The 53rd annual Connie Mack World Series will welcome a record 17 teams to compete in the nine-day tournament in venues across the city, including Ricketts Park. Aaron Bedoya / USA Today Network

A record 17 teams will participate in this year's event


FARMINGTON — Buses full of baseball players eager to compete in this year's Connie Mack World Series started to arrive here today, and those who have played here before will see some changes in the series format.

The 53rd annual Connie Mack World Series will welcome a record 17 teams to compete in the nine-day tournament in venues across the city, including Ricketts Park.

Players from the winner of the Connie Mack City Tournament, the 4-C ClubSox, were the first team to arrive at the Farmington Civic Center around 1:30 p.m. this afternoon.

Law enforcement personnel escorted a motorcade of cars for the host team of the series from Ricketts Park to the front of the Civic Center on West Arrington Street.

Four teams, including the Midland Redskins and the Nashville Knights, arrived around 2:30 p.m. today.

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Other teams, including the Puerto Rico Vaqueros, weren't scheduled to arrive until about 2:30 a.m. Friday, making it a long day for event organizers.

It's the first year for East Cobb Yankee Kendall Simmons to play in the CMWS.

"I heard from all the guys about how great Connie Mack is," Simmons said.

He said he was excited to play in the event after being told by his teammates how great and friendly the crowds are here.

With the introduction of pool play and the double-elimination bracket tournament, some of the events and logistics of the CMWS have changed. Side events such as the home run derby and opening ceremonies will take place at Ricketts Park Friday, according to Carol May, chairwoman of the CMWS Committee.

The fungo skills challenge is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m., with the home run derby scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and the opening ceremonies following at 7:30 p.m. The events are free with open seating.

While speaking to players during registration, May said some of the teams may have to share a float due to a limited number of trucks available for use during Friday's parade.

The parade is scheduled to start at 10 a.m., and parts of East Main Street will be shut down.

The route for the parade starts around Bowman Avenue near Safeway and heads east along Main Street and finishes around Lake or Miller streets. 

The teams and coaches will be staying in Farmington hotels through the weekend, until the end of pool play on Sunday night.

On Monday, the eight teams that advance to the double-elimination bracket tournament will also be assigned billet families for the rest of the week, May said.

Tiffany Aubert and her family signed up to host two players after being encouraged to do so by her sister and brother-in-law Jennifer and Tom Anderson.

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Aubert and the Andersons were at the Civic Center this afternoon to welcome arriving teams.

"We just moved to town a couple of months ago, and so we wanted to see the experience," Aubert said. "I heard these kids can become a part of your family, and I'm excited about that."

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.

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