This past week, all three of Cranston Western Little League’s baseball teams won District I championships while the softball 12’s won at states.
We all know that CWLL has had a sterling resume over the past three decades, this is nothing new. However, these past few seasons have been remarkable and the league boasts the best feeder system in the state.
Between the coaches, volunteers, and of course the players, CWLL has become the most stable Little League organization in Rhode Island. I can’t wait to see the next leg of the race. If these teams sweep the state championship brackets, that will be extraordinary.
When thinking about the future, Cranston High School West should be excited. Sure, some of these kids will head to private schools, choose to focus on other sports, move to another school district, which is inevitable. But even if a handful of these kids from each club stick around, the Falcons are going to have an impressive crop of players in the coming years.
It reminds me of the Warwick North kids that went on to play for Pilgrim two years ago. The Pats made the Division I playoffs and were on the brink of a championship appearance. For a public school to go toe to toe with schools like Hendricken and La Salle, it was quite impressive. I was not in Rhode Island when North made it to Williamsport, but seeing some of the throwback videos that parents shared was surreal.
Obviously the focus every summer is what these teams do on the field, but when looking at the big picture of the league, CWLL continues to be one of the region’s best youth sports organizations. The facilities are always well kept, provide plenty of amenities and will continue to expand as the league broke ground on a new building that will further provide for local ballplayers.
There is nothing else to say but “wow” and to tip your cap to what this league has accomplished these past few summers. Especially after the pandemic back in 2020. Some of these leagues felt doomed, some have still not recovered. CWLL is rolling right along and didn’t skip a beat. That is a huge credit to the board of volunteers and parents. CWLL continues to be the gold standard for youth sports in the state along with Warwick Firefighters Soccer.
Now, another baseball topic. It is summer, after all.
I was late to the party when it came to Los Angeles Angels’ phenom Shohei Ohtani, who has grown into the world’s best player.
When he was a young prospect in Japan, he was nicknamed “The Japanese Babe Ruth” as he was that league’s best hitter and pitcher, all in one. He was highly coveted by Major League teams and finally landed with the Angels.
I thought it was a gimmick, especially when the Angels said they would continue to use him as both a pitcher and hitter. I never thought in a million years it would work. I figured it would be a way to sell tickets for a season or two before he would have to choose one or the other.
Now, just a few years later, he is arguably the best power hitter in the world and is a stud pitcher. He’s a true middle of the order slugger and No. 1 ace on the hill. It’s remarkable … a once in a generation talent.
He’s wildly popular and an international sensation, but I don’t think that people understand just how legendary of a player he is becoming in front of our very eyes. We are truly looking at the next Babe Ruth and possibly the greatest player of all time.
Right now, we see him as an All-Star player that is a blast to watch. He is absolutely both of those, but he has a chance to be the greatest human to ever play the game of baseball and we are living to watch it unfold right in front of us.
Sure, it’s still early in his career and he will have to keep up this pace to fulfill that assessment. But, he has gotten better each season and has been undoubtedly the best player in the league this season, and he’s not even 30 years old yet. Give it three or four more seasons like this, I believe he will be in that conversation.
His contract with the Angels expires at the end of this season and he will receive the biggest contract in the history of the sport and possibly the biggest sports contract in North American history. He deserves every penny because whatever team signs him will be getting its new best hitter, its new best pitcher, and its new fan favorite. That team’s offense, pitching and ticket sales will improve dramatically. He’s a legend in the making and I am thrilled to have realized it before it was all said and done.
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