You want good Philadelphia baseball? You want a Philadelphia team to get behind? The Taney Dragons are your jam.
Last week, I told you about how the city's Little League 12 and under team won the state championships and made it to the regional tournament (one step short of the Little League World Series).
Well, yesterday they played their first game in that tournament and slaughtered the Maryland state champs. The game ended 11-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning thanks to the mercy rule. (If only the majors had that, we wouldn't have had to suffer through all of last night's Phillies game).
Next up, an 11am game today against the Delaware state champs. And eventually, a powerhouse match-up with the Toms River New Jersey state champs (who beat the Washington, DC team 12-2 yesterday).
Frankly, this is more exciting and fun to follow than what's going on with the Phillies this year.
A couple of good articles about the team have appeared on Penn Live in the past week. Here's one about their star pitcher, Mo'ne Davis, and here's another about the diversity of the team.
Davis throws a fastball, a curveball, change-up and a knuckleball. She doesn't throw the change-up or the knuckleball much, but when she is on, Richardson said, so is the curveball. With a 70 m.p.h. fastball, however, she doesn't need many pitches.
She's always thinking and she's thinking at a level that's beyond Little League for sure."
Richardson had to catch her once. "It hurts," he said. "It hurts."
Sounds like the Phillies might be able to use her sometime this year or next.
On the team's diversity:
Of the 12 players on the Taney roster, Rice said, five are black, four are interracial and three are white. The starting pitcher and leadoff hitter, Mo'ne Davis, is a girl.
"I couldn't think of a team that was more reflective of the area, of the environment which is Philadelphia, than this team right here," assistant coach Reggie Cummings said. "More importantly, they work together, so when we talk about brotherly love and all that, that's the epitome of this team."
It's the first from urban Philadelphia to win the Pennsylvania state Little League title, which has been contested since 1948. The players hailing from Center City, West and North Philadelphia almost don't understand the gravity of their accomplishment or why it matters beyond the fact that they'll have an extended sleepover with some of their best friends.
This is the feel good story of the year for Philadelphia baseball. Go Taney!