Posts Tagged ‘Little League World Series’

Little League Stadium Williamsport PA

Little League Stadium, Williamsport PA

It’s been an emotionally draining period these last few weeks as we brought my father who is suffering from Alzheimer’s back to this area from Florida.  It’s been hard watching him in his diminished physical and mental state and placing him in a local nursing facility where he could get the care he truly needs didn’t bring a lot of relief.  There’s a constant mild anxiety, a sense of worry mixed with sorrow and just a little guilt.

I know that it will get better by degrees but that is small comfort in the moment.

Yesterday, I finally picked up a brush for the first time in a few weeks.  I knew I had to get back into it because of obligations I have but more so because painting has been my escape route through the years, that place of retreat for me from the problems of the world.  I have found that I can translate my problems, my concerns into paint and off my shoulders.  It felt good yesterday but I still wasn’t able to fully get a foothold in that world.  I was still straddling that calmer place and the new world and environment of my father.

I am sure it was partly because his situation represents a change in my normal routine.  I am an extreme creature of habit and have worked for years to build a healthy and productive routine.  So this change was an upheaval that will take some time to work around and rebuild a new routine that works for me.

I am hoping that today finds me closer to that other world in the paint.  I feel that it will. But if it doesn’t do it today at least I have another constant, another part of my routine to which I can turn with the assurance that it will almost always have something to offer.


The baseball gods can be merciless.  Ask a Chicago Cubs fan.  But sometimes they show a little tenderness and mercy, giving you a wonderful gift (or an escape route) when you really need it.

Over the past few weeks it has been a real boost and diversion to watch the emergence of rookie catcher Gary Sanchez for the Yankees who has been putting on a historic power display as the heir apparent to the legacy of Ruth, Gehrig Dimaggio, Mantle and Jeter.  There’s a buzz every time he steps to the plate that is a thrill to behold.  I know that it can’t last at this pace but when the baseball gods smile you have to just enjoy the moment.

Plus these same baseball gods even decided to give a local Little League team from just down the road in Maine-Endwell a bit of magic as they made their way to the final game of the Little League World Series where they play the kids from South Korea today for the championship down in Williamsport.

So today I will visit Dad, try to find a world in the paint and root for those kids from Maine-Endwell.  For this Sunday’s music, here’s a great song from Mabel Scott that pays homage to those baseball gods.  It’s Baseball Boogie  and the video features some great footage of Mickey Mantle, Duke Snider, Willie Mays and Ted Williams.  Take a look, let your toes tap and have a great day.  Go, Maine-Endwell!

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9GC Myers- Coming to an Understanding

A couple of years ago, back in April of 2010, I wrote here about one of my paintings being selected by the then Ambassador to Nepal,  Scott DeLisi,  for display in his offices at the American Embassy in Kathmandu.  And earlier this year, I wrote again about that painting being part of a intercultural exhibition and gala featuring the art of a number of Nepalese artists and the eight American artists whose work hung at the embassy.  Being chosen by Ambassador DeLisi was a great honor for me, particularly since  there aren’t a lot of chances for an artist to represent their country in any meaningful way.  I almost felt like an Olympian, even if only in a very small way.

Ambassador DeLisi   however had his assignment altered and left that position earlier this year, which meant that the painting in Kathmandu was returned to the gallery.  My Olympic dream seemed to be at an end.

However, Mr. DeLisi was nominated by President Obama to be Ambassador to the African nation of Uganda and was confirmed by the Congress in May.  Yesterday, I was notified by the Principle Gallery that the Ambassador had requested three of my paintings for display at the Embassy in Kampala.

I feel Olympian once again!  I was especially thrilled that it was going to Uganda after having watched the young Ugandan boys who came to Williamsport, PA  in the past few weeks as the first African team to play in the Little League World Series.  It was a great story as the other teams and the crowds there seemed to truly embrace these kids.  Remarkably, they won a game even though most of the kids had only been playing  baseball  (or even known about baseball, for that matter) for about six months.

But I was mostly thrilled at the prospect of my work once again being representative of our country and honored that  Ambassador DeLisi had once again found something in it that enabled his decision.  I hope these paintings serves him well in Uganda.

The pieces chosen are shown above and below.

GC Myers- Pot Luck

GC Myers- Sovereign Solitude

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There was an opening round game last night at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA.  I know that doesn’t sound too interesting at face value.  I mean, c’mon, it’s a couple dozen 11 and 12 year olds playing ball. And it’s only an opening round game  in a double elimination tournament.  So if they lose it doesn’t rule them out from potentially winning eveything.  In other words, it’s not now or never.

