BANGOR, — When you’re talking baseball, it doesn’t matter what language you speak — it’s all about the game.
The Senior League World Series, which has been held in Bangor for the last eight years, draws athletes from all over the world to the Queen City with only one goal in mind, winning the title at the end of the week-long tournament.
“We’re here tonight for these young men,” Gov. John Baldacci said Saturday night during the 2009 Senior League World Series opening ceremonies at Mansfield Stadium.
Standing around the infield of Bangor’s perfectly groomed baseball field stood the 10 SLWS baseball teams that will battle for the title of best in the world.
“It’s great to have all the teams,” Baldacci said. “It’s great to have it here.”
Members of the 1989 Bangor West All-Stars, the team of 11- and 12-year-olds who the state Little League championship 20 years ago were on hand to throw out the first pitch to officially kick off the event.
The 1989 team, which helped to inspire the building of Mansfield Stadium, was also recognized just before the first games in the series on Sunday when Bangor beat Canada 1-0.
In addition to Baldacci, Steve Keener, president and CEO of Little League International, Bangor Mayor Gerry Palmer and other dignitaries, spoke during the opening ceremonies.
Other highlights of the opening ceremonies included an introduction of all the District 3 champions, including state championship teams the Bangor East Little League and Bangor Junior League teams, and a fireworks display.
When the Bangor East Little League baseball team was introduced, it was announced that the team’s first baseman, Jake Morrill, was recovering well from surgery that took place on Saturday. Morrill suffered a skull fracture after being hit by a line drive during the New England regional competition last week in Connecticut.
People traveled from all over the state and region for the opening ceremonies. The parking lot was full during the opening ceremonies, and overflow parking spanned the grassy area between Mansfield and the Beth Pancoe pool off Union Street.
Spectators will have plenty of games to see in the 2009 Senior League World Series, with four daily games being played through Thursday and the top two teams in each pool advancing to Friday’s semifinals. The championship game is set for 3 p.m. Saturday.
For information, or to purchase tickets, visit mansfieldstaduim.com.