Below, you’ll find four things you need to know about the 2021 Little League Classic. But first, here’s how to watch the game:
Small Leagues Classic 2021
- When: Sunday, 7:08 p.m. ET | Or: Bowman Field (Williamsport, Pennsylvanie)
- TV channel: ESPN | Direct: fuboTV (try for free)
- Match de pitch: Cal Quantrill (CLE) Vs. José Suarez (ALA)
- Chances: CLE : -130 ; AAL : +120 ; O/U: 9 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
1. This is the fourth Little League Classic
MLB launched the Little League Classic in 2017 to support the Little League World Series. Each year (except 2020 due to the global pandemic), the Classic has included MLB players interacting with their young ball-playing counterparts before taking part in a game themselves. Bowman Field holds just over 2,500 fans, making it an exclusive event.
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This is the first time that the Angels or Cleveland will participate in the Little League Classic. In previous clashes, the Pittsburgh Pirates have defeated the St. Louis Cardinals; the New York Mets dominated the Philadelphia Phillies; and the Chicago Cubs beat the Pirates. Last year’s Classic was to feature the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles.
The Little League World Series are held in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The event normally has 16 teams, including eight from the United States and eight international teams. Due to the pandemic, however, the 2021 Little League World Series has 16 US teams and limited participation. The event kicked off Thursday.
2. Themed uniforms are making a comeback
One of the cool things about the Classic is that both teams wear Little League-inspired uniforms. This year’s discussion threads include little touches like their “region”.
Here’s a look at what the two teams will wear on Sunday night:
3. All eyes on Ohtani
Angels outfielder Mike Trout will not be able to participate in the Classic due to his hamstring injury. He did, however, do an admirable job as the hype man for two-way phenomenon Shohei Ohtani, who may well take home the American League’s Most Valuable Player award this year.
“If it’s a reaction like the one he gets at the ballpark, I’m sure it’s going to be pretty exciting,” Trout told USA Today. “I’m trying to get him to practice batting at Little League Field, see how far he can hit them. It would be quite fun. What he does in the field, I can’t put anything else into it. I have never seen anything like it. “
Ohtani enters Sunday night with .269 / .363 / .638 (162 OPS +) with 40 home runs in 119 games. He’s also pitched 100 innings during the year, with a 2.79 ERA (166+ ERA) and a strike-to-walk ratio of 3.08 to boot.
4. A promising pitch match
José Suarez and Cal Quantrill aren’t household names, but they are both young pitchers with quality seasons who could make for an entertaining duel.
Suarez, a 23-year-old southpaw with a low exit point, has a 3.88 ERA (120+ ERA) and strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.39 in his first 16 appearances this season. It relies on three throws: a 90s fastball, a shift, and a curveball.
Quantrill, a 26-year-old right-hander, has a 3.24 ERA (140 ERA +) and strikeout ratio of 2.35 in 33 appearances. Quantrill, originally acquired as part of Mike Clevinger’s trade last summer, relies on its lead and slider. He’ll also throw a four-seam fastball and change to keep hitters honest.