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Orioles to face Red Sox in 2020 Little League Classic in Williamsport

The Philadelphia Phillies line the first baseline and the New York Mets line the third baseline before the Little League Classic baseball game at Bowman Field in Williamsport, Pa., Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018.
The Philadelphia Phillies line the first baseline and the New York Mets line the third baseline before the Little League Classic baseball game at Bowman Field in Williamsport, Pa., Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018. (Gene J. Puskar / AP)

The Orioles will get at least one prime-time game next year, as Major League Baseball announced Tuesday that they’ll face the Boston Red Sox in the fourth annual MLB Little League Classic, an event held in conjunction with the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

The annual showcase game, which is meant to connect the popular Little League World Series to the major league game, is held each summer at Williamsport’s Historic Bowman Field, a 3,000-seat stadium that was renovated ahead of the 2017 season. The Williamsport Crosscutters of the New York-Penn League typically call the stadium home.

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“I’m really looking forward to it,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “I know just watching it on TV how much fun it looks like players have, and the interaction with the kids. Obviously, Williamsport is something we all dreamed about as kids trying to get there and play in the Little League World Series. I’ve never been there. To go there and experience that and meet everybody up there, and to play on Sunday Night Baseball in that kind of environment is going to be a really cool experience.

“It’s something that I always wanted to do as a kid. You grow up watching it on ABC, and it’s something where you’re trying to get there as a kid. We fell a little short, but obviously it’s something that’s a really, really cool thing. Americana.”

The series began in 2017 with a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates, and featured the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies last year. The Pirates and Chicago Cubs will meet in this year’s game Aug. 18.

New York Mets' Todd Frazier takes his place along the third baseline after being introduced before the Little League Classic baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Bowman Field in Williamsport, Pa., Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018.
New York Mets' Todd Frazier takes his place along the third baseline after being introduced before the Little League Classic baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Bowman Field in Williamsport, Pa., Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018. (Gene J. Puskar / AP)

“Participating in next year’s Little League Classic is a tremendous honor for our club,” Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said in a statement. “Our entire organization is deeply committed to growing the game at all levels, and to celebrating the invaluable life lessons learned through youth baseball. As a Little League Baseball alumnus myself, I look forward to visiting Williamsport as we come together to share the game of baseball with the next generation.”

“Connecting with the next generation has been a critical part of Commissioner [Rob] Manfred’s agenda over the past several years and we are thrilled to participate in next seasons Little League Classic that directly connects Major League players with Little Leaguers,” Red Sox president/CEO Sam Kennedy said in a statement. “We look forward to spending time with the next generation of fans and playing in the intimate setting of Historic Bowman Field filled with Little Leaguers and their families.”

MLB announced the Orioles will be the hosts for the game. Typically, tickets are reserved for the Little League World Series teams and local Little League participants in the Williamsport area.

And while there’s a long way between now and next August, Hyde joked that there’s a lot of pressure on his 11-year-old son, Colton, to be playing in it when he’s eligible.

“He’ll be playing as a 12-year-old next year, so you never know,” Hyde said. “It’s a team sport, though, so you’ve got to be surrounded by some good players, also.”

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