, then go down to the VIP section when the game started. 

Isn't this crazy? This is crazy, right? We're at the Little League World Fucking Series!

Look at the size of this goddamned scoreboard!

I bet you can guess why Eve found this so amusing (Ass-Pac! Ass-Pac!)

Before their first game, they were awarded medals for making it here.

Pretty goddamned cool, amirite? 

Angus was the starting pitcher for this game. Honestly, his pitching didn't work out the best in the series. There were a few reasons for this. He was nervous, of course. When I got home and was able to watch the game, I could hear what the head coach said to him when he came out to the mound. After one of the Taiwan kids hit a home run, Mark said "you threw a good pitch, and a good hitter smacked it; it happens", which made me love him even more. He only let Angus pitch enough that he would need two days rest instead of four, so he could pitch again in their third game. I was worried about how Angus was feeling, since he's kind of like me - you can read every emotion in his face. I knew he was upset when he went off.

So it was kind of nice that he smacked a two-run homer in the fourth inning. We knew this team would be good, but our guys still got on the board, and it was because of Angus.
photo credit: someone I don't know, we found this on the internet

His teammates were very happy with him, despite the fact that, to all appearances, this one is trying to pull his head off.
photo credit: someone I don't know, we found this on the internet too.

So, that was the first game. The boys were a little despondent, but basically okay. It was nice that we didn't get mercied. We figured they could regroup and see what they could do in the next game.

We went out of the ball park gate and got mobbed by a bunch of girls. One of them asked if we knew when the players were coming out. Matt explained that there's a tunnel they go through and that they get bussed right from underground back up to the dorms behind the gates. One of the girls looked at us in complete bewildered dismay and said "WHY?" Oh honey.

So we walked up the steep staircase (the way the ballpark is down in a valley-type thing is really cool, but I kept wondering if it was just geographical happenstance or a way to make sure that the groupies had to work a little harder to get up to where the players are.) We saw Angus, who seemed okay. We were going to go out for dinner with Matt's father and brother, but Angus was a)tired and/or b) just wanted to hang with his teammates, so we gave him some money for food and decided we would all drive back to Grandpa Mike and Jeremy's hotel and then all go for dinner in our van. We got there and picked them up, and started driving. After some whispered conferring in the back seat, Grandpa Mike announced that we had to go back because they had left the key to their rental car in the car - but at least this meant the keys weren't locked IN the car. Matt rolled his eyes and turned around. We got back to the hotel parking lot and Jeremy retrieved the keys. Grandpa Mike said "well that's good. I'd hate to lose my GPS". Jeremy looked at him totally deadpan and said "or the whole car, Dad".

We got to the restaurant and I got my first clue that Eve had had too much ballpark crap food when she looked at the menu, then closed it and said wearily, "I think I'll just have the salad bar." We all had the salad bar, but Matt only got it because the salad bar had a view of televisions that were playing the other games and highlights from the day (any time we weren't watching a live game that week we were usually in a room with a game on the tv). We were almost finished eating when a man came up to us and, looking at Matt's Canada jersey, told us we should be proud of how our kids had played today, because they had been up against a team who could win the whole thing. That was nice.

We dropped off Grandpa Mike and Jeremy and went back to the hotel. Our night time routine at the hotel usually involved locking Eve in the room to have a shower while we had beers in someone's room, then going back to tuck her in before going back for more beers. If she needed us she just had to walk down the hall. This became even more appealing for her after her consoling statement to Angus that "just think - it could have been BC here losing that game instead of you guys" made her famous and revered among all the other East Nepean parents.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Oh. God.

The EYES in the HAPPY faces are HEARTS. 

Katie (@kmoney375)
Canadian team but let's make sure you see Angus Adams and Jack Walsh. Smiling face with heart-shaped eyesTwo heartsBaseballSmiling face with heart-shaped eyes #llws #heaven

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Little League World Series Diary, Day Two

So apparently this is why the Little League World Series (for the 11 and 12 year olds, which is the one that people really get excited about) takes place in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania every year. 

