The Taney Dragons are making Pennsylvanians Proud

I must admit that I have not watched a lot of baseball this year.  My Philadelphia Phillies have been in last place most of the season.  Ryan Howard took the money and ran.  Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins do not produce the excitement for me that they once did.  I am happy that they finished closed the deal and won a Championship in 2008.  It has been downhill since then.  On the other hand, the success of the Taney Dragons has me glued to the television for the last two games.

One of the major story lines is the emergence of Mo'Ne Davis as a role model for young girls.  Mo'Ne became the first girl to pitch a shut out in a Little League World Series game.  She also hit an RBI single last night to help Taney win against the Pearland, TX team which is representing the Southwest.  They beat a tough Tennessee team to open the series and have been playing excellent baseball.  It was exciting to watch.
I know the discipline that it takes to excel at baseball.  These kids are well coached and everyone is respectful.

The Taney Dragons are the first team to ever represent Philadelphia in the Little League World Series.  I find that hard to believe.  I remember the suburban teams being very good when I was growing up.  The Carpenter Cup was one of the premier tournaments for baseball players from the PA-DE-NJ areas.  Mike Piazza was one of the most famous players to compete.  It seems like a New Jersey or Delaware team would always win though.  One I finished playing at St. Rita's and Ridgeway, my interest in baseball waned.  I also got turned off by the steroid scandal involving Bobby Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire.  Watching Little League baseball is refreshing for the purity.

The Taney team is composed of twelve players from various parts of South Philadelphia.  Many of them played with the Anderson Monarchs.  A few years ago, this team barnstormed across the country.  Their trip recreated the routes that many Negro League players took when they were excluded from the major league system at the time.  Not only are these players representing Philadelphia, they are also a part of history.  I have to give a lot of credit to Steve Bandura.  He would be out at the Marian Anderson Recreation Center faithfully coaching kids in soccer, baseball and flag football.  He also ran a leg with the Olympic flame a few years ago.  His son is the Catcher and a key contributor on this team.

I have to admit that I began to watch True Blood before the game was over.  When I turned, Taney was losing 5 - 3.  The game came on at 7:00 and I got a call from Howard Hamilton at 9:40 that the Taney team was on a comeback trail.  I turned the channel in time to see them score the winning run.  I am sorry that I missed the drama.  Mo'Ne Davis is supposed to pitch on Wednesday.  The team from Nevada put the hurt on a Jackie Robinson team from Chicago.  I am hoping that Taney can play the steady defense and get some timely hitting.  It is a double elimination tournament so we will not be out with a loss.  The Taney team has taken the country by storm.  Magic Johnson and Kevin Durant have tweeted support.  I wish them well as they have given us reason to Hope!!

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