Bandits bask in Georgia hospitality, baseball’s best at World Series

In August, the Idaho Falls Bandits put themselves in the history books as the sixth back-to-back American Legion World Series champions.

On Oct. 30, the Bandits saw a little piece of back-to-back big league history, as the Idaho squad was in the stands as Atlanta’s Dansby Swanson and Jorge Soler became the first 8-9 hitters to hit back-to-back home runs in Major League Baseball’s World Series.

The Bandits’ trip to Game 4 of the World Series was one of the perks of winning American Legion Baseball’s championship — something the program also did in 2019, with a visit to Washington, D.C., for Game 4 between the Nationals and the Houston Astros.

With the 2020 American Legion Baseball season cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, centerfielder Kailer Howell was the only player to experience both World Series trips.

“I’ve always wanted to go to a World Series game; when I went to the first one, it was like a dream come true, like I was a kid again,” Howell said. “It’s awesome to see the best of the best, to see them play in the World Series.”

For Howell’s teammate Nate Rose, the George W. Rulon American Legion Baseball Player of the Year, Game 4 was his first time going to any Major League Baseball game, much less the World Series.

“Just the experience is going to be a great time,” Rose said during the team’s visit to Post 29 in Marietta, Ga., earlier in the day.

Department of Georgia Commander Mark Shreve and other members of the Legion Family welcomed the Bandits to Post 29.

“We’re very proud of you. You represent who we are,” Shreve told the team. “You carry a little bit of a burden, saying ‘we are The American Legion World Series champs’ …

“Thousands of baseball players have gone before you. So relish the moment, enjoy this, and know that there’s always something else. There’s always another step in your achievement, whether it’s playing for a college team, whether it’s going on to do something in the community, you have set yourself up for success by being who you are, and you got there through a lot of hard work and a lot of good coaching.”

Rose was amazed by the support from the Legion Family in Georgia.

“It’s everything, just the support from here. You wouldn’t think you would get support from across the country. But winning the World Series and seeing how much love these guys have for us and the support that they have for us … it’s amazing,” Rose said.

American Legion Baseball

American Legion Baseball

American Legion Baseball enjoys a reputation as one of the most successful and tradition-rich amateur athletic leagues. Today, the program registers more than 5,400 teams in all 50 states, including Canada and Puerto Rico.

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