Editor's note: This editorial was originally published on Aug. 31, 1999.
Sunday's headline said it best: What a week! The Phenix City All-Stars began last week with a dream --- but little real expectation --- of winning the Little League World Series. They won the United States championship and fell just one game short of winning it all, losing 5-0 to Osaka, Japan on Saturday.
Along the way they picked up fans from all over the country. This newspaper has received letters from several other states offering congratulations for the team. Some of the boys have been seen signing autographs . . . at Yankee Stadium, of all places.
Following the game Saturday, New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner flew both the Phenix City and Osaka teams to New York and gave them the red carpet treatment. The players got to meet the big-leaguers and walk out onto the hallowed turf of the House that Ruth Built.
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Throughout the week, we were impressed by the comportment of all of the boys, whose families must be popping their buttons with pride. They were as gracious in defeat as they had been in victory.
A special word of congratulations should be offered for the team's manager, Tony Rasmus, who is also the father of two of the players. He and his assistant coaches not only prepared the team to play the tournament of their lives, but, judging from the boys' behavior, they must have instilled the values that all parents hope youth sports will engender.
The boys displayed sportsmanship, perseverance, courage and teamwork. They learned what incredible rewards can come to a team that believes in itself.
They did the Chattahoochee Valley proud.
It may not have been a perfect week, but it was as pretty darn close. And it was certainly a week that few baseball fans in these parts will soon forget.