Lost in all of the hubbub over Harold Reynolds being dismissed at ESPN is the fact that he won't be in the broadcast booth for the Little League World Series, breaking a nine-year string. It seems especially cruel to cut Reynolds loose on the eve of the biggest event for pint-sized athletes in the world, which starts August 18. Reynolds in recent years was the Little League World Series, participating in clinics, autograph signings, special promotions and other events in Williamsport, Penn., that helped the event grow from a quaint curiosity to one of the big television events of the summer. Last year the LLWS got higher ratings than the College World Series, and it wasn't because of Brent Musberger.
Reynolds of course tended to overanalyze; we quickly tired of hearing his explanation, which he repeated daily, of how 76-MPH fastballs were really 99-MPH fastballs to Little Leaguers due to the reduced distance from the mound to the plate. Also we'll never forget the time during the 2004 tournament when he referred to one 11-year-old player as "a stud," and last year, when he compared Hawaii's 12-year-old shortstop to Derek Jeter. Of course, considering the nature of his firing, it might seem a little creepy to some to have him broadcasting at a youth sports event now, so soon. But it's still going to seem weird not having him there.