There are a lot of accepted axioms in sports, like Power 5 teams always win national college football championships, warm-weather-based universities have better baseball programs than those in colder climates and Canada has better ice hockey than, say, Jamaica.
Another axiom is being shattered, though, in this weekend’s Little League World Series, as Philadelphia’s entry is believed to be the first team from a major city downtown area to make it to Williamsport. The Taney Dragons, champions of the Mid-Atlantic Region and one of nine U.S. entrants in the LLWS, play their home games in the very center of the city, a short walk to City Hall.
For that reason alone, this team that has captured the heart of baseball city in a baseball-starved summer — the major league team is not doing too well — should be the top sports story of this weekend. Usually kids who grow up in that kind of environment live in the high rises and the brownstones and play stick ball and whiffle ball, not baseball.
There’s more, though, as every female baseball fan in the country should have an interest. Not only will all of Philadelphia be rooting for the Mid-Atlantic, but at least half the country’s population will as well because the star pitcher of the team throws like a girl — probably because she is a girl. Mo’Ne Davis pitched Taney to an 8-0 win over the Delaware State champs to clinch the trip to Williamsport. She will be only one of two girls competing this weekend — Vancouver’s Emma March will be playing for the Canada champion — and will be the first American girl to play in Williamsport since 2004.
There are eight other U.S. teams that have large fanbases out there. But with the obstacles these kids have overcome and who their pitcher is, you’ve got to believe that this Philadelphia team is America’s Team for at least one weekend.