Last week, Major League Baseball announced a historic first – the creation of the “MLB Little League Classic” – to be played exclusively on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball during the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., on Aug. 20 at 7 p.m. ET.
The “MLB Little League Classic” will feature the St. Louis Cardinals versus the Pittsburgh Pirates in a special regular-season game aimed to celebrate youth baseball. It will be part of a significant week of baseball coverage across ESPN platforms, all leading up to the Little League World Series Championship on ABC, Sunday, Aug. 27.
ESPN is no stranger to uniting major leaguers and youth players. In fact, the company’s Little League Crossover initiative on Sunday Night Baseball in recent years has provided many local youth baseball and softball players the opportunity to interact with their MLB heroes.
Front Row gathered comments from the Sunday Night Baseball broadcast team, who will call the “MLB Little League Classic,” about the collective efforts to galvanize the youth baseball audience through this initiative:
Dan Shulman (play-by-play):
I think the opportunity to connect our major league coverage with our Little League coverage is tremendous. It goes without saying the Little Leaguers would take a keen interest in the Sunday Night Baseball game, and I’m quite certain the major leaguers would feel the same way about being around the Little League World Series. I would imagine it would bring back fond memories for them. Even at the major league level, baseball is still a game, one that every player began playing as a kid, purely for the fun of it. I’m sure we will do our best to convey that during our coverage that weekend.
Jessica Mendoza (analyst):
These boys and girls are the future of the sport, not only because they play it, but they will change how the sport is watched, enjoyed and shared. So merging the best of the game today with the unique talent of the future will make for an incredible week for baseball.
Aaron Boone (analyst):
I believe the long-term health and popularity of our great sport is dependent on many factors, perhaps none greater than youth participation.