‘Earthquake Kids’ Hailed as Heroes After Little League World Series
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The game might be over and lost, but in Northridge the celebration was just beginning.
For a community still trying to recover from January’s earthquake, 14 talented boys who came so close to the Little League world championship became a symbol of the area’s fighting spirit.
And the Northridge section of Los Angeles wasn’t going to let them forget it.
At the Little League world championship game in Williamsport, Pa., on Saturday, rain, thunder, lightning and wind forced the players off the field for three hours before a Venezuela team defeated the Northridge Allstars 4-3.
Nevertheless, the team dubbed the Earthquake Kids can still boast of being the best Little Leaguers in the United States this year, and the players were treated to a hero’s homecoming Sunday.
They were met at Los Angeles International Airport by family members and friends. Mickey and Minnie Mouse were there to pose for pictures with them, and the pizza was plentiful.
″We’ve all wanted to be home for a long time, so it’s great to be here,″ said Allstar Michael Frost.
His father, Greg Frost, said baseball has been an outlet for the youngsters following the magnitude-6.7 quake eight months ago. Families of three players still live in temporary housing.
″There is still rubble in my street. These kids are living with that all the time. The rubble is not on the ball field. It’s an escape and you need that,″ he said.
Despite fatigue from numerous sleepless nights, the boys still displayed a fun-loving attitude. As limousines whisked them away to a party, they stood through the sunroofs and waved at the crowd. Right fielder Spencer Gordon blew kisses.
″They’re amazed. They really don’t perceive yet what it all means,″ said Gordon’s mother, Bonnie Braiker-Gordon.
On Monday, the players are scheduled to be guests on a local radio station and take part in parades at Disneyland and in Northridge. Tuesday brings a meeting with city officials, including Mayor Richard Riordan.