WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — For the first time in more than seven decades, the Little League World Series has been canceled due to COVID-19. 

Wednesday was supposed to be the Grand Slam Parade that brings in thousands from around the world to Williamsport, but the streets are quiet.

“It’s going to be missing. It’s one of the highlights for a lot of these players when you have that many people cheering you on and you haven’t even hit the field yet,” Gary Chrisman, a local radio host, told Eyewitness News.

Chrisman has hosted the Grand Slam Parade with Eyewitness News for several years. The parade is the official kick-off to the series, as people line the streets, cheering on teams from around the world. It’s an event that thousands look forward to each year.

“It’s not just the 16 teams that come every year. It’s their family, their fans, and people who have the LLWS as a bucket list item to come see and experience. The hospitality that the Williamsport community shows our fans and the people that come to LLWS is unmatched,” said Brian McClintock, senior director of communication, Little League Internationals.

Though the series has been canceled for 2020, Little League teams in our area have been practicing safely. 

“Kids in a safe situation all over Pennsylvania, all over northeastern PA have been playing this summer, get their games in, stay safe and hopefully everything works out where they’ll be able to get back to school,” Chrisman said.

2020 has been a strike out for LLWS but they are anticipating 2021 will be even bigger and better.

“The best way to handle a baseball or softball situation is you have to learn from it, you have to grow from it you always have to know there’s a next play. So we’re looking forward to what’s next, looking forward to 2021,” said McClintock.

Right now, the 2021 Little League World Series is scheduled for August 18 to 29.