Sun-Gazette sports story of the year: Pirates and Cardinals visit a revamped Bowman Field for MLB Little League Classic
Come Aug 19, 2018, the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets are scheduled to play a Sunday night game amidst the Little League World Series, right here in Williamsport, one year after the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals made history by doing so this past summer.
That’s because things went so well the first time, thanks in part to efforts from MLB, the players union, Little League, groundskeepers, Bowman Field, the fans who showed up, and even Mother Nature for not dumping any last-minute rain on this baseball parade.
It all made this game the easy choice by the Sun-Gazette sports staff as the 2017 Sun-Gazette sports story of the year, as big of any sports story around here any year.
On the field that night, Josh Bell hit a three-run home run for the Pirates in their 6-3 victory.
But it was more than that. The game’s occurrence necessitated a massive upgrade of Bowman Field to major league standards, by installing a new playing surface and dugouts in addition to previously planned upgrades in the stands.
It was a chance to show a different part of town to a national television audience, one used to seeing the sights and sounds from across the Susquehanna River at Lamade and Volunteer Stadiums.
It was a chance to see big leaguers act like Little Leaguers, even if just for a night, with pregame selfies and postgame handshakes.
It was a chance for a few hundred lucky people to win free tickets from a lottery to join the Little League World Series players and families in the stands.
It was a chance for those people to watch Major League Baseball close up, something that usually involves at least a three-hour drive from here and expensive seats.
It was a chance to show what kind of event this area can put on when given a chance.
And now it has another.
Past top stories
2016: Frank Girardi inducted into College Football Hall of Fame
2015: Lewisburg boys win PIAA Class A soccer title in 15 years, capping perfect season.
2014: Biggest LLWS ever: Mo’ne Davis, Jackie Robinson West, Dave Belisle, and record ratings.
2013: Williamsport Outlaws fold amidst first season of outdoor hockey, cancel six weeks of games.
2012: Ugandans first native African team in the LLWS.
2011: Penn State fires Joe Paterno in wake of Jerry Sandusky child abuse charges.
2010: Jersey Shore and Montgomery girls compete for PIAA softball championships, finish second.
2009: Loyalsock girls earn a PIAA Class A soccer championship.
2008: Loyalsock wins PIAA baseball and softball titles on same day.
2007: Frank Girardi retires after 36 seasons as Lyco football coach.
2006: South Williamsport girls win PIAA Class AA girls soccer championship.
2005: No. 14 seed Bucknell upsets No. 3 seed Kansas in the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament.
2004: Down year: Just one local football team– Montoursville– finishes with a winning record.
2003: Lycoming receiver Ricky Lannetti dies of MRSA the night before an NCAA playoff game.
2002: Louisville’s Aaron Alvey and Fort Worth’s Walker Kelly combined for 40 strikeouts as each throws a maximum 9 innings in a US semifinal. Louisville wins, 2-0 in 11 innings, en route to taking the LLWS title.
2001: Driver Blaise Alexander, of Montoursville, killed in an ARCA series crash.
2000: Montoursville’s Mike Mussina leaves the Baltimore Orioles as a free agent after 10 seasons to sign with the New York Yankees.