Tip-Off 8/9/13 (featuring @HouseShoes) Jackie Robinson West All Star team gives Chicago a reason to smile
Plays Michigan Saturday at 1 pm for a berth in the Little League World Series
With all the violence in Chicago giving the nation a reason to be thoroughly concerned about the welfare of children living on the south side, there finally comes a glimpse of happiness by way of Little League baseball. This is a time to smile Chicago, because the talented kids from your own Jackie Robinson West Little League All Star team are on the verge of making it to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. I’m surprised manager Darold Butler’s dominant team hasn’t received more attention. At 5-0, they are the regional number one seed heading into the Great Lakes Championship to be played Saturday — where they face Grosse Pointe (Wood-Shores), Michigan at 1 pm EST on ESPN. The winner then moves on to the Little League World Series. Turning on the game last night, I was surprised to see that one of the teams playing was from Chicago. Given all the murders receiving token national coverage despite the incredible volume of shooting deaths tearing apart the south side, you would think the nation’s eyes would begin to shine a positive light on this talented bunch of 11-13 year youngsters. Armed with a versatile mix of size, speed, power, sound coaching, great pitching and superior athletic coordination on the baseball diamond, the team named after pioneer Jackie Robinson is reminiscent of the ’04 and ’05 Willemstad, Curacao squads that finished first in 2004 and second in 2005 overall, respectively. Shortstop Jurickson Profar was a star on those Curacao teams before ultimately shooting up the minor league ranks and becoming top outfield prospect for the Texas Rangers.
Thursday, at Stokely Field in Indianapolis, the team from Chicago defeated Wisconsin (Burlington Little League) 12-2 in a five inning game because of the ten run rule. Right handed pitcher Kendall Pettis allowed just 3 hits and struck out 6. Marcus Wright was the hitting star with a homer to put Chicago up 10 and close out scoring in the 5th. Wright, who wears 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson after the team saw the movie 42 in April, was on base 4 times and scored 3 runs. Chicago, who has scored in double digits 5 out of 6 games in the Great Lakes region, had 15 hits and batted around early to go up 10-0 before Wisconsin put 2 runs on the board. Chicago defeated Wisconsin earlier in pool play 15-5.
Maybe a national buzz will materialize if Chicago defeats Michigan Saturday and goes deep into the prestigious little league tournament. Imagine the story if Chicago wins it all. It would be a shame if the team isn’t covered outside of token blogs, because Chicago’s youth desperately needs something to inspire an upward turn in morale. Applauding Jackie Robinson West for not only being great baseball players, but also exemplary kids, would be the start of doing just that. These kids are champions regardless of what happens moving forward.
Good luck Chicago. Go get it…
To the links…
Steelers’ WR Plaxico Burress suffers torn rotator cuff, career could be in limbo (Sporting News).
A-Rod on Bronx return: ‘This is why I came back’ (USA Today).
Many college football stars’ autographs available for purchase (Freep).
I totally agree with this: Jeanie Buss: Dad would have wooed Howard (ESPN).
J.R. Smith says Nets a title contender but Knicks ‘still the marquee team in New York’ (New York Daily News).
Jets’ quarterback battle between Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith reaches important juncture tonight (NJ.com)
Wes Welker ‘I put up with’ Belichick (ESPN).
The 5 reasons why we all lowkey love Major League II (TSFJ)
South Miami man allegedly kills wife, posts photos to Facebook of dead body (Miami Herald).
POTUS awards Medal of Freedom to baseball star Banks, Oprah (Reuters).
Snowden’s privacy-oriented email provider shuts down under U.S. government pressure (ZDNet).
Have a great weekend good people!
My man Shoes. This is off the very talented Let it Go…