BANGOR, Maine — Since coming to Bangor in 2002, the Senior League World Series has been a hit not for just the city of Bangor, but throughout eastern Maine.
The weeklong tournament, set for Aug. 14-21 at Mansfield Stadium, not only brings the best Senior League players from around the world to the Queen City, but the families and friends of those players who accompany them give local businesses a boost, and that’s a message tourney director Mike Brooker wants to see increase.
“The World Series is a tremendous economic stimulator for the Greater Bangor region,” Brooker said at Mansfield Stadium Friday afternoon during a press conference announcing the Series schedule and fundraising plans.
“We’re bringing in several hundred people for eight or nine days who are all here in hotel rooms, or all eating meals or renting cars [and] going shopping,”
Brooker added that the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau is honoring the World Series with an Eagle award as an economic stimulator for Bangor.
The format for this year’s tourney remains the same with all 10 teams playing four games apiece in a round-robin format, with the top two teams in each pool advancing to the semifinals and those winners to the championship game on Aug. 21.
The championship game will be televised live on ESPNU-TV.
There is one slight tweak, however, with the representative from Maine District 3 Little League, Canada, Europe, U.S. East and U.S. West making up Pool A and Asia-Pacific, Latin America, U.S Central, U.S. Southeast and U.S. Southwest in Pool B.
“We kept Maine and Canada in the same bracket because I like that first game, but after that we drew the pools blind,” Brooker said.
In the past, the Asia-Pacific champions have played in Pool A and the U.S. East representatives in Pool B.
Series officials are also raising money in multiple ways this year, one of them being a Text-to-Donate Campaign, in which anyone can help out the Series by making a $10 donation via a cell phone text message.
Those seeking to make a donation can do so by sending “giveten slws” to 20222, and apply “yes” to the confirmation message, and a $10 donation will be added to your cell phone bill.
Other fundraisers will include a “Baseball Night in Eastern Maine,” which will be held at the Sports Arena in Hermon from 6-8 p.m. on Monday. Admission to the event is a $10 donation, and in return, guests will receive a $10 electronic game card to use. The Ground Round restaurant will also host fundraiser nights for the Se-ries on the first Mondays of May, June and July.
“You can go out there and you can contribute 20 percent of your check to the World Series,” Brooker said.
Those seeking to do so may go to Mansfieldstadium.com and print off a coupon, or pick one up at the ballpark or one of the Little League fields in the city.
Even in this tough economy, Brooker is optimistic donations will come roaring in.
“People are still occasionally going out to eat, why not go to a place that’s going to donate 20 percent of your check to the World Series?” he said. “We’re really happy that the Ground Round has agreed to do that for us. They’ve always been a tremendous supporter to youth sports in Bangor.”
Brooker is also positive attendance will be good and is hopeful for good weather.
He pointed out that the quality of the players in the tourney is also a huge draw. As of last year, 56 players who had competed in the SLWS had gone on to play in the professional ranks or at the Division I college level.
That list includes former University of Maine star Curt Smith, now in the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization.
“I think everybody loves baseball, it’s a great game, it’s a timeless game,” Brooker said. “You’re seeing some real talent out here.”
The District 3 champion also relishes the opportunity to perform in front of some large crowds, and against some tough competition.
“What’s most appealing to me is that we get to put our local team in it, and our local team is always competitive,” Brooker said. “Certainly, they haven’t won as many games as we’d like them to see, but they’ve always been competitive, they’ve been out there, worked hard, kept their heads up and they’re out there competing and you can’t ask for any more than that.”
Other ways donations can be made to the Series are: The Bangor Elks Club is sponsoring a 50/50 raffle that is ongoing. Tickets are $20 apiece, and only 500 are available. The winner will receive a $5,000 prize, and the other $5,000 will be donated to the SLWS. Tickets can be obtained at Mansfield Stadium or through the Elks Club.
Also, donation cans will be at local convenience stores, such as all Leadbetter’s Super Stops and Mobil on the Run locations, along with Fairmount Market, the Corner Store and Seamus’s Market.