NEW YORK -- On Tuesday night, 45 of some of the best 12-year-old baseball players in the country took in a Yankees game, many for the first time.
The talented kids were Baseball Youth All-Stars and had just finished a thrilling weekend of the inaugural National Youth Baseball Championships All-Star Challenge at the Baseball Heaven complex in Yaphank, Long Island.
Monday night saw the South region team beat the East, 11-7, with an onslaught of homers in a thrilling championship game. The teammates and rivals, some of whom will stay to play Friday in a tournament featuring 16 of the best travel-ball teams in the nation, finally had a chance to put down their gloves and bats and enjoy a game from the fan's perspective.
"There's a lot of West Coast kids still here, and it's a great opportunity to come and see Derek Jeter in his last year playing," said tournament director Ryan Sizemore. "Now that David Price is with Detroit, [seeing Price's Tigers debut Tuesday] was that little added bonus for them. [With] the history behind the Yankees, everybody's a Yankees fan tonight."
Together, 126 players and family members made their way on charter buses from Long Island and were treated to a buffet before the game began. Many families came from the East Coast, but a few from the West and Midwest stuck around an extra day to watch.
"Some are playing next week, so it's something extra to do," said Sizemore. "We're excited they were able to be a part of something like this. Its something that we can give back to them, and have a little fun."
Former White Sox owner Eddie Einhorn created the NYBC, and it was his vision -- along with his longtime friend and partner, Alan Lubell -- to bring the tournament to New York so players could see baseball's most successful franchise. This weekend's 16-team tournament -- with squads from California, Texas, Florida, and Long Island -- will be streamed on MLB.com and CBS Sports Network.
"The NYBC, this is its seventh year, and we've had some kids that [were drafted]," said Sizemore. "So seeing these kids [with] the skills and the competition level that they're at these days, we'll hopefully one day see some of these kids out here [Yankee Stadium]."
Jake Kring-Schreifels is an associate reporter for MLB.com.