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History 'n' the shaking: Cards-Bucs, Bravo!

Little League Classic caps weekend in Williamsport

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Big league dreams came true on Sunday night at BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field.

The first MLB Little League Classic between the Pirates and Cardinals wasn't just a home run, it was a grand slam.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Big league dreams came true on Sunday night at BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field.

The first MLB Little League Classic between the Pirates and Cardinals wasn't just a home run, it was a grand slam.

"I have a lot of great days in my job. But today, even before we get to the Major League game, has been one of the absolute best," Commissioner Rob Manfred said. "I would be remiss if I didn't start with thanking partner [Little League president and CEO] Steve Keener. The event they run year in and year out is absolutely phenomenal. I was honored to be a part of it over there today."

Video: STL@PIT: Pirates, Cardinals show sportsmanship

Part of Manfred's goal this week was to expand baseball's reach by bringing Major League Baseball to a place it had never been before and celebrate it. The trip to Williamsport was also designed to inspire little boys and bring the big boys back to their baseball roots.

The Little League Classic was also about the love of the game -- now and in the future -- and fun, lots and lots of fun. The Pirates won this historic game, 6-3, and then copied their Little League counterparts by slapping hands with the Cardinals in a handshake line in the middle of diamond after the game was over.

Tweet from @Pirates: Handshake line. Good game, @Cardinals ������

"I think first and foremost, this is an indication of the strength of the relationship we had with Little League and the respect we have for the job that Little League does, particularly in the 8-12 space," Manfred said. "Secondly, I think publicizing the game, marketing the game to young people has to involve young people. The idea that we can have Major League players come in, go see the Little League World Series game and then play a game in a stadium full of Little Leaguers, those are good benchmarks for us. The kind of exposure you get from that undertaking is something you can't pay for and is hard to quantify."

Video: STL@PIT: Manfred discusses playing Little League

The Commissioner arrived early Sunday morning and watched firsthand as the Major Leaguers cheered on the Little Leaguers at Howard J. Lamade and Volunteer Stadium, the home of the Little League World Series. He was there when the Little Leaguers returned the favor a few hours later at the newly renovated Bowman Field.

Starting Pictures: MLB Little League Classic

In between, there were joyful bus rides with big leaguers and Little Leaguers sharing seats, tons of autographs and too many selfies to count.

Video: STL@PIT: Little Leaguers on meeting MLB players

Major League Baseball could be back next year. Manfred addressed the possibility of bringing Major League Baseball back to the Little League World Series in 2018.

"I know there was a lot of interest throughout the league from teams that wanted to be here and had players that played in the Little League World Series," he said. 

Here are some sights and sounds from the historic event:

11:17 p.m. ET: Pirates give Little League Classic rave reviews. 

Andrew McCutchen (@TheCUTCH22): A day to remember. Had a great time in Williamsport tonight. Brought back some old memories from when I played for the Crosscutters back in 2005. 

Tweet from @TheCUTCH22: A day to remember. Had a great time in Williamsport tonight. Brought back some old memories from���

Trevor Williams (@MeLlamoTrevor): #MLBLittleLeagueClassic 10/10 would do again. Will recommend to a friend.

Tweet from @MeLlamoTrevor: #MLBLittleLeagueClassic10/10 would do again. Will recommend to a friend.

Clint Hurdle: "One of the highlights if my career...I was happy to be a part of it, humbled to be a part of it."

Tweet from @Pirates: "One of the highlights if my career...I was happy to be a part of it, humbled to be a part of it." -Clint Hurdle on today

Max Moroff (@Max_Moroff): Had a lot of fun today! Brought back some memories.. hopefully more to come! #playersweekend

Tweet from @Max_Moroff: Had a lot of fun today! Brought back some memories.. hopefully more to come! #playersweekend

10:09 p.m. ET: After Pirates defeat Cards, 6-3, a perfect finish to a special day.

Tweet from @PlayBall: "Good game, good game, good game ... " #MLBLittleLeagueClassic

9:49 p.m. ET: Selfie with the Commissioner

9:29 p.m. ET: Unique uniforms, special stories

Tweet from @LangoschMLB: #stlcards Tommy Pham's cleats were decorated by two kids undergoing cancer treatments. Here's the backstory:

Tweet from @Cut4: A different kind of autograph: @jhay_da_man wore cleats signed by Little Leaguers at the #MLBLittleLeagueClassic.

9:05 p.m. ET: Little League opponents coming together as fans of the game.