But this game was not your typical game.  It matched a team from LaGrange , Kentucky with a team from Clinton County, Pennsylvania, a rural Central Pennsylvania county only twenty minutes down the road from Williamsport.

Local boys.  Local fever. 

The crowd started amassing before the 5 PM  game prior to the Clinton County game which started at 8 PM.  Convoys of buses from Clinton County swarmed into Williamsport.  By the time the first pitch was thrown the stands and hillsides of the landscaped bowl in which the field sits was packed in a way that it had never been in the 64 years of its existence. 

41,848 fans to be exact. 

To put that in perspective, the first place New York Yankees were playing the Twins in Minnesota and drew a sell-out crowd of 41, 328– 500 less  fans.  And the Boston Red Sox were in Kansas City  playing before a crowd of 21,262– almost half the size of the crowd smushed together on a Pennsylvania hillside, most rooting for a Clinton County victory.

But, alas, fortune was not smiling on the youngsters from Clinton County.  They lost 1-0 in a tense, action filled game that featured the LaGrange ace striking out 12 Pennsylvanians as well as scoring the only run of the game on a first inning home run.  Clinton County had several opportunities but just couldn’t push a run across the plate. But both teams played extraordinarily well and didn’t seem at all phased by the huge crowd around them.  I am always amzed at the composure these kids maintain in what seem to be pressure packed scenarios.  I think of the people who talk about having thrown out the ceremonial first pitch at  major league games and how they say the pressure is just remarkable.  And that’s just to throw a lob in the general direction of the plate.  Myself,  I would have  a hard time just swinging a bat before such a crowd, let alone trying to hit a fastball.

But these kids seem oblivious and perform in a cool manner with skills that seem out of line with their typically small bodies.  Amazing. I’m hoping Clinton County can bounce back.  If they can somehow fight their way to the final game, I think they might have to close down Williamsport.

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I watched a documentary last night on ESPN, Little Big Men, that tells the tale of the Little League team from Kirkland, Washington as it marched through the 1982 Little League World Series to face  and defeat the mighty Taiwanese team in the final game.  It was considered a huge upset at the time as Taiwan had thoroughly dominated the World Series for the past decade, winning 9 times out of 11 years.  The only time they didn’t win came in a loss to champion Japan one year and in 1975 when foreign teams were temporarily banned from competing.  Apparently, the Little League wasn’t quite committed to the term “world” in World Series in 1975. 

It’s a nice documentary of a group of kids accomplishing big things.  All of the team members carry great memories from their experience but the documentray is not just about the glory of the moment.  No, it’s concerned more with the aftermath and the treatment of one player, Cody Webster, by other parents.

Cody Webster was the big star of the 1982 Kirkland team.  He was a 5′ 7″, 174 pound 12 year-old who threw the baseball hard and hit it even harder.  In the final game, he baffled the Taiwan team with his fastballs and curves  and at the plate hit a tape-measure homerun that sealed their fate.  After he struck out the final Taiwanese batter, his teammates poured onto the mound and he carried his first baseman in one arm like a child.  He certainly seemed larger than life.

But he was simply a 12 year old kid who wanted to just be part of the team, not be the big star.  Even at the time, he expressed concern that his teammates weren’t getting the recognition they deserved, that there was too much focus on him. 

And there was focus on him.  Parades.  Rallies.  Television appearances.  It was pretty heady stuff for a shy 12 year old.

But the worse part came soon after.  His celebrity made him a huge target.  In the years after, as he competed in baseball, other teams wanted to beat the kid who won the World Series.  In their minds, to beat the champ made them the champ, which is all fine and good.  However, the parents of these other  teams took it to another level.  Cody Webster was swore at repeatedly and even spat on by opposing parents.  In the documentary, one of his teammates broke down in tears, recalling all the terrible taunts Cody had to endure as a kid but saying that he was glad that it was Cody, of all the team members, who had to take it because he was the only one of them who could have endured it.

And he did.  Thankfully, this is a cautionary tale that doesn’t have a tragic end.  Cody doesn’t end up dead or living in a cardboard box.  He did give up baseball several times in this teens until throwing it in for good as a college freshman.  As he said, he was a good baseball player at 12 but not at 17.  The fun had left the game with every curse hurled at him as a 12 and 13 year old until the joy that was so apparent in the team’s victory seemed like ancient history. 

But he did endure.  And as he says, it’s okay.  He coaches and instructs elite players in the Seattle area now and I’m sure he has a lot to pass on about handling the pressures put on these kids by parents with grand expectations.  Adults who take the joy out of a little boy’s game.

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