If you aren’t familiar with Pennsylvania geography, Williamsport, home of the Little League World Series, sits at the approximate apex of a triangle formed between Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Williamsport. While the drive between Williamsport and the steel city makes for a good four-hour each way trip, it’s still close enough to draw big time baseball fans with nothing better to do. Like, say, Little League World Series (LLWS) players.
That was backdrop behind an interview during the Pirates’ Tuesday game against the Nationals at PNC Park. Three of the international squads that have already been eliminated from LLWS contention made the trip to Pittsburgh and AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh in-game reporter Dan Potash (note: it would be hard to find a more historically appropiate generic last name for a Pittsburgh reporter than Potash) made the hike up the bleachers to talk to Team Canada’s Everett Bertsch. Like most of his countrymen, Bertsch came across as effortlessly pleasant and honest … with an emphasis on the honest part.
Bertsch was asked what he thought about the scene at PNC Park. He didn’t hold back:
Yup, welcome to Generation Z, where even the Canadian pre-teens are dunking on teams and towns where the fans have given up.
There is, of course, a certain irony to Team Canada bringing light to Pittsburgh’s attendance problems. PNC Park’s official attendance Wednesday was 10,449, dismal even compared to the team’s average of 19,692, which is among the worst eight in all of baseball.
The team that is only two spots in front of Pittsburgh in those attendance standings? Toronto, Canada’s national MLB team, which has averaged just 21,907 in a much more cavernous Sky Dome. Granted, the county’s Little League World Series squad hailed from the other side of the county in British Columbia, but Toronto is still technically their home county team.
“So, you’re saying that the lone Canadian MLB team has a higher percentage of empty seats than the Pirates, the team a Canadian Little Leaguer was making fun of on regional television?”
Yes, that’s what we’re saying. Not sure it will make Pirates fans feel any better about their place in the MLB food chain, but it’s a start.