Nothing wrong with getting carried away

By: Cecil Conley, Sports Editor
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The announcer got a bit carried away, but who could blame him? There had not be this much excitement at Larry Costa Field in a long time. He was entitled to lose his objectivity for just a second. The Lincoln Little League 9- and 10-year-old All-Stars were mounting a rally after trailing 5-0 against West Sacramento. As Lincoln chipped away at the deficit, the announcer added his two cents. “Let’s keep this going,” he said for all the fans in attendance Saturday night to hear. His remark drew an immediate response from the home plate umpire, who looked back and shook his head. Granted, there is no cheering in the press box at a professional stadium or a Little League scorer’s booth. The folks working at a game should know better than to bring along their pom-poms. The umpire should have cut the announcer some slack. After all, it was the announcer who came to the umpires’ defense when they huddled to discuss whether a batted ball was fair or foul. A Lincoln batter was thrown out at first base after hitting the ball that then appeared to hit his foot. As the umpires conferred and Lincoln fans pleaded for justice, the announcer reminded the spectators to abide by Little League decorum and keep their critical remarks to themselves. The fans heeded his advice, allowed the dust to settle and went back to cheering instead of jeering. And they kept on cheering. As Leo Martinez battled on the mound to keep Lincoln within striking distance, fans offered support to the pitcher with chants of “Come on, Leo!” and “Let’s go, Leo!” That was music to the ears of a sports editor who recently found his way to the Lincoln News Messenger. In 28 years of covering sports, from youth football to the Super Bowl, there is nothing better than being at a game where everyone is having a good time – even the announcer. Little League gets a bad rap when the focus is diverted from the players to the parents and board members. That may explain why pitch counts are monitored to prevent injuries to young arms. Excitement should be the name of the game, not winning at all costs. Vince Lombardi once said, “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” That may have been true when he was coach of the Green Bay Packers, but Lincoln is a far cry from the NFL. Let’s all keep the spirit of Saturday night going.