By Curtis Driscoll
For the families of players in the Little League Baseball® World Series, watching their children become part of a tradition dating back 70 years is an experience in itself. Many parents have traveled thousands of miles and spent several years supporting their Little Leaguers® on the way to this remarkable moment. Although a lot of attention is focused on the players, the World Series is filled with many incredible moments for the families here as well.
Marian Cartnick has spent the last seven years watching her son, Mid-Atlantic Region shortstop Chris Cartnick, play baseball. Williamsport is the furthest she has ever traveled to watch him play. The entire journey hit her when she witnessed the Grand Slam Parade through Williamsport, and realized how much this meant to her entire family.
“When we saw him last night on the float, it was the first time my husband and I cried because it felt really real,” said Mrs. Cartnick. “I want to soak in every moment here, just to remember these moments for a lifetime.”
Randy Kellerman flew in Tuesday night from Southern California to watch his son, West Region pitcher and infielder Mason Kellerman. Since he got to Williamsport, he has toured the grounds, went to the parade, and spent a lot more at the gift store than he intended. Kellerman believes the games and the experience here for his family will become lfe-long special memories.
“I love baseball, and I love that my son is playing baseball at this level, and we all share that together as a family,” said Mr. Kellerman.
The magnitude of the Little League Baseball World Series means that other family members come as well. Mike Wisniewski is the uncle of Great Lakes Region catcher Joseph Wisniewski and played Little League when he was a kid. He loved watching the Grand Slam Parade and seeing the sights of the Williamsport area with other members of his family and friends.
“I’ve been teary eyed for a week,” said Mr. Wisniewski. “We made it, and the emotions amongst the team and families is indescribable.”
The international reach of the tournament has also given a chance for people from other countries to come and visit.
Robert and Kimberly Orr have been on the road the last three weeks watching their son, Robert, play in qualifying tournaments in Canada. During their time in the United States, they went to Philadelphia and visited the Museum of Art steps made famous in the “Rocky” movie and the Liberty Bell. One of their best experiences, since they got to Williamsport, was having the locals pay for their beverages at local restaurant.
“Everybody is happy … It's like a parallel universe, or going to Disneyland,” said Orr. “Disneyland is about happiness, and this is, I believe, the happiest place on earth right now. I think that Williamsport has done a marvelous job of hosting 16 teams from all over the world.”