'Every kid's dream': Ohtani, Trout visit LLWS

August 22nd, 2021

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Not even rain could put a damper on the Angels’ visit to the Little League World Series on Sunday ahead of their game against the Indians in the Little League Classic at historic Bowman Field.

Superstars and highlighted the trip to the Little League World Series Complex, as they both met with starstruck Little Leaguers, signing autographs and taking pictures. Trout, who starred at Millville Little League before becoming a nine-time All-Star and three-time AL MVP, called it an unforgettable experience.

"It's special,” Trout said. “Just watching it as a kid and even now watching it in the clubhouse, seeing the field in person is unbelievable. And to see the kids' reactions, that's what it's for. It's probably every kid's dream to meet Major League Baseball players. MLB has done a great job combining both of these and it was a great experience."

The Angels weren’t able to watch any Little League games because of the weather but still met with the Little Leaguers and some even went for a slide down the hill in left field beyond Lamade Stadium. Trout went into the dugout to hang out with Team Nebraska and was given a quick tour of where the players stay.

“I wish we had a little bit better weather but we made the most of it,” Trout said. “I got to see the whole complex and as many of the kids as I could. I got to see the barracks and where they stay. And I got to meet the California team, but didn’t get a chance to meet New Jersey. But I saw they won the other day and I’m rooting for them.”

Fellow outfielder also enjoyed interacting with the young players and said it reminded him of his time playing Little League in Louisville, Ky. Adell said he suffered from epileptic seizures as a child and couldn’t play high-contact sports, so he played baseball at a young age and fell in love with the sport.

"The big thing for me was the smile on their faces,” Adell said. “It reminded me of growing up. Just that excitement of being on the field. I just remember that joy growing up and I saw it on all their faces. I was able to sign some balls, hang out and have some conversations. Just to see how excited they were was really cool."

Second baseman played Little League near Anaheim in Cypress and credited his father, Tim, for instilling his passion for the game. His brother, Dominic, is also a highly rated Minor Leaguer in the D-backs’ system.

"I started when I was really young with my dad and my brother,” Fletcher said. “Just throwing the ball around. I think my dad knew I wasn't going to be big enough to play other sports. So it's really all I've ever played."

It marked a return trip for Angels manager Joe Maddon, who also took part in the Little League Classic as Cubs skipper in 2019. It also felt like a homecoming for Maddon, who grew up roughly 75 miles from Williamsport in Hazleton, Pa. Maddon had never attended the Little League World Series until '19 and noted this time was a bit different without fans because of COVID protocols but that he again loved his visit.

"If you're seeing it for the first time, it's pretty impressive," Maddon said. "It was a little bit different this time. Last time, it was absolutely jammed. There was more room to move around. When you drive up, it's very familiar to me, but just the road coming you see the homes and the green. You make the trip up the hill and you see the ballparks. I would imagine everyone wishes they played there at some point."

Maddon said he’s hopeful that the Little Leaguers will forever be influenced by the visit from Angels players such as Trout and Ohtani, and that it can help grow the game. Maddon said he was drawn to baseball at an early age and that he made it his goal to be a Major Leaguer by the time he was five or six years old. Maddon never quite reached that dream but found a passion for teaching the game.

"It's gotta be inspiring, right?,” Maddon said. “I can only draw comparisons to when I was that age. I remember very clearly going to see the Giants and Phillies at Connie Mack. I saw Willie Mays get out of a cab and go inside. And I waited outside for Julian Javier, trying to coax him for an autograph. Guys like Curt Flood, Carl Warwick, Tito Francona. It's things you'll never forget."