Jason Lindquist (jlindquist) wrote,
Jason Lindquist

What's going on here?

Why are the Russians selling T-shirts and trinkets in the stands? They're equipped, and their expenses are covered. I don't believe their families came with, at least I haven't seen any evidence of them. I hope it's just to cover souveniers and incidentals if their hosts manage to take them out somewhere. The experience of buying a T-shirt off of one was eerily like Tijuana, in terms of the seller's friends trying to persuade you to buy from them too (or even, instead.) They really deserve better than that.

Driving out to Williamsport from my hotel in Wilkes-Barre (closest I could find in early February, an 81 mile drive away,) I discovered that all the portable LED message signs along the highway have K-band radar emitters attached to them. I don't know if they have cameras, if they have a double use as "watch your speed" warnings, or if they're just there to camoflage the real Pennsylvania State Police cruisers from the radar detector crowd. Pennsylvania, by the way, is goddamned beautiful. Lots of hills, not unlike north San Diego county, except that here they're all green. And you can get the Score, WGN, and WBBM-AM faintly on the radio at night.

You might not be able to tell from the TV feed, but the Little League complex is right on US Highway 15. If you watch a game at Lamade Stadium on TV, you see a large brick building at the top of the hill beyond the outfield fence. That's the LL HQ admin building, the front of which is fifty feet from the pavement. I take that as a testament the place was built at a time when the kind of mad traffic it's seeing right now was unimaginable. You know you're coming up on it when you see the large US flag on its tall pole poke up over the horizon. They handle parking pretty well, at least on a slow day like today. There's a city park across the street behind the complex, most of which has been converted for parking.

Last year, they only used metal detectors for one day of the series--the day President Shrub made his appearance. Thanks to the post-September hysteria, they're now using them all the time. I don't like this one bit. I don't believe they'll make one bit of difference. Anybody that wants to make some kind of sick political statement could still get in to kill and injure, they'd just have to employ other means no more difficult than walking in the front door. I've got some issues with Little League disseminating information, and the security measures are probably some of the worst. They ban "large bags", but a) they don't define what's too large, so you don't find out 'till they bounce you at the entrance, and b) they're searching everything anyways, so what difference does it make? They're also banning coolers, which is ridiculous for the same reasons. That ban has a real economic impact... some of these teams have come a long way. Their families are on a real shoestring budget. Shelling out a buck-fifty a bottle for water is hammering them. In the long line for the two registers in the gift shop, I was talking to one of the moms from Guam. They'd bought a couple of cases of water, cheap, and a cooler to carry it in. Can't use any of it. And it's fucking hot here. Okay, not as bad as the 106° in San Bernardino last week, but damned humid. You need water here. You shouldn't have to bankrupt yourself to get it. Definitely some room for improvement here.

Anyways, everything today was a pitcher's duel, and I expect more of the same tomorrow. Everybody's throwing their #1 pitcher. Hawaii beat Massachusetts 3-2 on four hits (with two home runs, including a bottom-of-the-sixth solo shot to end it,) giving up only three. Ft. Worth beat Missouri 1-0 on three hits, giving up only one, in the bottom of the sixth. Ironically, Ft. Worth's only run would not have scored were it not for a tragic error by Missouri's center fielder--he ran down a deep shot to the warning track, dove, caught it... and then dropped it. The Canada-Saudi Arabia game was about as close, but I don't have details. (That Saudi team's comprised of American military dependents.)

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