The World Series is coming to Toledo this weekend.
This particular "World Series'' is the 2005 National Amateur Baseball Federation College Division World Series, which will bring some of the better college baseball players from around the country to the Glass City.
Former Reds great Pete Rose played at this level before signing with the Reds, and other current big-leaguers such as Brian Roberts, B.J. Surhoff, Pat Burrell and Brian Jordan played in previous NABF College Division World Series.
The Erie Shores Collegiate Baseball League will play host for the four-day event for the second year, and league president J. Patrick Eaken said the teams in the tournament are some of the best summer college baseball teams in the country.
"Some of the older [summer college] baseball leagues get direct bids to this tournament, but most of the teams had to win their regional to play here,'' Eaken said. "In the future we hope to include other summer leagues such as the Great Lakes League. This is a good brand of baseball.''
The World Series includes 16 teams that were placed in one of four "pools.'' Pool play begins tomorrow at 9 a.m. at one of four local sites - Skeldon Stadium, the University of Toledo's Scott Park, Bowman Park and Bowling Green's Steller Field. Pool play continues on Friday at 12:30 p.m. at three of the four venues; the first game at Skeldon begins at 9 a.m.
On Friday night the teams will take a break to compete in a home run derby to be held at Ousky Field in Oregon.
On Saturday starting at 9 a.m., the top two teams from each pool advance to the quarterfinals at Skeldon Stadium, with the winners of those four games moving on to Sunday's semifinals. The championship contest will be played at Skeldon starting at 7 p.m. Sunday.
The tournament features games played under American League rules - in other words, each team uses a DH in place of the pitcher. The only exception is that the NABF World Series includes the use of the NCAA's "slide rule,'' which does not allow baserunners to "bowl over'' a catcher when trying to score.
The games also will feature wood bats, something Eaken said makes the tournament very attractive to professional scouts.
"The scouts want to see how players do while hitting with wood bats,'' he said. "It takes a little more skill to hit with a wood bat. At the quarterfinals last year we had a long line of scouts watching the games.''
An all-tournament "bracelet'' is available for $15 and gives the bearer access to every game in the World Series. Entrance to one site each day costs $5.
Eaken said one-third of the gate from the tournament will be donated to the Lucas County division of the American Heart Association. The tournament also will host a raffle of sports memorabilia starting with Saturday's quarterfinals, with some of the raffle's proceeds also going to the heart association.
"We just thought we needed to give more than just baseball to the community,'' Eaken said. "There's a purpose to this event beyond just baseball.''
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