You drive by all this before you drive down to the parking lot for the ballpark.

Our team was at the batting cages as we were walking up to security. 

Angus was at pitching practice.

Here is a giant baseball wearing a hat, being held in a giant baseball glove.

We had to go to a parents meeting first thing in the morning. The gist of it was, your kids are safe and happy here but you're not going to see them much, and during the games you'll most likely be on television, so don't swear or pick your nose or flash your boobs. 

After anything happened on the diamond, people would come out with rakes and paint and watering cans to make it all perfect again. 

Eve before her trip to the gift shop. 

Eve after her trip to the gift shop, with Cassidy, the sister of another player. Remind me to send Cassidy's mother a gift for bringing the only other girl. They had a blast together.

Opening ceremonies were after the meeting. 

People with the flags of all the countries who play Little League came in.

Then the teams came in.

Our guys! Still VERY FAR AWAY!

They made a pretty cool mosaic. 

The Little League Pledge was said in a bunch of languages, and the Coach's Pledge (which mostly rang with sincerity except for maybe the part about respecting the decisions of the umpires).

Then they left. Then we walked up a very long, steep hill to finally get up close and personal with


I had ordered him to look like he was happy to see us.

Eve and I went back to the hotel, and then Matt brought Angus back to the hotel, where he demonstrated the grace and poise that had gotten him to this point.

Not to mention his innate sense of fashion.

We went out for dinner with another player's family, where Angus ate two appetizers and a huge pasta dish. He said he wasn't all that crazy about the food in The Grove cafeteria, which made me hopeful that, if nothing else, he'd be happy to come home to my spaghetti.

After dinner, we went back to the ballpark, dropped off the boys and watched some baseball in the big stadium, from the hill by the dorms.

Eve and Cassidy were especially intent on the game.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Little League World Series Diary, Day One

So we left early last Wednesday morning.

We were a bit nervous about crossing the border. Not that we ever do anything to be nervous about like smuggle stuff or anything. Are the people that actually do bad stuff nervous crossing the border, or only the people who are innocently crossing the border to watch their kid play baseball? 

Isn't this pretty? And inviting?

It's like they sent us an engraved invitation!

So welcoming!

Well okay, THIS was a little rude.

We may or may not have found ourselves with an illicit Canadian banana. One of the other mothers said she got across and realized she had blueberries. We started calling ourselves the Fruit Salad Bandits.

Ready to cheer her brother on in the Parade of Champions. (Seriously? Seriously)

Mmm. Firemen. 

Marching band. Cool. I don't think I've ever actually seen a marching band up close. They can walk and play music at the same time. I can't even walk and think at the same time without tripping.

Some people threw candy. Which is cool except when you get nailed in the boob with a fastball bubble gum. (Me, not Eve. That's why she's smiling).

Another marching band. Okay, why not.

Cheerleaders! Neat.

And another marching....uh, group of Darth Vader wannabes?

Just to switch it up a little, a RIDING band. I'm guessing they tried marching while playing music and it all went horribly wrong.

Then, A DINOSAUR! Because, T-REXES LOVE BASEBALL....wait.... hee, hilarious visual.

And a giant weiner truck, because who doesn't love a giant weiner truck? 

Yeah. We're two hours in, but THAT'S OKAY, we're STILL PUMPED.

Another goddamned marching band, but at least they're playing accordions and wearing cool outfits.


Dogs in baseball jerseys are insanely cute, and not overly willing to stay still for photo ops.

The team floats were interspersed within all this. Two team floats every eighty or so other floats. There were sixteen teams.

Guess which float ours was on?

Yup. Dead last. 

That's right. The first and only time Eve and I saw Angus that day, after a two-week absence, was on a parade float.

YEAH I know you can't see him in the picture. I was busy LOOKING at him longingly, and I didn't snap it until the front of the float, which he was on, had already gone by. You'll just have to wait until tomorrow, like I did!