Buddy Deal is on cloud nine, and not just from the flight from Atlanta to Newark, N.J., en route to Williamsport, Pa., home of the Little League Baseball World Series.
Deal, one of the coaches for the Southeast team from Warner Robins American Little League, is still amazed he is there.
It is the chance of a lifetime, not only for the players but also for him.
“I mean, it’s a dream for me,” Deal said.
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The players arrived Sunday in Williamsport, Pa. Since then, they’ve received uniforms and picked out equipment as they prepared for their first game Thursday against the Southwest team from Lafayette, La.
The team received its teal-colored uniforms Sunday. Two players were missing pants because of sizing issues. Jake Fromm and Jordan Hampton needed longer pants and were waiting on those to arrive.
“It’s the only crisis we’ve had so far,” Deal said.
That and the fact that the team took ice-cold showers Monday morning in the dormitory.
Even though Deal sang to his players to wake them up on advice from Mickey Lay, manager of the 2007 World Series champions from WRALL, they were still beaten to the showers by the team from Mexico.
So far, the most exciting part of the trip was the visit to get new equipment.
Deal might have been more impressed than the team. He said the players got to pick from between two bats, both of which weren’t available yet. There was new catcher’s gear as well as new shirts and cleats for all of the coaching staff.
“Everything matches,” Deal said.
The fact that the team will not wear the mustard and ketchup-colored outfits from years past is also a boon to the boys.
“We have the sharpest uniform out here,” Deal said.
The boys already have met some of the international teams. The Japanese team gave them shirts, and the team from Chinese Taipei handed out hats.
As Deal tried to help the boys figure out which underwear went with which child, he also was trying to get the 14 boys ready for their first photo shoot with their new uniforms.
“They are so excited,” he said. “It’s unbelievable.”
To contact writer Angela Woolen, call 923-5650.