Jeff Chapman LL Diary Day 8

August 7, 2006

If there’s anything more frustrating than going halfway around the world to watch it rain…well, quite frankly, I can’t think of anything more frustrating than that right now.

It began to rain just after midnight Saturday night and the Polish weather gods reared their ugly heads all day and into the night.

Finally, at 6 pm local time, after 18 straight hours of rain, and recognizing it would take 2+ hours to get any of the three 60-foot fields ready whenever it stopped, Regional Director Beata Kaszuba threw up her hands and surrendered. With that, the first-ever full-day washout of games at the European LL Regional Tournament in Kutno, Poland was in the books Sunday.

There have been over 50 European regional tournaments held in Kutno going back to 1995. Tournaments take an average of 6 days, meaning Sunday’s cancellation was the first in close to 300 tournament days.

Frustrating for coaches, kids and umpires, to be sure, as we were on standby all day in case skies lightened. Moreover, it’s a logistics nightmare for Little League.

This tournament HAS to end Wednesday, and there are still 14 games left in pool play, plus Tuesday’s semifinals and title game.

Many options remain, including playing double-headers and/or wiping out Tuesday’s semis, but there’s a tremendous amount of pressure on Monday’s weather to cooperate, and the forecast isn’t very promising.

Why does the tournament have to end Wednesday? Because Thursday, the winning team has to go to Warsaw for visa processing (Friday and the weekend are dead days in that regard). Monday morning, the team flies to Williamsport (tickets were purchased months ago) for the LLWS, which starts Aug. 18.

Of the 14 pool-play games remaining, there are 7 that MUST be played. Chief among them are Russia (5-0) vs. Italy (3-1) and Austria (3-1) vs. Netherlands (2-2) in Pool A, and Germany (4-0) vs. Poland (2-1) in Pool B.

LOCAL HONORS: Last month, Elaina Jurecki from San Ramon American LL was named Mom of the Year by Little League International. And now, Mike Flynn of Dublin LL has been named “Coolest Coach of the Year.” Both of them will be flown to Williamsport and honored during the LLWS.

Pray for sun in Kutno Monday.

I’M OUT!!!