The Little League World Series:Tips For Your Trip to Williamsport
An Honored Tradition Since 1947
The Little League World Series has been held in Williamsport, Pennsylvania since 1947. Every summer, Little League All-Star Teams comprised of eleven and twelve-year-olds from around the world compete for a chance to come to Williamsport. ESPN and ABC televise the games for weeks as the American and International teams play for a chance at the championship held at the end of August.
The Little League World Series is a revered tradition in sports. It focuses on kids and fun and sportsmanship. Hundreds of thousands of fans descend upon Williamsport every year to watch the Little Leaguers play. This year, my family made the trip to Williamsport for the first time.
If you are thinking of going to see the Little League World Series, or if you are just curious about what it's like to make the trip to Williamsport, here are some "insider tips".
Here is a link for Little League World Series Information:
Other Ideas For When You Visit
TIPS FOR YOUR TRIP
Make Hotel Reservations Months Ahead of Time If you need to reserve a room, make reservations well in advance of August. I sat next to a woman from Maryland who was staying at a campground and made her reservations in January---eight months prior to the series. Another fan from New York said there was "absolutely nothing" around Williamsport when he tried to get a room and was staying forty-five minutes away.
Parking shouldn't be a problem.We were on a bus trip to Williamsport, but I spoke with others who drove and all said parking was not a problem. ( I noticed a $5 charge for some of the car lots.) There are ample bus shuttles from the large parking lots to the fields and drivers drop you at your designated lot. There are also handicap and elderly courtesy shuttles. Some hotels also offer shuttles to the park
Liquids are not allowed in the park. Before entering the park, all fans must surrender liquids, have their bags searched, and go through a metal detector. There is water (and plenty of other drinks) available for purchase (about $2/per) once you are inside.
Get To Games Early If You Want a Seat! This is a biggie. There is no admission price (or tickets) for any of the games. Seats are on a "first come/first serve basis". Exceptions are that sections are reserved for families of the players, and there are other sections where you need special passes.There are handicap sections available as well. Other than that, fans are on their own to find seats. Tradition is to "save seats" by placing something on them such as a sweatshirt or blanket. Although this causes some frustration, fans for the most part seem to respect this practice. We were able to secure excellent seats for all five of us, but we decided to arrive 90 minutes prior to the start of a game. Even that early, fans were already filling the stadium.
Games Switch Between Two Stadiums. There are two stadiums at Williamsport, Lamade Stadium which holds 40,000 and Volunteer Stadium which holds 5,000. On the day we visited, games were scheduled for noon, 2pm, 5pm, and 7pm. The noon game was at Volunteer Stadium, the 2pm game at Lamade, the 5pm at Volunteer, and the 7pm back at Lamade. Many fans "save seats" in each stadium, leaving something on their seats to secure them as they hop from one game to the next. Others leave one game early to find a seat in the other stadium for the next game. We opted to missed the second game in order to secure seats for the third.
"The Hill" is very steep! Many fans choose to sit on a hill behind Lamade stadium. If you have ever watched The Little League World Series, you have seen the hill, and kids sliding down it on cardboard. Fans advised us that although some parts of the hill are flat, most of it is steeper than it appears on tv. Many told us it is hard to get lawn chairs steady on the hill and advise to bring blankets instead instead of chairs. One fan told me he only sat on the hill once because the atmosphere is "crazy" with the kids and the cardboard. It is important to consider that if you are NOT going to sit on the hill, you don't want to have chairs to carry around all day. Many fans also stand around the fences of the fields. It's all a matter of preference and planning ahead.
Food prices are low, for a ballpark. Here are some examples. For $15 dollars we were able to get: a soft pretzel with cheese, a hot dog, chicken tenders, fries and a soda. There are plenty of concession stands and our wait in line for food wasn't too bad. There was also a large pavilion with many picnic tables for families to sit and eat. We were able to find a seat right away at a picnic table for our whole family. By the way, my husband said it was the best hot dog he ever had, and my dad gave the sausage sandwich the same review. Another fan raved about the roast beef.
Restrooms are located at the top of the hill near Lamade Stadium ( a short walk from Volunteer Stadium). Ironically, there was never a line for the ladies' room, but there was almost always a long line for the men's room . My son wondered if that was simply because there were more men attending the Series than women. There was an attendant in the ladies' room keeping it tidy and guiding ladies to empyy stalls and the men in my family also noted that the men's facilities were clean as well. There are also port-o-lavs near the parking lots.
Throughout the day, there was a long line for the gift shop---probably a thirty minute wait just to get into to the store. However, there are smaller gift kiosks located around the park which have nearly all the same merchandise, without the wait. Popular merchandise includes hats ($22) and t-shirts representing the Little League teams participating in the series.
Little League Pledge
I trust in God
I love my country
And will respect its laws
I will play fair
And strive to win
But win or lose
I will always do my best
Why You Should Go
Visiting the Little League World Series is a wonderful experience for anyone who is a fan of sports or a fan of kids. If you have a chance to go, take it.
Here are some reasons why you should go:.
You'll be amazed at the level of talent. Witnessing some of the amazing hits, catches and plays, you'll have to remind yourself that you are watching eleven and twelve-year-olds.
You'll love the atmosphere. There is probably nothing as exciting and heartwarming at the same time as witnessing a group of moms, dads, grandparents, family members and friends cheering on kids they love. We sat right next to the Canada fans for one game, and the Texas fans for another. The level of support was palpable (and defeaning) as they rooted, chanted, yelled and cheered for their teams. You can't help but join in.
For the people you'll meet My family met people from Maryland, New York, and Florida. We all shared a love of baseball, a love of kids, and a love of the The Little League World Series. I also met people from all over my home state of Pennsylvania, who like me, had never been to Williamsport. I was also lucky enough to sit by a Williamsport native who had only missed two Little League World Series her whole life--one time because she had just had a child and another time because she was about to. She was a wealth of information about the Series and her sons were now volunteers at it.
For the fun and excitement. Where else can you get up-close to ESPN camera coverage, or walk right past ESPN reporters? An ESPN tent was set up near the concession stands and cameramen and reporters strolled past us in the stadium constantly as part of their live coverage. During lunch, my husbsand and father watched ESPN film some kids and later saw the footage air on the big screen in Volunteer stadium. If you are a fan of sports or ESPN, it's pretty exciting stuff! The mascot "Dugout" also adds to the fun as he makes appearances in the stands and on the field.
For the message. There is a "volunteer spirit" about the Little League World Series. All workers, including the umpires, are volunteers, and one of the stadiums is named "Volunteer Stadium". The prevailing message is that the Little League World Series is about and for the kids. Before the games, in addition to the Pledge of Allegiance, the Little League Player and Coaches pledges are read aloud. There are also announcements made in the stadium encouraging sportsmanship and reminding adults to be good examples for the youngsters.
The Little League World Series is first and foremost about kids, about fun and about sportsmanship. That is what makes it terrific. That is also why it is a great thing to be a part of, especially in person.