The Berkshire Force unveiled the banner highlighting the city as the host for the 2014 World Series.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A year after the city's girls softball team went to the World Series, the World Series is now coming to them.
The city wll host the U16 Babe Ruth World Series tournament from July 29 through August 5 at the Doyle Softball Complex and it expects to bring hundreds of families to the Berkshires.
Numbering in the thousands, the additional visitors are expected to be a boon for local businesses.
"There is an economic consideration when people come here they stay in hotels, eat in restaurants, shop in our stores. Beyond that, a lot of people who have started businesses in the Berkshires came here either as campers when they were youngsters or as vacationers," Mayor Daniel Bianchi said at a Saturday morning press conference. "If you expose the area to a wide variety of people, many of whom have business interests, it can have an effect on economic development."
Babe Ruth League Commissioner Rob Conner estimates that 300 to 500 nights will be rented from local hotels.
"They're going to see an uptick, which is going to be a huge economic impact to the local community here," Connor said, "That is local dollars that will be back into the community and all of that money stays here in the community."
The city hosted the event in 2008 and made a strong impression on league officials. Conner said that year's World Series was run so smoothly by a local volunteer committee that the city has had "an open invitation" to host it again.
Earlier this year, Jim Stimpson, of Pittsfield Girls Softball, took that invitation.
Rob Connor said the city did a good job when it hosted the series in 2008.
"Pittsfield has demonstrated that they can break new ground in the past and come up with new ideas on how to manage," Connor said. "I've always wanted to come back to Pittsfield. We've had New England regional events. I loved it here in '08."
A volunteer group of parents and Pittsfield Girls Softball officials will plot out the logistics of the event. The city will continue maintenance of the field and the Babe Ruth League will handle transportation for the teams.
"We're not here to micromanage. It is a local event and we believe in a local flair, local flavor," Connor said.
Already, the Babe Ruth League has decorated the field with signage and the 2014 championship trophy will be kept in the city until the winner takes it back to their home.
While the event is expected to be an economic boon, Stimpson says the volunteers organizing it will need money to put it on. Stimpson said the group will be making a fundraising push.
"We have to raise some funds. An event of this magnitude also costs a lot of money," he said.
That startup costs is eyed to be modest compared to the long-term benefits for both the county and the softball players, according to Bianchi.
"It's a wonderful opportunity for the community but even more so for the youngsters who participate," Bianchi said.