Following Sunday’s successful Little League Classic, it appears that Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred wants to stage the event in future seasons.
On Sunday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals squared off in the first ever Little League Classic. Played at BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field–home of the Williamsport Crosscutters (Short Season A; NY-Penn League)–the event staged in conjunction with the Little League World Series managed to resonate with many, including Manfred.
Manfred has gone as far as to say that he hopes the game is “not a one-off,” and is staged again down the road. BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman received numerous renovations leading up to the event, including an upgraded playing surface and irrigation system, relocated bullpens, expanded protective netting, improved seating, and Logger’s Landing, a new premium deck down the first base line. Those renovations, along with the temporary fixtures installed for Sunday’s game, made an impression on Manfred, who says he is hopeful that the Little League Classic can be played again in the future. More from The Daily Item:
“I was actually shocked at how great it looked,” said Manfred, who toured Bowman Field roughly a year ago.
“The quality of the field is something minor league players will have here for a very long time,” he said. “It was a lot of work to do. The state of Pennsylvania was a big partner of ours.”
Manfred noted that because the ballpark’s tenants — the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters — are a Philadelphia farm club, the Phillies would be a natural fit to one day be the “home” team for another installment of the Little League Classic.
“I hope it’s not a one-off,” Manfred said. “I think the day has been a positive. The players are really positive about it. Some details have to be worked out to put us in position to do it again. I’m really hopeful that’s the case. A relationship here with Little League is really important to growing the game.”
MLB has scheduled regular season games at unique venues in each of the past two seasons, with Sunday’s showing at Williamsport preceded by 2016’s contest between the Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves at a temporary ballpark at Fort Bragg, so certainly the league is building a track record of staging these types of events. As noted, BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field received numerous upgrades in preparation for the game. We took a closer look at those improvements in a feature last week.