The Little League Classic will return in August 2019, when the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs meet at Williamsport, PA’s BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field.
Major League Baseball is quickly making a tradition of the annual Little League Classic. First held in conjunction with the Little League World Series in August 2017, the Little League Classic features an MLB regular-season game at BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field, the home of Minor League Baseball’s Williamsport Crosscutters (Short Season A; NY-Penn League).
MLB is already making plans for 2019, as it has been announced that the Pirates and Cubs will play in next year’s Little League Classic on Sunday, August 18. For MLB, this announcement not only solidifies its commitment to the annual event, but also reflects some broader initiatives. More from MLB.com:
The game will air nationally that evening on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” and ESPN Radio at 7 p.m. ET. The Little League Classic, along with the June 13 matchup between the Royals and Tigers in Omaha, Neb., will make up the inaugural GEICO Summer Series.
The excitement surrounding the Little League Classic can be traced back to the PLAY BALL initiative, which is supported by Little League International, USA Baseball, USA Softball, Minor League Baseball and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and is MLB’s largest effort to encourage young people and communities to participate in baseball- or softball-related activities. PLAY BALL events have become MLB’s signature youth engagement activity during the professional and amateur baseball and softball calendar, including key dates throughout the MLB offseason and into the World Series.
“The PLAY BALL initiative is really about partnerships, like our partnership with Little League International, doing good work in this space,” said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred during Sunday’s telecast of the 2018 Little League Classic between the Mets and Phillies. “It’s investment. We’re investing in under-served communities where kids haven’t had an opportunity to play. And the owners believe, and we believe, that we’re seeing return on that investment, in terms of greater interest in the game.
This will mark the Pirates’ second appearance in the Little League Classic. The club was a participant in the inaugural 2017 edition of the game, when it faced the St. Louis Cardinals.
The 2018 edition of the Little League Classic took place on Sunday, featuring a matchup between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets. The Mets won by a final of 8-2.