Chase Reinhard, 12, plays third base and left field for the Grosse Pointe Woods Shores (Mich.) Little League. As the champions of the Midwest Region, he and his teammates are battling for the Little League World Series crown here.
Sunday night, they were relaxing and watching big leaguers play in the MLB Little League Classic from the first rows behind the Pittsburgh Pirates dugout. The Pirates defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in the game, 6-3.
“It’s pretty cool,” he remarked between pitches. “We got to hang out with them this afternoon, and they turned out to be regular people. You think they’re not like us because they’re Major Leaguers, but we saw them play ping-pong and just hang out. And then they sat and watched us play.”
Members of all 16 of the Little League World Series teams attended Sunday night’s contest, guests of Major League Baseball.
The game was played at Williamsport’s 91-year-old BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field. Significant work was done to the minor league park’s playing surface and dugouts to prepare them for big-league play. A city of tents was erected behind the ballpark to accommodate clubhouse functions and the media.
It wasn’t just the American Little Leaguers who were impressed by seeing Major Leaguers. “It’s amazing. We’re getting to see our role models play on this big stage,” said Matteo Manzi, 13, from the White Rock South Surrey Little League in British Columbia, champions of the Canada Region.
Manzi is a catcher, and he said he could envision his future on display Sunday night. “We’re seeing what it will be like for us to be major leaguers in a decade or so.”