WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — As the Northern Little Leaguers rode down Millionaires Row, it was obvious that they were going to get a lot of chances to make plays.
“Cool, candy,” Jack Tanner said Thursday night as the more than 30,000 lining the 2-mile parade route into downtown started to pepper the players with everything from butterscotch discs to Tootsie Rolls.
After about two blocks it became obvious that the Columbus players who are in town for the Little League World Series would have to play better defense.
Catcher Blake Hicks was trying to protect his manager, Randy Morris, but it wasn’t working well. “Coach Randy has already gotten pelted four or five times,” Hicks said about halfway through it.
The parade is not the best part of the week for Morris, who was here in 2006 when Northern won the world championship.
“I am ready to be done with this part of it,” Morris said as he sat on the back of a flatbed truck waiting more than an hour to get onto the parade route.
And that was before he got drilled with peppermint.
The Grand Slam Parade kicks off the World Series. Play begins today, but Northern will not play until 3 p.m. Saturday when it meets Hawaii in a game televised nationally on ABC.
But Thursday night was not about baseball. It was about having a good time — and also getting a scouting report on the fans.
“You can tell which ones don’t like you,” Northern pitcher Jacob Pate said. “They throw it at you really hard.”