August 29, 2012
Ugandan Little Leaguers Hit The Big Apple
Not only did they become the first African team to advance to a Little League World Series (they finished their inaugural visit Thursday with a win in a consolation game), but now...they're making their way to Major League ballparks.
Tuesday night, they were in Philadelphia to catch a Phillies game. But cooler than getting a chance to dance with the Phillie Phanatic...they got to meet Jimmy Rollins.
Rollins, you could say, is partly responsible for the youngsters even getting the chance to play baseball.
You see, the All-Star shortstop went to Uganda in January and left as the team's unofficial sponsor. Dude has been sending the kids money for equipment and their education ever since.
"Jimmy Rollins is a great man to us, as a brother, as a father, as a caretaker," Ugandan coach Odong Henry said. "When he's with us, he's really down to earth. He's not like a superstar. He talks to us freely. He plays with us. When he comes to our country, he doesn't care where he sits. He eats with us."
And on Wednesday, the team made their way to the Big Apple where they were able to catch a matinee at Yankee Stadium.
"It’s a wonderful story. It takes everyone back to your Little League days," New York skipper Joe Giradi said. "To watch what these kids accomplished, talking to their coaches...none of them had ever even seen an airplane before or ever traveled before. For them to accomplish what they have is truly amazing."
Oh, and almost as cool as meeting big leaguers and mascots, they even got to hang out with friend of The Hall "Bald Vinny" Milano.
Not too shabby, boys.