2014 Little League Baseball® World Series


Baseball Commissioner-elect Rob Manfred pays a special visit to the Little League Baseball® World Series

Read MLB.com's article: Rob Manfred focused on development of youth baseball

Baseball Commissioner-elect Rob Manfred paid a special visit to the Little League Baseball® World Series, throwing out the opening pitch on Wednesday, Aug. 20 before the start of the game between the Mid-Atlantic Region (Taney Little League) and West Region (Mountain Ridge Little League) with a trip to the U.S. Championship Game on the line.

Mr. Manfred, a graduate of Rome (N.Y.) Little League, became the first alumni of Little League® to be elected Baseball Commissioner, filling the position following the retirement of Commissioner Allan H. “Bud” Selig.

Prior to the game, Mr. Manfred held a special press conference with reporters located at Williamsport covering the tournament. During his press conference, Mr. Manfred covered a wide range of topics, from the story of Mo’ne Davis to encouraging kids in the inner city to take part in America’s past time.

Mr. Manfred said this was his first trip to the Little League® World Series as an observer, and he said he has been extremely impressed with the facilities and the entire complex as a whole.

When asked about Mo’ne Davis, he said all you can do is embrace her story and hope she continues to grow. “I think it’s really a great story for Little League.”

He went on to say that she is something special and shown it on the baseball diamond throughout the tournament. “I think she’s proved that,” he said.

Another topic of conversation was the growth of baseball in the inner city, with both the Taney Little League team from Philadelphia and the Jackie Robinson West Little League from Chicago, Ill., advancing deep into the tournament. Mr. Manfred said baseball is a sport for kids from all different backgrounds.

“We want all kinds of kids playing,” he said. “Baseball is a wide open sport.”

He said it's all good from his and the Major League's perspective when kids from all over the country are tuning in to watch the tournament in Williamsport.

Mr. Manfred said one of the priorities at the top of Major League Baseball’s list is encouraging programs like Little League®, and when ESPN draws that kind of rating, it doesn’t make sense not too.

Mr. Manfred also talked about technology, and how that has become a key component of the culture surrounding Major League Baseball. “MLB is about technology,” Mr. Manfred said. In particular, he noted how MLB.com has become a boon for the sport.

Besides up to date news, scores, and standings, MLB.com also offers MLB.TV, which allows the avid MLB fan to watch every out-of-market game live on over 400 different devices.

This year, as well as other years, Little League has also placed a heavy emphasis on technology through their partnership with GameChanger, allowing them to provide live stats and almost instantaneous game recaps following the completion of games. Through GameChanger, fans are able to go back and view the play-by-play action from inning to inning with pitch-by-pitch sequences included.

Just as MLB.com has become a boon for Major League Baseball, South Williamsport continues to be the place to be for Little League baseball fans the world over for ten days during the middle of August, where a true-world champion is crowned.

“It really is a great pleasure to be here,” Mr. Manfred said.

The West Region went on to win the game against the Mid-Atlantic Region, sending the West to the United States Championship game. And America tuned in. Telecasted on ESPN, the game became the highest rated Little League® World Series telecast on ESPN, as it drew a 3.4 overnight rating. That was up from last year’s corresponding game between California and Connecticut, which drew a 1.4 overnight rating.

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