On Thursday, one of the largest annual sporting events in the world, the Little League World Series, will begin play in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
While the World Series will feature the most talented players in all of Little League Baseball worldwide, this year’s tournament will also have some Delaware flavor.
Ed Moran, a 20-year umpiring veteran and the Delaware District One Chief and current umpire at Camden Wyoming Little League, was one of 16 umpires chosen umpire the Little League World Series.
“This is the biggest honor that can be bestowed on an umpire, this tournament we’re beginning this week is the pinnacle of the sport, Williamsport is the crown jewel of all of baseball,” Moran
said. “To be at this level and be one of 16 to be selected is a true honor.”
For the teams that will take the field this week, getting to Williamsport is a momentous accomplishment. However, it’s just as hard to get there as an umpire.
Umpires must go through a series of schools and gain certain experience along the way, like umpiring a Regional World Series, before being considered for a spot in the Little League World Series.
Moran started to make his journey toward Williamsport in 2013, umpiring in the East Regional
which used to be held in Dover, before umpiring in the Big League and 12-year old East Regional Tournaments in years to follow.
“There’s a big evaluation process, it’s not something you can do in your first year of umpiring,” Moran said. “There’s on average 5,000 applicants worldwide that apply which puts it all into perspective. To be one of the 16 out of over 5,000 makes it even more of an honor to be able to represent the Mid-Atlantic Region and the State of Delaware.”
With Williamsport only being about four hours away from Delaware, many family and friends are making the trip alongside Moran.
“My wife and two boys are riding up with me, a lot of my peers I umpire with are making plans to come up and watch and I have some other family members coming up to enjoy a couple days of the tournament,” Moran said. “I’m blessed that we live close enough that I can have so many people able to come share this with me.”
Before he even steps on the field as an umpire at this year’s Little League World Series, Moran says he’s already thought about taking a moment to soak it all in.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, umpires who’ve been selected can come back as visitors, but you’ll never work this tournament again,” Moran said. “It’s one something as a family we’re going to experience together and I think it’s important to enjoy every moment.
"It’s going to go by quick but it’s also going to be a lot of fun.”