BANGOR, Maine — Last year, it took some jury rigging to get the scoreboard operating for the Senior League World Series at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor.
“It died right before the tournament,” pointed out tournament director Mike Brooker.
So that prompted the purchase of a new scoreboard and that will be the new wrinkle when the SLWS returns to Bangor for the 13th consecutive year starting with opening ceremonies Saturday night.
“It’s very exciting,” said Brooker at a press conference Tuesday. “We determined in the spring that we were going to get one and it was going to be first class. And that’s what we have done.”
Unlike the old scoreboard, this one will have an attached video board.
It will be able to show still pictures so tourney officials intend to put the faces of the hitters on it as they approach the plate.
“How cool will it be for the kids to see their pictures up on the scoreboard?” posed Brooker. “It is going to add a unique perspective.”
He said the scoreboard cost $71,000 and the money came from a “collaboration of efforts … we had some private donations, the stadium contributed some money and the World Series contributed some money.”
The scoreboard itself is 25 feet long and 7 feet high and the video board is 7 feet by 12 feet.
Brooker said there was an opportunity to purchase a board that could show videos rather than just stills, which would have enabled them to show replays and crowd shots.
“But depending upon the number of cameras it would have required, it would have cost another $40,000 to $60,000 and you also would have needed somebody to operate those cameras,” said Brooker.
The field itself should be in the best shape ever, according to Ron St. Pierre, the head of field maintenance.
One reason is there hasn’t been any baseball played on it in two weeks.
“That is going to make a big difference,” said St. Pierre. “We’ve already fertilized it six times. We usually fertilize it four times a year. And we’ve put down over 500 square feet of sod (recently). We had put down 500 square feet in June.”
Bangor clinched its berth in the Senior League World Series by beating Bronco Little League of Hampden-Hermon 8-2 in the District 3 championship game on July 12.
LL celebrating 75th year
Little League is celebrating its 75th year overall and its 63rd year in Bangor.
Wayne Lawton played Little League (ages 9-12) baseball in Bangor during its first year, 1952, and recalled its beginnings.
“Harry Dalton from Brewer approached four groups in the area: the Jaycees, Kiwanis, Rotary and the Lions Club. We had four teams and played our games at Bass Park,” recalled Lawton. “The next year, we had teams both on the (Bangor) east side and the west side. The east side games were played at the Mary Snow School field and the west side played at Bass Park.”
Lawton said he recalled there was a parade before the first Little League game in Bangor and another parade before the first Little League all-star game.
“Our first Little League all-star game was in Houlton and there must have been 2,000 people there. They ringed the field. It was a big deal,” he remembered.
Lawton’s all-star team won three games before being eliminated. If it had won one more game, it would have faced Portland for the right to play in the Little League World Series.
Senior League (ages 14-16) didn’t exist then.
“After I finished playing Little League, I didn’t play (organized) baseball again until high school,” said Lawton.