Red Land teammates wait to congratulate Cole Wagner -- the son of one of Steve Keim's former Little League teammates -- after Wagner's home run Saturday during Red Land's 3-2 win to capture the U.S. Little League title.
SAN JOSE, Calif. – Steve Keim came into the Bay Area Friday, visiting Stanford on a scouting trip while awaiting the rest of the Cardinals to come in Saturday for their "Sunday Night Football" appearance against the Raiders.
The Cards' General Manager had the perfect chance to catch up on the other sports story engrossing both himself and anyone else who hails from York County, Pennsylvania – the Red Land Little League all-star team, which won the U.S. Little League championship Saturday and plays Japan for the Little League World Series title Sunday.
"When I went to college, I basically had to tell everyone I was from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, because they had no clue
where Red Land was, or Lewisberry, for that matter," Keim said a couple of hours after Red Land beat a team from Texas, 3-2.
"After today, that's changed things. These young men have put Red Land and Lewisberry on the map forever. Now I can forever be the guy from the Little League World Series hometown."
Bruce Arians, who is also from York County, has also been paying close attention to the baseball run. But the ties for Keim go much deeper, deeper than just it being his former little league.
The Red Land star pitcher and hitter, Cole Wagner, is the son of Keim's former little league teammate Bret Wagner – a one-time first-round pick of Major League Baseball. Cole Wagner's uncle and Bret's twin, Kyle, was a catcher on that team while Keim and Bret Wagner were the pitchers.
While Keim got a football scholarship to North Carolina State, the Wagners went to Wake Forest to play baseball.
The Red Land head coach is Tom Peifer, who just happened to play fullback on Keim's high school team.
"To watch the kids of my friends growing up, it's crazy," Keim said.
The Lewisberry area is so close to Williamsport, PA., where the Little League World Series is held, that the crowds have been monstrous. It's not even quite 100 miles away, so more than 40,000 packed the stadium Saturday and the crowd will be huge for the title game Sunday.
That game starts at noon Arizona (and California) time, giving Keim plenty of time to watch it before the Cardinals kick off.
Cole isn't the only player who has a parent (or two) that Keim grew up with. He acknowledged he hasn't talked to the Wagners in a long time, "but when I go back home, if I see them, it'll be like no time has passed."
They will definitely have something to talk about.
"Our hometown is buzzing right now," Keim said.