To some, the LLWS may seem a petty undertaking...a waste of time. I disagree. Sport, in and of itself, is good for youth. It teaches us teamwork, communication skills, and perseverance. I could go in-depth on all those sappy things, but I think the LLWS provides a number of other, better reasons for us to devote nearly a month of our television viewing time. Some of these may seem obvious, some may seem like a reach, but they're all legitimate, I promise.
Among the myriad of reasons the Little League World Series is good:
The kids -
Family - We all have a family. Everybody's is different, but one thing is certain: everybody's family is weird to one degree or another. The LLWS gives us a chance to realize that our family isn't really that weird. We can make fun of the over-excited moms who jump up and down every time their kid so much as comes close to the ball. Then, in the same thought, we can look back and think of how embarrassing our moms were when we played at that age. And then determine the moms at the LLWS are worse. Especially if they have a small cardboard cutout of their kid on a stick.
Short fences - The fences are really disproportionately small for 12 year old kids. But, this provides some good. Even the 9-batter, who might weigh 125 lbs after a swim in his uniform, can step up to the plate and go yard. Then we can watch him gleefully round the bases, hopefully tripping on second base and falling, and then be mobbed by his teammates at home plate, even if the team is down by 8 runs.
No leadoffs - This takes away most of the opportunity to steal, which is kind of nice. The other thing it does is prevent kids from going from second to third base on the inevitable curveball in the dirt that barely dribbles away from the catcher but he doesn't know where it is then finally finds it in his feet. Or, ya know, he just misses it and it goes to the backstop.
Short bases - Gives the kids who hit a grounder to short an actual chance to make it on base. Lots of close plays and umpire drama. Which brings me to my next point:
Umpires - We get a good view at all the different ways these 12 year old kids can get rung up like a school bell. We also get plenty of opportunity to have a good laugh at the umps' expense. The obligatory out-of-sync version of the chicken dance during the 7th inning stretch is always a crowd pleaser. Then, of course, we also get to see tomorrow's Jim Joyce botch calls.
International flavor - There's always a story about underprivileged teams from Central- or Latin-American countries. Kids from around the world - USA, the middle-Americas, Asia, etc. - can enjoy a trip to beautiful rural Pennsylvania - no doubt the first place any foreigner would want to travel to in the United States.
The spirit of competition, and sportsmanship - A mercy rule is implemented so the kids won't want to kill themselves, or turn gay, because they or their team suck at baseball.
Future aspirations - It's fun to watch these kids and think where they could be in 8-10 years. A number of LLWS'ers have gone on to Major League Baseball stardom (Gary Sheffield, Jason Bay, Dwight Gooden, Jason Varitek, Lastings MIlledge to name a few). But not every Little Leaguer goes on to star on the diamond. A few have made it big time in other sports - Pierre Turgeon and Chris Drury in the NHL, Matt Cassel in the NFL. It's also entertaining to watch and see who will be tomorrow's Danny Almonte - the kid who is so dominant it can't be true, and then it really does turn out to be untrue and then he fades into the oblivion of normal human life.
Hopefully this gives you some reason to turn on the LLWS at one point or another during the next month or so. It may not be the best baseball - in fact, it may be bad baseball - but it can be worth your time, especially if you've had a few adult beverages.
One final thought: The LLWS is good for not only the reasons listed above, but also for the fact that it helps form our youth into the future of this and other countries, and quite possibly the stars of tomorrow.