With the Little League World Series Championship Game this weekend, we thought we it was a great time to feature nine can't miss baseball events and venues, with a catch. We went off the grid and looked at events that don't involve the major leagues to find our nine favorites. No World Series or All Star Game; no Wrigley or Fenway; but nine events and places that every baseball fan should experience.
The Little League World Series (#49 on The Ultimate Sports List) -- Since 1947, the world’s best little league baseball teams – players 11, 12 and 13 years old -- have gathered in Williamsport, PA to crown their champion. Nestled into a near perfect amphitheater is Howard J. Lamade Stadium, the site of the series and one of the perfect settings for baseball in the United States.
The College World Series (#54 on The Ultimate Sports List)—Omaha, Nebraska is the Mecca of college baseball and has hosted the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship since 1950. After 60 years at venerable Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium, the CWS moved downtown this year. Sadly, Lambart Bartak, the spry 90-year old organist who was once ejected after playing the theme to the Mickey Mouse Club after a bad call, didn't make the move downtown and retired.
Koshien Series (#143 on The Ultimate Sports List) -- High school baseball players realize their dreams of fame by playing in this 49 team single elimination tournament at the venerable Hanshin Koshien Stadium in Kobe, Japan, patterned after the Polo Grounds. Some say that players on the losing teams scoop up a small handful of dirt as a souvenir.
Cape Cod Baseball League -- Since 1885, over 250 of the nation's top collegiate baseball players descend on the Cape each summer to spend two months playing ball for one the league's ten squads. Over 1,000 CCBL alums currently play professional baseball, with just over 200 playing in the Major Leagues. It is considered a great place for collegiate players to showcase their talents as it only allows wooden bats.
Caribbean Series -- Since 1949, the best teams from the Caribbean and South America gather for one week each winter to determine which country rules baseball in Latin America.
Louisville Slugger Museum -- Featuring the world's largest baseball bat, a six-story monster that leans against the building, and the bat Babe Ruth used to hit his last home run, the museum chronicles the history of the Louisville Slugger bat made by Hillerich and Bradsby.
MCU Park -- Located just steps from Coney Island's famed boardwalk, the home of the Brooklyn Cyclones features spectacular views of the Parachute Jump at Coney Island and the Atlantic Ocean.
The Midnight Sun Game -- On the summer solstice each year since 1906, the first pitch at Growden Memorial Park in Fairbanks, AK is thrown out at 10:30 p.m. The game ends around 1:30 a.m. the next morning without the stadium lights having been turned on.
Rickwood Field -- Opened in 1910, it is the oldest professional baseball park in the United States. It served as the home field for both the Birmingham Barons minor league franchise and the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro Leagues.