Mo'ne Davis not so famous in Williamsport - yet

The Taney Dragons' Mo'ne Davis waits to take batting practice in South Williamsport, Pa., Thursday.
The Taney Dragons' Mo'ne Davis waits to take batting practice in South Williamsport, Pa., Thursday. (DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer)
Posted: August 16, 2014

Mo'ne Davis may have gained international prominence as the diffident beauty who throws speed-of-light pitches, but her name recognition has not quite caught up with her reputation.

The organizers had saved Philadelphia's Taney Dragons for the end of the three-hour Grand Slam Parade, and the announcers beat a drumroll - with Mo'ne as the big reveal.

This is the town's big event. The population of about 35,000 nearly doubles during Little League week.

But on the crowded sidewalks, most of the spectators were locals, who do not necessarily attend the games. Hundreds had set up lawnchairs and equipped themselves with enough food and drink for (nearly) the duration.

In a random and extremely unscientific survey, dedicated fans who were asked, "Have you heard of Mo'ne?" three out of four needed two tries to get it right.

"Isn't that a perfume?" asked Michelle Rickard, a 52-year-old Williamsport native who works for a utility company.

"The wine?" said Curtis Johnson, 64, a Little League coach and owner of a sporting goods distributorship.

"Of course. The painter!" said Laura Mellott, 28, a chemist and now stay-at-home mother for her seven-week-old son Lucas, who miraculously slept in swaddled peace through the brass bands and bagpipes.

Once they were given the clue, "The girl from Philadelphia," however, all of them responded with a version of: "Oh! The PITCHER!" and said they were rooting for her.

"She's a big deal," noted Johnson.

The fourth respondent, James Jeter was the only one who got it on the first try. Jeter, 44, an abstractor in the oil and gas industry, was one of the relatively few African Americans among the spectators.

"Mo'ne? I know. The pitcher that everybody's talking about."

He would be cheering for her, he said. "I'd like to see her win. But I'm a fan of all the kids. It takes a lot to get here."

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