This year’s Series has potential to be most special ever

There are few communities the size of ours that have a signature event to offer that prompts worldwide attention.

But our community has that in the Little League World Series that starts with a leadoff attraction in the Grand Slam Parade that has grown into an introductory event worthy of the Series.

On Thursday the games begin for the 71st Series and they continue through Sunday, Aug. 27.

There are so many things that make the Series unique and a cut above most other sports attractions.

It is the pure competition among 11- and 12-year-olds playing our country’s national pastime.

It is the participation from a field that is truly worldwide in scope, the participants from all regions of the United States, Latin America, Asia, Europe, Canada and Africa.

It is – this year – a marriage between Major League and Little League Baseball, with the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals playing a major league game at Bowman Field on the first Sunday night of the series.

And, finally, it is the setting – two stadiums embedded in the hills and valley that define our region, with the destination not a major metropolis but rather a modestly populated area that transforms itself into a worldwide host for 11 days each summer.

The only thing comparable to the event here is the College World Series, which is held each June for almost two weeks in Omaha, Nebraska. But that is a national, not international event, and Omaha is much larger than northcentral Pennsylvania.

We are proud of what our region does each year in hosting the Little League World Series and happen to think the people here are deserving of every bit of praise and spotlight they will receive in the days ahead.

To visitors, welcome to our eternally special event in our perpetually special area. To those who live and work here each day, be proud of what we have to offer.

Few areas could do what we are doing in the days ahead.