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In The Pipeline: H.B.'s own field of dreams

After Ocean View Little League's World Series victory, Murdy Park may be hallowed grounds.

August 31, 2011|By Chris Epting
  • Ocean View's home field at Murdy Park.
Ocean View's home field at Murdy Park. (Chris Epting, HB…)

As I write this, it is early Sunday morning, several hours before Ocean View Little League's championship World Series game versus Japan (an interesting coincidence, give that one of our sister cities is in Japan).

The teams, of course, are about 2,600 miles east in Williamsport, Pa.

I'm here in Huntington Beach, sitting by Ocean View's home field, part of Murdy Park. State Sen. John A. Murdy donated the 15-acre parcel of land for this park in 1962. The skate park here is the first skating facility ever constructed in Orange County. This is also the location of the very first community center ever built in Huntington Beach.

But from now on, the park will probably be best known for this team.

And I'm thinking as I write this, no matter what happens in the championship game, we should all remember this field, and tell people about this field, and celebrate the young men who play baseball on this field. Because regardless of the final score today, what the Ocean View Little League team did in the last several weeks was quite extraordinary. In fact, what all of the teams did (and do each season in Williamsport) is extraordinary.

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They leave their small towns, their big cities and their far-off countries to play on a world stage. All of a sudden, tens of thousands of people flock to see them, cheer them and revel in their accomplishments. They compete with the most elite players from around the globe, all the while representing, in near-Olympic fashion, where they come from.

Babe Ruth once said, "I won't be happy until we have every boy in America between the ages of six and 16 wearing a glove and swinging a bat." And so, somewhere, Ruth must be smiling.

As I write this, the sprinklers have just shut off, and home plate sits in a muddy, sandy pool. And it is all but silent. An already-warm breeze moves some infield dirt, but there is no baseball here today. Yet, something hangs in the air, some far-off echo of aluminum bat meeting ball, the smack of a ball meeting glove, the long-ago cheers of families on a balmy evening. If you listen close, you might hear an umpire's bellow, or an upbeat "2-4-6-8" cheer, the winner's cheer, along with a less hearty chant from the losing side.

I came here to quietly honor this team before the game, because win or lose in the final, what they have already done, for me, almost renders the last game anti-climactic.

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