ThinkFest: Alex Rice on the Inspirational Run of the Taney Dragons

"The team was loaded, but a lot of things had to go right for it to happen."

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Alex Rice, coach of the Taney Dragons baseball team, was just on the ThinkFest Main Stage to discuss his team’s run to the Little League World Series with radio host Chris Stigall.

Three takeaways:

ON THE TEAM’S GOAL FOR THE SEASON: “”The dream was to get to Williamsport. I’ve been modest up to this point, but I knew the team had a shot. The team was loaded, but a lot of things had to go right for it to happen.”

ON THE CITY’S SUPPORT FOR THE TEAM: “We knew there was some excitement, people would tell us that ‘They’re really excited back home.’ … I really did have no idea.”

“We absolutely did not want a parade because we were 100 percent sure that no one would come to it. It would be upsetting to the kids,” Rice said. “When the mayor insisted on a parade, there was no way we could talk him out of it.”

ON BASEBALL IN THE INNER CITY: Rice said there’s enough talent in Philadelphia to create many successful teams to compete on the Little League World Series level. But there’s little infrastructure here for them. “We were the very first team from Philadelphia to win Pennsylvania,” he said. “In my mind there’s no reason that Philadelphia shouldn’t win every year like other urban centers, New York City or Chicago.”

“I absolutely believe that. When we put the team together, it was always more than about winning baseball games,” he said. “We knew we had to get to Williamsport to show that, on a level playing field … inner city kids can thrive, they can win.”

Check out all of our coverage from ThinkFest 2014.