ESPN’s ‘Sunday Night Baseball’ To Host MLB Little League Classic
The Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals will play a special regular season game to celebrate youth baseball during the 2017 Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA, on Sunday, August 20. The game will air nationally on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball and ESPN Radio at 7:00 p.m. (ET).
MLB and the MLBPA will host the “MLB Little League Classic,” in which the Pirates will be the home team, at a renovated BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field, the home of the Class-A Williamsport Crosscutters of the NY-Penn League. To start the day, Major Leaguers will attend Little League World Series games as a unified demonstration of their passion and commitment to helping grow the game at the youth level. This day-long baseball celebration culminates later that night, when the Pirates and Cardinals host Little Leaguers and their families at the MLB Little League Classic.
The Little League Baseball World Series is an international championship tournament for children ages 10-12 held annually in Williamsport, the headquarters for Little League International. Each year, countries from around the world compete on a global stage with games airing on ESPN and streamed via WatchESPN.
Major Leaguers (active through 2016) who have played in the Little League World Series include Michael Conforto (2004, National Little League, Schenectady, NY), Todd Frazier (1998, Toms River American Little League, Toms River, NJ), Randal Grichuk (2003 and 2004, Lamar National Little League, Richmond, TX), Lance Lynn (1999, Brownsburg Little League, Brownsburg, IN), Yusmeiro Petit (1994, Coquivacoa Little League, Maracaibo, Venezuela), Jurickson Profar (2004, Oabao Little League, Willemstad, Curaçao), Colby Rasmus (1999, Phenix City National Little League, Phenix City, AL), Michael Saunders (1999, Gordon Head Little League, Victoria, British Columbia), Jonathan Schoop (2004, Pabao Little League, Willemstad, Curaçao), Ruben Tejada (2001, Activo 20-30 Little League, Santiago, Panama) and Devon Travis (2003, East Boynton Beach Little League, Boynton Beach, FL). Additionally, Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash played in the 1989 Little League World Series for Northside Little League out of Tampa, FL.
Major League Baseball and the Players Association continue to commit resources to growing the games of baseball and softball, on both the grassroots and developmental levels. In particular, MLB and the MLBPA jointly support a variety of programs through the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation, including the Elite Development Invitational. Through the Major League Baseball Players Trust, the charitable arm of the MLBPA, Players are dedicated to providing baseball and baseball related experiences to underserved youth, special needs youth and the children of veterans and active military personnel. The PLAY BALL initiative, which is supported by both USA Baseball and USA Softball, is MLB’s collective effort to encourage young people and communities to participate in baseball- or softball-related activities, including formal leagues, events and casual forms of play. 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. MLB and all 30 Clubs have committed $40 million of resources toward the growth and sustainability of the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program. Additionally, MLB supports developmental initiatives aimed at engaging underserved communities, particularly MLB Youth Academies and amateur development camps such as the Dream Series and the Breakthrough Series.
BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field, which opened in 1926, is the second oldest Minor League ballpark in the United States. More than 560 Major Leaguers, including Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan, Bill Mazeroski, Jim Rice, and Jim Bunning, have worn a professional baseball uniform for Williamsport.
ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball commentators – Dan Shulman, analysts Jessica Mendoza and Aaron Boone, and reporter Tim Kurkjian – will call the MLB Little League Classic. The game will also be available on ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio and streamed via WatchESPN. MLB Network and MLB.com also will provide comprehensive coverage of the event.
This event follows the successful Fort Bragg Game in 2016, the first regular season game of a professional sport ever played on an active military base.