Frank and Mary Clark from St. George, New Brunswick, were driving around Bangor when they saw the row of lights beaming on Mansfield Stadium.
Being the avid sports fans that they are, they checked it out and it turned out to be the Senior League World Series.
That was 10 years ago and they have been coming ever since.
“We love it here,” said Frank Clark. “We like everything about it: the atmosphere, the people. And there isn’t a bad seat.”
“The field is gorgeous and the volunteers are unreal,” said Mary.
Mary Clark mentioned one of those volunteers, Bangor’s Yovanne Stevenson, and recalled an act of kindness.
“We had picked up one of those refrigerator magnets from the World Series and one of our neighbors said she would love to have one,” said Clark. “We went to buy her one, but they were sold out. (Yovanne Stevenson) said she had taken one home so she went and got it and gave it to us.”
Mary Clark said they stay in a friend’s trailer, so this week is always circled on their calendars.
“Staying at a campsite, baseball, shopping and going out to eat. What more could you want from a vacation?” she said.
Mary said one of the things that has captured her attention is the efficiency of the grounds crew.
“It’a amazing how quickly they clean the field up after it rains,” said Mary Clark.
Frank Clark said they have spread the word about the Senior League World Series in New Brunswick and have recruited some friends to attend.
Mary Clark said another of the neat things is the interesting people they have met over the years.
The Clarks will leave Friday but will watch the championship game live on ESPNU.
They enjoy watching all the Little League regional and World Series games on television, as well.
Morin has officiated several sports
Umpire Denis Morin and his wife Brigitte are making their first trip to the Senior League World Series.
Baseball is just one of the many sports Denis Morin has officiated over the last 32 years.
He also referees hockey and basketball and is an umpire for men’s fast-pitch softball.
“I like them all. I like being there, doing my job and getting involved,” said Morin, who used to play several sports himself and has a broad interest in a variety of sports.
He said basketball is the most challenging sport to officiate.
“You have to run as fast as you can to keep up and get into position to make a good call,” he pointed out.
He said you can be running in one direction and, all of a sudden, there’s a steal and you have to quickly change directions and scamper the other way.
“It’s so demanding. You have to get into good position,” he said.
Morin also said one of the enjoyable aspects of umpiring a baseball game is “you’re working together with a group. It’s fun.”
Morin said he and his wife “really like it here.”
“It’s a great venue,” said Morin, a native of Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, which is six hours north of Montreal.
Hilo hopes to improve on 2007 finish
Hilo, Hawaii, manager/coach Kaha Wong remembers the last time he was in Bangor for the Senior League World Series.
It was 2007 and his U.S. West champions went 3-1 to win Pool A and reached the semifinals where they were beaten by Falcon, Venezuela, 5-4 in nine innings.
His son, Kolten, was one of the stars of that team and went on to become a first-round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals after playing three years for the University of Hawaii. He signed with the Cardinals this summer.
His younger son, Kean, is one of the headliners on this year’s team and they opened with a 10-7 win over the United States Southeast champs, Palm Bay, Fla., on Sunday and followed with a 4-3 victory over Aruba on Monday.
Kaha Wong said it is definitely advantageous to have been here before.
“I got them ready for it,” said Wong. “It’s a beautiful place, a beautiful field and the competition is stiff.”
“We traveled 5,000 miles, maybe more than that, and we didn’t come here just to play around and enjoy ourselves. Of course, we’re going to enjoy it, but we came here to capture a World Series (title). That’s what we’re trying to do right now,” added Wong.
Kean Wong accompanied the team in 2007 and was hoping he’d get a chance to follow in his brother’s footsteps.
“I was about 12 (in 2007) and it was fun. I’m proud to be here,” said Kean Wong.