This week looks to be pretty hectic for Little League World Series director Dave Wetmore as the series gets underway 5 at Max Baer Park in Livermore with Pleasanton's National Little League Intermediate team of 13-year-olds in the opening game.
The Pleasanton team is representing the Tri-Valley's District 57.
"We've got 10 teams coming in to Northern California for the inaugural series," Wetmore said.
That includes teams from Asia, Latin America, Puerto Rico and Canada, along with five teams from throughout the U.S., including a Pleasanton team.
"I coordinate all of them coming in," Wetmore said. "As soon as they get here, its our responsibility to feed them, provide transportation, and house them."
The teams are largely 13-year-old players, although some of the international teams have had to bring in 11- and 12-year-olds to have enough on a team, Wetmore said.
He said the new series has different pitching base path distances, giving kids the opportunity to transition from the shorter distances (46 foot pitching and 60 foot base paths) in most little leagues to the longer (60 foot, 6 inch pitching and 90 foot base paths) used in the bigger leagues, high schools and colleges.
ESPN will televise the final game and the Intermediate World Series could be an annual event for Livermore if all goes well and the turnout for the games is high. There is no charge to attend the games.
"It's basically probably ours until we don't want to do it anymore," Wetmore said. "It's a lot of work."
That includes not only making all the arrangements for the players and their families, but preparing fields and more.
"We're raising the dollars. We have no intention of it going anywhere else," Wetmore said, adding that local families have dug deep into their own pockets to make the series happen.
International teams will compete against each other, as will the American teams, with the winners going head to head in the finals.
The series is also a big deal for the host team, the winners of local play. A local team is included in the series for the work involved in putting on the event.
"It is the first Pleasanton team to make it to the Little League World Series," said Andrea Lander, a player's mom. "Pleasanton National won the District 57 Championship by beating Granada, 9-2, in the final game."
Pleasanton National will play in the first game today.
Livermore was chosen last summer as the site for the World Series in the newest division of play from among several cities, including Vancouver, Washington and Chicago.
"It was a difficult choice, since all the cities are so close in terms of what they have to offer," said Stephen D. Keener, president and CEO of Little League Baseball and Softball. "Ultimately, the board of directors settled on Northern California, the greater San Francisco area, Livermore, and Granada Little League, as its top choice."
Wetmore said part of the decision may have to do with the area's long history with little league baseball.
Wetmore has been a Little League volunteer for 26 years. He began his association with Little League in 1987 as the player agent and vice president for the San Ramon Little League. The following year, he served as president of the league for one year before joining the district staff. He has been the district administrator for District 57 for the last 11 years.
"They know me," he said. "It doesn't hurt that District 57 welcomed the 50/70 pilot program with open arms."
"People see it as a great way to make the transition from the Little League field to the standard baseball diamond," he added. "For us, it has kept more players in our programs into their teenage years."
He thinks the intermediate distances that are used in the division are a good thing both for the players and their families. With the big jump to larger distances, some players drop out or transfer to "elite travel-type programs."
"It's just another opportunity, to stay in your community, play with your friends, and save a little out of your pocketbook," Wetmore said.
Wetmore is director of Purchasing and Contracts at the Contra Costa Community College District, and for the next few weeks, he'll have to find a way to do that and everything that's coming his way with the new series headed to the area.