ROCHESTER, NY - There was no extravagant ceremony. No screaming throng of fans cheering them on as they took the banner. No celebratory parade down the streets of Long Beach, Calif.
The only people in attendance were the players themselves, and coaches standing around one more time together as a team at a random Little League field in Long Beach shortly after the 1992 Little League World Series had ended.
Long Beach was blown out in the actual game against a team from Zamboanga, Philippines, in the Little League World Series championship that year, 15-4, but a report came out after the Series indicating that players from the Filipino team were in violation of age or residency requirements. And that forced Little League to disqualify the Filipino team.
That meant the Filipino team lost its final game, which just happened to be the championship against Long Beach. The forfeit meant Long Beach was the actual 1992 Little?League World Series champions.
Well, at least on paper.
While it was nice to be named champions because of the violation, it wasn't what that group of kids wanted. It certainly wasn't ideal for Sean Burroughs, an energetic 11-year-old jokester who claimed it was a bittersweet feeling. He said it left them feeling angry they got robbed of a title on the field where it was meant to be played.
"Twelve-year-old kids get cheated. It's just a game, you don't realize it, but they take it pretty darn serious (in other countries)," Burroughs said. "There's a lot of stuff that goes on I guess in those other countries that winning is the only thing they should do."
Burroughs doesn't remember much from that 1992 World Series aside from meeting people from different cultures, trading pins, sliding on the hill behind Lamade Stadium and, as Burroughs put it with a grin on his face, "meeting chicks."
But he does remember being in South Williamsport and hearing rumors going around about that Filipino team while the series was being played.
Everyone wants a chance to redeem themselves in sports, but it rarely ever presents itself. Luckily for Long Beach and Burroughs, they got that chance again in 1993 with making a repeat appearance in South Williamsport.
"To get there twice, just a crazy experience. I was fortunate. We were so good, too," Burroughs said. "We had a lot of people on that team that played college baseball and a couple guys like myself that got drafted in professional baseball. We just were fortunate to play with a lot of good players."
While a handful of those players on that 1993 team grew up into decent college players or made brief stints in the pros, Burroughs' career easily stands out.
The 6-foot-1 third baseman was drafted out of high school and joined the San Diego Padres in 2002, turning down a scholarship offer to play at the University of Southern California. Since then, he's bounced around Major League Baseball for various teams.
Prior to his MLB debut, Burroughs helped the United States baseball team win the gold medal at the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney, Australia.
Currently, Burroughs plays for the Rochester Red Wings, a Class AAA minor-league affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.
Burroughs and Long Beach won the title in 1993 at Lamade Stadium, defeating Panama City, Panama, 3-2, and solidified a spot in the history books as just the third team to win repeat championships.
Long Beach had talent for those two seasons and the kids knew what to do on the baseball field and all that preparation and conditioning comes from the coaching staff. Luckily for Burroughs, his father Jeff was no stranger to baseball as the 1974 American League MVP and 16-year veteran of the majors.
"He knew the right drills to do. He knew what was too much for 12-year-old kids or what was too little and kept everything really laid back," Burroughs said of his father's coaching. "He's not one of those guys that makes you do things over and over and over. He just kind of has you guys go play catch, play some BP and see you later."
As with many Little Leaguers who make it to South Williamsport, the spotlight of being on national television and being the center of attention at the World Series may make some forget to live in the moment and cherish what's at hand.
Burroughs and his teammates won it all in 1993, and at the time, they didn't really think about what they had accomplished. Those handful of young kids were just playing another game that summer, something they had been doing day in and day out since the regular season.
"You don't really realize what you did and how many people were pulling for you and how big it was, how once-in-a-lifetime it is," Burroughs said. "You just go and play and say 'lets do this,' and now you look back and say it was really cool and kind of wish you relished it a little more."
While he may not have relished it as much as he wanted after winning the title, it's safe to say the minor celebrity status they ended up getting may have slightly made up for it.
After the bittersweet letdown of 1992, Burroughs and his teammates and coaches were basking in the limelight in 1993. Burroughs appeared on "The David Letterman Show," joking with the late night host that when he grew up, he wanted to become a gynecologist. The team also appeared on the television game show "Family Feud" and were handed the keys to the city of Long Beach during a championship parade.
"I think as a kid, you always enjoy (the spotlight) because you get some notoriety and just people throughout Long Beach are pumped for you and you kind of brought the city together," Burroughs said.
Burroughs joking around on Letterman just showcases his personality, one of an exuberant and excited little kid who in some ways, never really grew up, still joking around and having fun whenever he can.
"You got to have fun playing. You got to have fun in the locker room. You got to have fun away from the field," Burroughs said. "But when the game starts, you got to be ready to go."
Three years after Burroughs and Long Beach made headlines in South Williamsport, a kid named Clete Thomas helped Panama City, Fla., make its way to the Little League World Series. Unlike Burroughs, Thomas didn't capture a title at Lamade Stadium, but it was the start of another long baseball career.
Thomas went on to win a state baseball championship with Mosley High School in Lynn Haven, Florida, in 2002 and was drafted after his junior year at Auburn University by the Detroit Tigers, being assigned at first in 2005 to Oneonta of the New York-Penn League.
"I've played since I can remember," Thomas said. "So I've always been around (baseball)."
After going up and down the Tigers later throughout his time there, Thomas was claimed in April of this year by the Twins and in May and was assigned to Rochester.
That's where the story gets interesting.
It makes the rare occurrence where two former Little League World Series participants have played alongside one another in the professional leagues.
"It's kind of a small world. He was there a few years after I was there, but you'd be surprised playing against guys or with guys who actually went to Williamsport or played in the World Series to some extent," Burroughs said.
Despite being teammates in the minor leagues all this season, the two former Little Leaguers didn't even know one another played in South Williamsport until a media interview was set up to talk to them in early July.
"He came in to do the interview, I didn't know he played there until he told me," Burroughs said laughing. "So I didn't know that until then. It's kind of funny."
Burroughs and Thomas grew up over 2,000 miles away from one another at opposite ends of the country enjoying themselves playing Little League Baseball and being fortunate enough to each be part of a team that made it to South Williamsport.
Now, they sit just a few feet from one another on the Rochester Red Wings bench, having those summer memories as a bond together all those years ago.
It's definitely a small world.