Daley, Klein reveling in rooting role for American
Until Tuesday, only one Fairfield Little League baseball coaching staff had ever guided a team as far as the New England Regional Tournament.
But Klein and Daley are also pleased to be spectators this year. Both have followed closely as their successors-- Kevin Flynn, Steven Kudzy and Brendan Lynch-- have taken home American's second straight Connecticut state title.
"It's great for the town and shows what a great organization Fairfield American Little League is," Daley said.
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Klein has been serving as chauffeur and chaperone for last year's World Series squad to cheer on this year's team. Many of the players who played in Williamsport last summer have been the current 12 year olds' most vociferous supporters.
"Many of the boys from last year are good friends with this year's group," Klein said. "As a result, we've attended many of the games-- loudly."
Klein and Daley also have served as experienced sounding boards. Both have provided Flynn and the team with advice and an idea of what to expect-- especially in reaching regionals-- and spending a week away from home at Bristol's Giamatti Center.
"Last year's team was telling us how much fun it was," Flynn said of playing in New Englands.
Klein also pointed out how extraordinary it is for the Connecticut champ to play on its home turf in the regional tournament.
"Being the `home' team in Bristol is a special experience," he said. "Only a handful of baseball players in this state get to experience that every year."
Daley also suggested the team stay the course and live it up.
"My only advice would be is to keep doing what they're doing and enjoy the moment," he said. "We'll be in Bristol to support them."