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March 09, 2017

MLB game to be played in Williamsport during Little League World Series

Pirates, Cardinals to play regular-season game

If you've never been to the Little League World Series, I can't stress how much you're missing out. I mean that earnestly, for a number of reasons: It's completely free, it's only three hours away from Philly, there's loads of free stuff given out, the games are actually pretty intense, etc., etc.

But if all that doesn't win you over, here's something new: Major League Baseball will be playing an official, regular-season game in Williamsport during the 10-day-long event this year.

MLB confirmed a Williamsport Sun-Gazette report with a press release Thursday, announcing that the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals will be playing a game on Aug. 20, 2017, during the LLWS. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

According to the release, the game will be played at 7 p.m. Bowman Field, the home of the Williamsport Crosscutters, the Phillies' Class A-Short Season affiliate.

Bowman Field, which seats 4,200, was chose over Howard J. Lamade Stadium, the field used for most of the main LLWS games. That's because of the obvious reason that the stadium is "two-thirds the size of a professional field," MLB noted. (Although could you imagine how many home runs would be hit with fences that much closer to the plate?)

And thanks to the game, the Bowman Field will be getting a major upgrade, courtesy of MLB. Per the Sun-Gazette:

Because of the game, the facility must be brought to Major League Baseball field and lighting standards. Expect a lighting assessment that leads to improvements and a complete overhaul of the field prior to start of the Crosscutters season in mid-June.

While a state grant is paying for replacement of bleachers with grandstand seats at Bowman, that will be taken to another level, courtesy of MLB, with all seating new in 2017. That will include replacement of all the reserved seats, movement of them closer to the field, an increase in their size, and addition of cupholders and wider aisles.

Clubhouse and dugout improvements also are likely to be part of the plan.

The game will falls on a Sunday. NO LLWS games will be played that day, according to the newspaper, as participating players will all likely attend. Additionally, Cardinals and Pirates players will attend some LLWS games.