Detroit Tigers partner with World Series

A couple years ago, a group of 13- and 14-year-old baseball players from Russia oohed and awed in amazement as fireworks exploded beyond the outfield fences of World Series Field in Taylor’s Heritage Park.

Their coaches said the players had not seen fireworks before.

The city of Taylor, which is known for its fireworks show during the Meijer Taylor Summer Festival each July, will again provide a smaller version of the pyrotechnics during the opening ceremonies of the Junior League World Series.

The welcoming event for all 10 teams competing to become world champion starts at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the park, located at 12111 Pardee Road. The public is invited and even encouraged to attend. Admission is free.

The event starts with a Parade of Champions in which all of the players, coaches and dignitaries march onto the field in an Olympic-like procession as their national anthems play.

Greg Bzura, director of the World Series, said all of the teams that arrive in Taylor are already champions, having won state or provincial, national and/or regional championships along the way.

Taylor Mayor Cameron Priebe will welcome the visitors and take part in the ceremonial first pitch. Other speakers will include Sam Abrams, community affairs coordinator for the Detroit Tigers, and Vicente Sanchez, consul, of the Consulate of Mexico in Detroit.

The team from Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico, will receive special attention because it will be the 20thGreg Bzura figures that the kindness the Detroit Tigers showed during last year’s Junior League World Series in Taylor is one of the reasons they’re the best team in Major League baseball this year.

The World Series and the Tigers agreed to a partnership last year and it gave added credibility to the series, according to Bzura, who is director of the international tournament.

Last August, Nate Robertson, Vance Wilson and Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez made appearances at Heritage Park, spoke to the players and signed plenty of autographs. The Tigers even donated tickets to the series.

This year, the partnership continues.

"For the second consecutive year, the Detroit Tigers are please to partner with the Junior League World Series, announced Celia Bobrowski, director of community affairs for the Tigers. "It’s great to know that there is such a prestigious gathering of young talent from all over the world playing so close to Comerica Park. Congratulations to the Junior League for providing this opportunity for youth baseball players to continue their development as well as showcase their talent."

Last year, Bobrowski appeared on ESPN’s broadcast of the world championship game to tout the importance of the World Series and the partnership.

This year, the Tigers again will have a banner at World Series Field in Heritage Park welcoming the teams to the World Series. Sam Abrams, community affairs coordinator for the Tigers, will speak during opening ceremonies at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Tigers will help spread the word about the series through a press release, on the scoreboard during Tigers home games August 17 and 18 and possibly by announcing the schedule during Tigers games on the radio.

The Tigers will donate prizes toward the World Series Home Run Derby, which takes place prior to the Junior League world championship game on August 19.

The World Series may use the Tigers logo in promoting the tournament.

"Our partnership began in 2005, highlighted by the appearance of Vance Wilson, Nate Robertson and Pudge Rodriguez," said World Series Director Bzura. "They talked with our players and emphasized the importance of never giving up. And, oh boy, isn't that exactly what the Tigers are doing? Is it possible both sides were inspired?"