June 24, 2018
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Senior League World Series organizers relish tourney success, plan for future

Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Maine's Dennis Farnham (12) gets a high five from teammate Joey Moir after bringing in a run in the sixth inning of their Senior League World Series game against Canada on Aug. 10. Maine District 3 won 7-2.
By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — The 13th consecutive Senior League World Series held at Bangor’s Mansfield Stadium was a success, according to tournament director Mike Brooker and stadium manager Dave Mansfield.

“The gate was a little better than average, and the souvenir sales were where we projected they would be,” Brooker said. “And the teams represented the best behaved group we have ever had here. There weren’t any problems.

“Overall, it went pretty well,” he added.

Mansfield oversees the concessions and said concession sales were “great.”

One of the things that helps the tourney financially is if the local team does well. That is felt at the box office, concession stand and the souvenir counter.

District 3 champ Bangor became the first District 3 team to win its pool and go 4-0. That sent Bangor into the semifinals, where eventual champion West University from Houston used a six-run sixth-inning rally to eliminate them, 7-0.

West University then beat Willemstad, Curacao, 7-4, in the championship game.

“That was a great accomplishment by our local team. They certainly exceeded expectations,” Brooker said. “It is a great thing for the area. It is starting to raise the level of baseball in the community.”

And the crowds turned out to support Bangor.

District 3 teams have now gone 12-10 over the past five seasons, including Bangor’s 4-2 record in 2010, when it reached the championship game. The district champs had gone 6-26 from 2002-09.

“When Bangor reached the championship game in 2010, that was a tremendous boon to us at the gate,” Brooker said. “That was, by far, our largest gate. … This year, because the team went 4-0 and reached the semifinals, we may make a little profit to carry over (to future SLWS).”

On the negative side, Brooker mentioned that “sponsorship declined a little bit, so we’ll probably have to be a little more aggressive in fundraising in the future.”

Brooker said it costs approximately $175,000 to run the tournament, of which $110,000-115,000 falls on the sponsoring groups: Bangor West Side Little League, District 3 and the Mansfield Stadium committee.

“Little League pays for their transportation to Bangor, and they share the hotel expenses with us. We pay for their transportation while they’re here, we pay for the banquet and the awards and we pay for the tent, which is where we feed them at the ballpark,” Brooker said.

The tent located next to the stadium has a variety of souvenir stands, and the Penobscot Job Corps staff cooks for the players.

“[Penobscot Job Corps] takes real good care of the kids,” Mansfield said.

Brooker said they annually receive a call from Little League headquarters, asking if they would like to host it again.

“My belief is that it will continue in Bangor as long as the Bangor West Side Little League, District 3 and Mansfield Stadium wants to hold it,” Brooker said.

They do, but there also will be discussion among the sponsoring group pertaining to the future of the SLWS.

Ron St. Pierre, the field maintenance manager, said it is time to replace the field’s 128 1,500-watt bulbs with LED bulbs.

Brooker and St. Pierre said they are looking to expand the press box.

Leaks in the stadium will need to be plugged, also.

The game times of the semifinals — 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. — may also be examined.

The games are scheduled at those times Friday so the teams can attend the banquet at the Cross Insurance Center later that night, but it’s tough for people to leave work on a Friday afternoon.

If the games started at 5 and 7:30 p.m., they would attract bigger crowds, but it would force them to eliminate or change the time of the banquet.

Mansfield noted that when he was involved with Bangor West Little League teams that played in the Northeast Regionals, the banquet was held on the Friday before the tournament started.

But the problem with that is some teams don’t even qualify for the SLWS until a few days before the tournament, so getting them to Bangor in time for the banquet could be problematic.

Brooker mentioned the possibility of having the banquet at noon Friday, so the games could be switched to night.

The problem with 5 and 7:30 games is it doesn’t allow any wiggle room to reschedule if it rains.

The championship game Saturday needs to start at 2:07 p.m., as is mandated by ESPN, which televises the game on some of its networks.

The Senior League World Series is one of the area’s most significant events through the national and international attention it receives. It also generates revenue for the community.

The community embraces the tourney to an extent. They support the local team and will turn out for the semifinals and final, but few fans turn out for a 10 a.m. game between Italy and Saipan.

However, one thing competitors and their family members frequently mention is how well they are treated in Bangor, where the volunteerism is exceptional and the field is always in tip-top shape.


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