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The Connie Mack World Series has come a long way since 1965, when a determined group of businessmen successfully bid on the tournament at the annual meeting of the American Amateur Baseball Congress in Chicago.

Today, the annual tournament showcases the top amateur baseball teams in the country and Puerto Rico. Many teams measure their season's success by whether or not they make it to Farmington to compete in the series. And it's not hard to see why. The series has hosted the likes of Barry Larkin, Duane Ward, Larry Harlow, Tony Muser and, probably most famously, Ken Griffey Jr.

As you'll see in our Connie Mack World Series preview inserted in today's paper, many of this year's teams boast rosters full of players committed to elite college baseball programs. We have no doubt that we'll be hearing about players in this year's series for years to come.

But there's another reason for the series' longevity. Over the last five decades, the Connie Mack World Series has become synonymous with Farmington in large part because of how the community has embraced the tournament. Local businesses display signs to welcome visiting teams. San Juan County families open their homes to host the players. And fans turn out in droves to catch a baseball game as the sun sets at Ricketts Park.

This year's series marks the 51st year Farmington has hosted the event. The eight-day tournament kicks off Friday with three games and the opening ceremony. Games continue through Aug. 7, when the 2015 Connie Mack World Series champion will be crowned.

To the players and coaches visiting our city this week, welcome to the community. We know most of you are far from home — this year's series includes teams from New York to California and from Louisiana to Illinois — but know that we already consider you part of the family. Of course, this week is all about baseball, but we also hope you have at least a few hours in the coming week to explore the Four Corners.

To locals, we hope to see you out in the stands for games. This year's series has expanded by two teams to a total of 12, and more than 20 games are scheduled throughout the week. With up to four games a day, there are plenty of opportunities to take in a ball game. Plus, there are lots of Connie Mack-related activities for the entire family, starting with the parade at 10 a.m. Friday in downtown Farmington.

Our sports staff and photographers will be at every game to provide comprehensive coverage of the event. We'll have stories and live online updates, photo galleries, videos, live chats and more. But we also want to hear from you, the fans. Use #CMWS on Twitter, and we may use your post as part on our online coverage.

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