This past Saturday marked the conclusion of another successful Senior League World Series in Bangor. As I reflect back on the week’s action, teams are headed back to their respective homes, some as near as Connecticut, while others travel nearly across to the globe to such far flung locals such as the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
As a local event, the SLWS has a unique quality to it. Unlike our high school play-offs, these teams come to Bangor as relative unknowns to us. We have little way to gauge the relative qualities of the participants until they get here. To me the unknown is part of the beauty of this event
Common questions abound before the series commences. How will the local host team fare against the rest of the world? Which players will we see later on in a professional uniform? By the way there have been eleven players who have reached the major leagues who played in the Senior League World Series. Well over fifty have been drafted. How far have some of the “developing” baseball countries come in terms of being able to compete with the more established baseball nations?
People who have come to enjoy the SLWS for any length of time realize the series is about much more than any of those things. Unlike many other sporting events the series, while competitive, has a generally friendly atmosphere to it. Sure everyone wants to take home that coveted world championship banner, most take the opportunity to meet those from other countries and develop friendships. This after all is the true essence of and what makes the SLWS the special event it is. Many of these relationships fostered during the course of the week continue through the advent of social media.
Locally many people have come together to make the World Series a yearly success. It takes a very dedicated group of volunteers to pull everything together. Many people throughout the week and weeks prior make Mansfield Stadium the immaculate gem it is. Field Director Ron St. Pierre and his hard working staff ensure no detail is overlooked in providing a first class playing surface. Their reward are all the glowing comments made by visitors and locals alike. Players from baseball hotbeds from Texas, California, and Hawaii over the years have commented that Mansfield Stadium is by far the nicest field they have ever played on.
Personally, I have been fortunate enough to serve as the public address announcer and scoreboard operator for all thirteen World Series to be held in Bangor. I get the opportunity to work in the press box with a great crew each August. For all thirteen series, Al Hackett has volunteered as the official scorekeeper. Mr. Hackett is a wealth of baseball knowledge we all can glean from. Chris DeBeck, a longtime baseball fan, has handled our online scoring for the past several seasons. This year the stadium added a new scoreboard and message board, which arrived right before the World Series. Handling the operation of the message board was Tom Hanscom, who will be a senior this fall at John Bapst Memorial High School in Bangor.
As we bring the curtain down on another Senior League World Series and another baseball season at Mansfield Stadium, congratulations to the world champions, the West University Little League of Houston, Texas. Not only did this team have great talent but they played the game the right way, showing tremendous class in the process. Not only they but everyone should be proud in getting to the Senior League World Series. A special thank you goes out to everyone who made this such a special week.