Howard Herman: Success of the Babe Ruth Softball tourney and Suns defy this skeptic
Skepticism is not my religion, but it is a large part of who I am and what makes me a reporter.
That's why I was very skeptical when we first reported that the Babe Ruth Softball 16-Under World Series was going to make a return visit to Pittsfield this summer.
A large number of athletes, coaches and parents descending on Pittsfield and Berkshire County at the height of the summer tourist season? Isn't that a recipe for disaster?
Where do you put all these people along with all of the regular visitors to the Berkshires? Will the local sports fans actually care about these teams and games? Those were a few of the questions that crossed my mind in the weeks and months heading into the World Series.
Now, six days after the competition concluded, I can honestly say my skepticism was ill-founded.
The World Series went off like a charm, and it was a true feather in the cap of the organizers, the volunteers and frankly, the rest of us, too.
Patty Spector and the Josh Billings RunAground committee are the gold standard around here for organizing a large sporting event and having it go off without a hitch. But Tom Murphy and Tara Coty (apologies for every other member of the committee and all the volunteers who I didn't mention) helped lead an effort that, if not the equal to the Josh, certainly gave that sporting event a run for its money.
Games went off like clockwork at the Doyle Complex, which looked marvelous. There were good crowds each day and when the Berkshire Force played its games, the area around the field they were on was jam-packed with fans. It wasn't just parents either. There were sports fans of all ages on hand to root on the local team, and the teams from all over the country.
In fact, the second game of the championship series had as much energy as any big local event I've covered all year.
So often, we hear about why something like this can't be done. If nothing else, that committee easily proved that something like this can be done -- and done successfully.
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I have already been proven wrong over my skepticism regarding the Pittsfield Suns and the Futures League. What happened Friday night proved that Pittsfield is, and always will be, a baseball town.
A capacity crowd of 4,316 was jammed into Wahconah Park for the game.They cheered until the very end of the twi-night doubleheader, a doubleheader in which the Suns dropped both ends.
That didn't matter to the fans there, who were rocking from the first pitch and exhorting their hometown team for four hours.
The last few games of the regular season gave off a vibe I hadn't felt at the old ballpark since the Pittsfield Mets played there.
It's taken more than a decade to get that baseball feeling back, but the Suns did it. And you, the fan, did the rest.
For whatever general manager Kevin McGuire and his staff did in the way of promoting the team, were it not for each and every one of you who bought a ticket, Wahconah Park could have been a very quiet place all summer.
You also proved the skeptics wrong. You proved that the summer game can thrive here.
To reach Howard Herman:
or (413) 496-6253.
On Twitter: @howardherman.
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