Teams begin arriving Thursday; parade from downtown to Ricketts Park is Friday morning
FARMINGTON — Amateur baseball teams from across the country will stream into Farmington later this week for the Connie Mack World Series, which gets underway on Friday.
Players arriving Thursday will receive a police escort to the Farmington Civic Center in downtown Farmington, said Brad Campbell, president and chairman of the world series committee. There, they will attend a player orientation, register for the series and meet their host families.
"A lot of the public meets there to greet the players," Campbell said.
Campbell said players will gather for a barbecue Thursday evening with food provided by Great Harvest Bread Co.
The Connie Mack parade kicks off at 10 a.m. Friday at the intersection of Bowman Avenue and Main Street. Main Street will be closed beginning at 7:30 a.m., according to the city of Farmington's website.
The parade will proceed east through downtown Farmington and finish at Ricketts Park, 1101 N. Fairgrounds Road.
Campbell said the parade will have floats featuring teams and tournament dignitaries and representatives from churches, local businesses and various high school organizations.
The first game, between the East Cobb Yankees and the yet-to-be decided winner of the Don Mattingly World Series, will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Ricketts Park. The second game, between the Bayside Yankees and D-BAT Elite, begins at 5:15 p.m. and will be followed by the opening ceremony at about 7 p.m.
Campbell said the opening ceremony will be more low-key than last year, when the world series celebrated its 50th anniversary in Farmington. There will be no guest speakers or Hall of Fame inductees this year.
Games will continue throughout the week until the final round of the tournament Aug. 7.
Ken "Digger" Phelps and several other retired professional baseball players will teach a free baseball clinic for children from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 4 at the Farmington Sports Complex, the first time such an event will be offered during the series. The clinic is sponsored by Arizona Public Service.
In another first for the series, the championship game will be televised on the MLB Network, Campbell said. Video of the games can also be purchased at coachesaid.com.
Farmington has hosted the Connie Mack World Series, the largest and most prestigious tournament in amateur baseball, since 1965. The American Amateur Baseball Congress provides activities for youth and young adult baseball players through seven league divisions in the United States and Puerto Rico.
Tonya Stinson, executive director at Farmington Convention and Visitors Bureau, said her staff will be at events all week answering questions and providing information.
She said the series is a point of pride for the community.
"It's a big effort, and it's done year in and year out," she said. "And it's always a great success."
Reserved seat tickets are currently sold out, according to the series' website, but general admission tickets will be on sale the day of the game at the ticket booth at Ricketts Park.
Game ticket prices are $3 for students and $4 for adults. Tickets for double game sessions are $4 for students and $5 for adults.