Usually, when we hear about All-Star selections in the pro leagues, everybody finds out by checking the Internet. The players probably get an email, a phone call, or they may even find a leaked announcement online.
There’s not much of a surprise there, for the most part. I like finding things out a little more when there’s some kind of buildup to it — maybe something to look for, or to look forward to, that will keep me waiting in anticipation.
So, I’ll be the first to say that Plant City Little League’s way of breaking the news is awesome.
Although they could settle for something as simple as a league-wide email to coaches and parents, they choose to go above and beyond that every year by turning it into a Christmas-ish thing: leaving something for the kids to wake up to on the morning of announcements.
If you’re a kid who plays ball in Plant City Little League, then this bright sign is exactly what you want to wake up to on the mid-June morning, when the announcements are made. Although some kids already know what’s up when they see the sign, first-time All-Stars will be happy to read the caption: “A 2014 Plant City Little League All-Star Lives Here!”
“Typically, they are blue for baseball and pink or red for softball,” T.J. Messick says. “The kids are always excited, and they all know to look outside for their sign the morning of announcements. It’s pretty cool.”
Here’s how it works: On the eve of the All-Star announcements (which are split up into two non-consecutive days), each All-Star team’s coaching staff will make a list of the players and their homes.
At midnight, they’ll spread out around town and stick those signs in the players’ front lawns. So, if you see this in person next year, don’t freak out — unless the people break into the houses, because then it’s definitely not the coaches.
It’s great, because it’s so subtle, yet you couldn’t miss it if you tried. Keith Hicks brought one to the Martin Luther King Recreation Center’s baseball fields so that I could see it, and these suckers are bright. Back in my day, I would have hopped on my bike and pedaled from house to house to see who all had the signs in their yards; today, many of these kids have smartphones and likely will know everything within five minutes.
I can only imagine how much more fun it would be if something like this happened in professional sports. There might have to be some workarounds (placing signs on hotel-room doors), because of travel schedules, but it’s probably more fun than any email that says, “Congrats, but don’t forget about tonight’s game.”
The pros could totally learn from Plant City Little League.