On what would have been Opening Day weekend, when thousands of fans would have been packing the stands and millions more watching baseball on television, the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) in partnership with Major League Baseball, is releasing a short film, The City Behind Us: The Story of the Elmora Troopers. The film highlights the Elmora Troopers’ journey to the 2019 Little League World Series – a goal never before achieved in the city of Elizabeth, New Jersey.
Many of the Elmora Troopers players first participated in USCM’s PLAY BALL program, a joint initiative launched in 2015 with Major League Baseball, which encourages mayors to engage with citizens, families and their respective city departments to organize individual and community “Play Ball” events. More than 350 mayors participated in the program in 2019.
Just yesterday in a letter to fans, MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred said, “While we aren’t on the field today, there will still be plenty of baseball for you to watch.” The City Behind Us will give fans across the country the chance to watch a story that shows how the little league team caught the attention and love of their city, and eventually the whole nation. During the team’s championship run, Major League players such as Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs adopted the “Jersey Shake” as a post-home run celebration in recognition of the team and ESPN began airing their games during peak ratings hours.
“I couldn’t be any prouder of our team, our coaches, the parents or the entire Elizabethtown community,” said Elizabeth, New Jersey Mayor J. Christian Bollwage. “The Elmora Troopers showed us what baseball is all about, and it’s more than just what takes place on the field. I look forward to being able to watch their continued success, and for the Mayors PLAY BALL Program to continue to grow and inspire young people to take part in America’s pastime.”
Mayor Bollwage has been one of the biggest supporters of PLAY BALL events since the program’s inception. Many of the Elmora Troopers players participated in Mayor Bollwage’s first PLAY BALL event.
“This short film reminds us that baseball still has the unique ability to bring us all together, even during a time when we must be physically apart,” said Tom Cochran, USCM CEO and Executive Director. “The Elmora Troopers 2019 season serves as a light in the darkness during these tough times, and I’m proud that the Mayors PLAY BALL initiative was able to play such an important role in fostering a love of baseball among youth in Elizabeth, New Jersey and across the country. We hope this film will inspire other youth to play baseball and to have a community rally around them as the city of Elizabeth did.”