GROSSE POINTE WOODS, Mich. (WXYZ) - From star pitchers to sold out stadium crowds, the popularity of little league baseball seems to have reached a fever pitch. And it's got some wondering whether baseball's youngest players should earn more than just applause.
Just as the members of Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores Little League team, whose talents took them to Williamsport, Pennsylvania for last year’s Little League World Series. And the kids admit the spotlight kind of changed the game for them.
“After every game, we would get a couple hundred followers on Instagram,” said GPWS Little Leaguer Jimmy Mazzola.
Little League’s popularity exploded this season with young stars like Mo’Ne Davis gracing magazine covers. And now, the Little League World Series is set to rake in some major league cash; $76 million dollars over eight years in TV rights alone. It's a two month journey for the country's top teams every season, spending time playing and promoting games to help garner large audiences.
So when asked whether these young players might see a little of the money someday, Little League's CEO Steve Keener says it may consider paying players down the road. And while purists might scoff at an idea like that, parents say it could help ease the out of pocket costs for families.
“I know it’s costly for parents," said Little League father Mark Lorkowski. "Some parents paid as little has $10,000, some as high as $30,000. So it was a costly thing, but I don’t think anyone complained.”
“I don’t think that little leaguers should be able to get money," said Mazzola. " Because we’re already getting so much stuff from Easton, and this year the kids are getting Oakleys.”
You can, of course, buy a lot of Oakley’s with game checks, but even the brightest little league stars admit there’s more to chase than cash out on their field.
“Enjoy it while you have it," said Little League star Chad Lorkowski. "Because it went by really fast.”