Tweet from @LittleLeague: Looking into the future? #MLBLittleLeagueClassic

8:55 p.m. ET: How's the view from the hill?

Tweet from @Pirates: They're cheering on your Buccos on the hill tonight (and there's always that one guy 😂) #MLBLittleLeagueClassic

8:44 p.m. ET: Little Leaguers show off their arms by helping with the T-shirt toss.

8:22 p.m. ET: First-pitch ball has seen some action.

Tweet from @MLB: From the backyard to the big leagues ��� the first pitch of the #MLBLittleLeagueClassic on @ESPN.

8:09 p.m. ET: Stars of the future! Even Little Leaguers' autographs are in demand.

7:56 p.m. ET: Pirates star Andrew McCutchen and wife, Maria, who are expecting a baby boy, won't have to look far to find a sitter if they ever need a date night.

7:46 p.m. ET: Grabbing some big league treats

Tweet from @castrovince: Ballplayers of the future eat ice cream of the future. #MLBLittleLeagueClassic

7:43 p.m. ET: Star gazing! The best seats in the house belong to the Little Leaguers.

7:05 p.m. ET: Ceremonial first pitch -- or 16!

Tweet from @MLB: Representatives from all 16 #LLWS clubs team up to deliver the ceremonial first pitch in the #MLBLittleLeagueClassic on @ESPN.

7 p.m ET: Play ball? Play ball!

Tweet from @Cardinals: It's almost time for the @LittleLeague Classic! ������

6:45 P.M. ET: Classic's a Spectacle in its own right

Tweet from @Pirates: The @Spectacles view of the #MLBLittleLeagueClassic

6:30 p.m. ET: Cards adopt new Roo-les

Tweet from @LangoschMLB: I'm told that in Australia, a player that makes a baserunning/mental error has to carry it around. The #STLCards have willingly adopted it.

6:15 p.m. ET: Bathroom break? Tweet from @adamdberry: "It's OK," he added. "We washed our hands and we were good."

6 p.m. ET: Cervilli catches on with kids before Classic

Tweet from @JesseSanchezMLB: .@Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli hangs with members of Venezuela's Luz-Maracaibo team before the night game against @Cardinals. @mlb

5:45 p.m. ET: A homecoming of sorts for Hurdle

Tweet from @Pirates: "This ballpark has been brought up to date and gift wrapped."-Clint on Bowman Field (he managed here in 1991)

5:30 p.m. ET: Cardinals get prepped for the game

Tweet from @LangoschMLB: #STLCards take BP at Bowman Field.

5:15 p.m. ET: Cards put new mascot to work

Tweet from @LangoschMLB: The #STLCards new mascot has been taped in place and is ready for tonight's Little League Classic.

5 p.m. ET: A slow-motion look at Cutch taking BP

Tweet from @Pirates: Slowing it down with @TheCUTCH22.#MLBLittleLeagueClassic

4:45 p.m. ET: An interesting bit of Cardinals trivia Tweet from @Cardinals: Bowman Field will be the 3rd place we've played a regular season game in since 1950 that isn't a traditionally-used @MLB venue.

Tweet from @Cardinals: In 1997, we played the San Diego Padres at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii in a three-game ���Padres Paradise Series���. #STLCards

Tweet from @Cardinals: And in both 1956 and 1957, we played the Brooklyn Dodgers at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, New Jersey. #STLCards

4:30 p.m. ET: Pirates limber up and reflect on a great day

Tweet from @Pirates: Stretch time at Bowman Field. #MLBLittleLeagueClassic

Tweet from @Pirates: What a day. #MLBLittleLeagueClassic

4:15 p.m. ET: Cards set for action

Tweet from @TphamLV: #PlayersWeekend #Phamtastic

Tweet from @Cardinals: Today's #STLCards Information💪 Mike Leake��� 6:00 PM📻 @KMOXSports📺 @ESPN💻

Tweet from @TphamLV: Some cleats done by my 7yr old nephew for #PlayersWeekend custom bat from @VictusSports and batting gloves from @FranklinSports

3:45 p.m. ET: Bucs are ready to roll

Tweet from @Pirates: Here's the lineup for today. 📺 ESPN📻 @937theFan & the PRN#LetsGoBucs

Tweet from @jhay_da_man: #PlayersWeekend

Tweet from @Pirates: 👌#MLBLittleLeagueClassic

3:15 p.m. ET: Putting a final bow on Bowman Field

Tweet from @adamdberry: Out here at Historic Bowman Field for tonight's @MLB Little League Classic.

