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Little League, Big Dreams

This article is more than 13 years old.

Having settled on the 2005 Little League World Series as the subject for a book, Charles Euchner was fortunate that the spectacle escaped charges of fraud and other ruinous difficulties. The team that won the title, Hawaii, didn't have to give back the trophy.

On the other hand, the games leading up to the championship were not idiocy-free. In one of them, for example, former major leaguer Dante Bichette, who was helping to coach the team from Florida, distinguished himself by shouting insults at the members of the opposing team. He justified his conduct by saying that at the big league level, the sign-stealing of which he was accusing the group of twelve-year-old boys from California would have called for a fastball or two to the coconut. Since he couldn't call for beanballs in Williamsport, Bichette figured the best alternative was to call the kids on the other side of the field names.

Euchner does a fine job of balancing his coverage of kids' baseball in general and the Little League World Series in particular. He's impressed by the level of competition and the extent to which the most proficient 12-year-olds understand the game and execute the plays. But he also notices that lots of the kids in Williamsport seem to be having as much fun trading pins with each other and running aimlessly around the baseball complex as they do playing actual games, and he comes away from his Williamsport adventure not entirely sure that most of the kids he met wouldn't be better off if the adults in their lives would lay off trying to organize so thoroughly the "leisure" of their children.

This program aired on August 3, 2006. The audio for this program is not available.

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