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The kids from the Jackie Robinson West league in Chicago have already established themselves as the Little League World Series darlings of 2014. They're getting nationwide attention based on demographics alone — they're an all-black team from Chicago's Morgan Park neighborhood.
MLB is happy, because it's worked for years to make the game more popular with young black kids through its Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program. Big leaguers such as LaTroy Hawkins, B.J. and Justin Upton and Carl Crawford have lent financial support to the Jackie Robinson West team, including help with travel costs to Williamsport, Penn., where the Little League World Series is held.
The national story is nice and could continue to grow, but here's a great factoid from the Chicago community about just how much the city is behind the Jackie Robinson West team: Its Thursday night game on ESPN got a rating of 2.4 in Chicago, which is better than both the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox.
Jackie Robinson West so far has given its fans a number of reasons to watch. The team clobbered its opponent Thursday, Northwest champion Lynnwood Pacific, representing Washington state, by the score of 12-2. Jackie Robinson West leadoff man Pierce Jones (awesome name!) was 4-for-4 with three homers and a triple.
The team also includes Trey Hondras, who told ESPN he likes to talk to girls before games for good luck. From the sound of things, there are plenty of girls back in Chicago who would be happy to talk to Trey and his teammates.
The youngsters from Jackie Robinson West play again at 2 p.m. ET Sunday against the Little League World Series team from Las Vegas. Because you're wondering: The Cubs play at 1:10 p.m. ET on Sunday, while the White Sox play at 2:10 p.m. ET.
Guess we'll see which Chicago team wins head-to-head in the ratings.
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