2:45 p.m. ET: Attention turns to tonight's game

Tweet from @jhay_da_man: Jersey, cleats, and bats! #PlayersWeekend

2:30 p.m. ET: LLWS alumni are recognized

Tweet from @LittleLeague: Lance Lynn, Randal Grichuk, Max Moroff each presented with their #LLWS jersey. #MLBLittleLeagueClassic #throwback

2:15 p.m. ET: Cards get in on the action; pick up new mascot

Tweet from @LangoschMLB: One final team photo before the #STLCards head over to Bowman Field, where they will play tonight's game.

Tweet from @LangoschMLB: Luke Voit seems to have adopted team Australia. He is carrying around their inflatable kangaroo. #STLCards

2 p.m. ET: Grichuk takes time out from a full day of baseball

1:15 p.m. ET: Cards, Bucs enjoying LLWS action

Video: Cervelli relishing Little League Classic experience

Tweet from @Stuivailala: Enjoying some action with my guys! #playersweekend

Tweet from @jordy_mercer: Starting lineups!! #LLWS #PlayersWeekend

Tweet from @MandyBell02: McCutchen and Harrison seem to be enjoying themselves

12:45 p.m. ET: Snow cones, anyone?

Tweet from @LangoschMLB: Tommy Pham ordered 200 snow cones for the kids. They're being passed out now. #STLCards

Noon ET: Cards greeted at airport

Video: STL@PIT: Cardinals arrive for Little League Classic

Tweet from @JesseSanchezMLB: Carlos Martinez meets the #LLWS team from the Dominican Republic and it's one of the coolest scenes of the day. @MLB @LasMayores @playball

Tweet from @RGrich15: On the bus headed to the LLWS Complex! #PlayersWeekend

11:45 a.m. ET: Bucs visit LLWS complex

Tweet from @CespedesBBQ: Cutch taking it all in. This is ridiculously cool #LLWS

11 a.m. ET: Cards are on their way

Tweet from @Cardinals: And we're off to Williamsport! #LittleLeagueClassic ������

10:46 a.m. ET: Kontos shows off ultimate prize

Tweet from @adamdberry: .@G_Kontos sharing some World Series bling at the #LLWS.

10:30 a.m. ET: Manfred, players are here
The day began at the Williamsport Regional Airport, where the Bucs and Cards were welcomed to town by a crowd of Little Leaguers. Rather than heading to a hotel or straight to the ballpark, they're going to the Little League World Series complex -- and some of them, including Carlos Martinez and Dexter Fowler, will ride with their younger counterparts.

Tweet from @JesseSanchezMLB: Commissioner Rob Manfred has arrived for the @MLB Little League Classic. The Pirates and the Cardinals are expected to arrive soon.

Tweet from @JesseSanchezMLB: The Pirates have arrived in Williamsport. #LLWS teams from New Jersey and Mexico are ready to greet them. @mlb @lasmayores

Tweet from @adamdberry: Cutch is in the house.

10:10 a.m. ET: Major Leaguers excited

Tweet from @RGrich15: Williamsport here we come! #PlayersWeekend

Tweet from @jhay_da_man: Flight ready! Williamsport here we come! #PlayersWeekend

Pros, kids unite at LLWS

Both clubs spent the afternoon at the Little League World Series site, meeting players and their families, while taking in a game at Lamade Stadium. It was a homecoming of sorts for three alumni of the Little League World Series: Cardinals outfielder Randal Grichuk (2003-'04 LLWS with Lamar (Texas) National) and starter Lance Lynn (1999 LLWS with Brownsburg, Ind.) as well as Pirates infielder Max Moroff ('05 LLWS with Maitland, Fla.).

Tweet from @CespedesBBQ: Only 1 kid on the Dominican team has his parents here so the Mexican team parents are stepping in and going crazy for the DR. Awesome. #LLWS

The Cards and Bucs will play tonight's game at historic Bowman Field, home to the Class A Short-Season Williamsport Crosscutters of the New York-Penn League. The ballpark is the Minor Leagues' second-oldest and is renovated and ready for a crowd of around 2,500 people -- almost entirely Little League players.

The clubs will give fans a sneak peek at the Players Weekend gear that will be worn throughout the Majors from Aug. 25-27. They'll wear jerseys with nicknames, not their last names, on the back. They'll swing specially designed bats, lace up flashy cleats and sport colorful caps.

Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.