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Chicago Little Leaguers Relax On Off-Day At World Series

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Jim Williams (CBS) Jim Williams
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(CBS) –Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West little league team has one day to get ready for their next game in the world series.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports that during the first weekend day of the Little League World Series the crowds were enormous – 40,000 to 50,000 people. The grassy hill on the other side of the outfield wall was covered with chairs of blankets and on the other side there were long lines of fans waiting to get to the seats. But for JRW, it relaxing time at the barber shop.

Jackie Robinson West director Bill Haley says with a chuckle that it was a time to ,”…kinda relax without the groupies.”

These 11-and 12-year-old boys have growing world-wide fame. Just ask number 24 in your program, Trey Hondras who can’t even walk through the little league complex without getting swamped by autograph speakers.

“I can’t even watch the games there. We’re signing too much autographs and people want to take pictures with us,” he said.

Not that the Jackie Robinson West players are complaining, but head coach Darold Butler wants to relieve any pressure, and so they’re at the barbershop.

“We have half of them over there playing video games and not thinking about and not thinking about baseball right now,” Butler said. “If we can keep it just baseball with these guys, I feel real good about our chances because they are just going to play like they always play.”

“ESPN’s here. There’s thousands of fans here but at the end of the day, it’s a bunch of 11- and 12-year-olds playing baseball,” said Brian McLintlock, Little League World Series media relations director.

It helps that as JRW approaches Sunday’s matchup against Nevada, they had such explosive game one on Thursday.

“Believe it or not, I feel they’re more relaxed.,” said Butler.

Relaxed, and learning to live in the spotlight. Later the boys had a practice, working on fundamentals over and over.

Team support is running deep in Pennsylvania but especially here in Chicago.

A fresh batch of t-shirts came and went Saturday over at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Store downtown. The store says there are a of sizes left.

The line of about 500 people wrapped around the store on South Canal. Finally around 11 a.m. everyone was let in… And the fans could purchase up to two Jackie Robinson West baseball shirts. 100-percent of the proceeds go to the baseball club.

There will be a watch party at Jackie Robinson Park Sunday. The game starts at 1 p.m.

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