Major League Baseball knows a good thing when they see it. After the success of the inaugural Little League Classic in August, they’re already making plans for the next one. On Friday, they announced the date, teams, and location of the second ever Little League Classic: August 19, 2018, the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets, and Historic Bowman Field in Williamsport, Pa.
— MLB (@MLB) September 29, 2017
The Phillies are actually a natural selection for this special game, as the franchise has a connection to Williamsport — the Williamsport Crosscutters is the Phillies’ Class-A Short Season affiliate, and they play at Historic Bowman Field. Plus, many current Phillies who came up through the minor league system have played for the Crosscutters. First baseman Rhys Hoskins, catcher Cameron Rupp, third baseman Maikel Franco, shortstop Freddy Galvis, and second baseman Cesar Hernandez are just a few.
It was apparent after the first Little League Classic, which took place on Aug. 20 and featured the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals, that it should become a tradition. The players had a chance to interact with Little Leaguers throughout the day, and the players seemed to enjoy it as much as the kids. Tommy Pham and Carlos Martinez bought snow cones for some of the kids, Andrew McCutchen had several of them sign his cleats, and players’ Instagram feeds were filled with adorable photos of grown-up baseballers posing with their smaller counterparts.
With this second selection, we can see the direction these games are going in. The Pirates and Cardinals have a longstanding rivalry, and the Phillies and Mets are divisional foes who once violently hated each other. If both the Mets and Phillies are even mildly competitive next year, that game could be a humdinger. (Though hopefully everyone can keep it together for the post-game handshake.)
Regardless of the level of competition, it’s going to be a great time for the Little Leaguers who get to watch the game and spend time with the players. And it’s great that MLB sees this game as a tradition that’s worth establishing.
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