Girls in baseball


#1

From time to time, I get e-mails asking questions about various topics. As some of the postings gets lengthy, the poster remarks that she is playing at a level of competition that offers little if any chance of advancing, competitively. Either there is no girl’s league beyond her current experience, or the next level is all boys … and boys only.

It’s very difficult to address the realities of this game and how unfair and unreasonable it can be at time.

However there are good reasons why an all male league is, more often than not, reasonable. For example, in the 15 year old and over leagues, things can get really dicey. Physical contact is not uncommon as is the aggressiveness of the tempo. Add to this “bench clearing” and other forms of anger can put many at risk of serious injuries.

However, as disappointing and “not the answer I’m looking for,” is the response I get a lot, I do have a suggestion.

Form a all girls baseball team - whatever age suits the pool of players, just be mindful of not to spread the age thing too far to the extremes. In other words, don’t form a club with an age range from 12 to 18. So find a happy medium and get at least 15 players. Then practice the best you can, and as often as you can. Then find a group of guys who are having a club practice on a baseball field, and all the girls walk up to the coach and asked for a pickup game. If the coach says no, just tell him… " that’s the smart thing to do … wouldn’t want to be beaten by a bunch of girls." Then sit on the sidelines somewhere and heckle the guys. You’ll have your game in no time. JUST ONE THING – NO TAKING OUT THE SECOND BASEMAN OR THE CATCHER. Any player does that, the game is over and a forfeit.

So, you gals want to play ball… here’s a way to have your chance in real time.

When and if you do, someone come back here, give us a YouTube video of you hammering some guys. Just be polite about it. (yah right)


#2

In general, I think that if a player’s ability falls within the range of the standard of play for a league then bring her or him on. On average, boys are stronger, so if a boy wanted to play softball and would be a stand out, I’d probably have to exclude him from play. I’m not saying it’s fair. I’m just saying it’s safer. There would be a double standard here if the girl were a stand out baseball player, I’d let her play. It’s not fair, but it’s safe and I don’t want anyone unnecessarily injured.

Where there are rules on the books that are similar to “separate but equal”, then we must keep things divided. Where the rules are unclear, we must err on the side of inclusion where possible, but keep safety to the forefront.

Where it gets unnecessarily tricky is in liability situations. If Jane gets pegged in the ear with an 85 mph fastball and doesn’t have the reflexes to get out of the way and gets hurt (not that Joe could have avoided injury in the same situation) I hope you have a good lawyer for your league and your insurance is paid up.

Boys are allowed to play field hockey because no equivalent exists for them. I don’t like it, but I can understand why some people may think it’s OK. I’m just not one of them–especially if he’s faster and stronger than the majority of the girls.

I think back to the situation where a trans female MMA fighter beat the snot out of a biological female. I would have never allowed that to take place without a full waiver of liability in place–perhaps even a psychological eval for the biological female. If you want your feathers ruffled by a former male, there has to be something banging around in your noggin that’s not connected securely.

Bear in mind that I’m pushing 50 years old and by no means in peak physical condition. I was helping my daughter’s HS age softball team with their hitting and when challenged about my teaching, I took up position in the box and proceeded to hit more than a dozen consecutive no doubters. The team was highly receptive to my input from that point forward, but this is what can happen if you open the flood gates and let boys play girls sports–like lacrosse. (just kidding about lacrosse. I unfairly dislike lacrosse because it pulls from the baseball talent pool, so I admit my bias.)


#3

Girls mature physically sooner than boys so at younger ages the girls can compete equally with the boys. But that changes with age and at some point the inequality does become a safety issue. And it needs to be assessed on a case by case basis.


#4

I’m a class of 2019 high school RHP, and I started playing little league when I was nine. My three younger brothers have always played too, and I never really considered softball. All four of us playing at the same place was easier for my family logistically. I was terrible, probably the second or third worse on every team I played on. I don’t know why I stuck with it haha. I started pitching when I was fourteen and I really found my place on the diamond. I’ve never been good at hitting since I don’t have much power, but I’m smart and my pitches have a lot of movement, so I’ve been successful on the mound. Last time I was clocked, it was about a year ago, and I topped out at 74mph (as a sophomore- it’s decent I guess). My changeup is great though, and my curve is good too, to make up for lack in velo. Also been working on a slider. I’m the only girl as far as I know to ever play for my high school. There was a girl, Marti Sementelli, who pitched for a high school in my league about 10 years ago, but I don’t know of any other girls living particularly close to me that also play.

I’ve played for this organization a few times, Baseball For All. They’re dedicated to making sure women have equal opportunities in baseball. Like, a high school coach for a public school has to at least allow a girl to tryout for the team, since there’s no female equivalent to baseball at any high school. Most people don’t know that. When I say I play baseball for my school, people quickly assume softball haha. I played in Rockford, Illinois, and in Seoul, South Korea, on all-girl’s travel teams, against other girls’ baseball teams. It was very cool to meet other girls that also play with dudes. For many of us, we’d never actually met another girl that played baseball. I know that they have a 12U team, the Sparks, that has played in Cooperstown, and kicked the boys’ teams butts :slight_smile:

I got really lucky. I know a lot of girls who had a terrible time playing, or trying to play, high school ball- usually their teammates or coaches that didn’t accept them. Lucky for me, my coaches and teammates are great. The head coach of our program told me at the beginning of my sophomore year that I should probably switch to softball for my junior year. It pissed me off, which was good cause I worked twice as hard to prove myself to him. A few months later, I’d added 8+ mph on my fastball, thanks to A LOT of long toss, and the coach took back what he said, admitted that he was wrong. I have a good relationship with my teammates; a group of six or so of us do everything together. They’re my best friends. This summer, on one of the rare occasions that I actually played a position (2B) and got to hit, I got beaned the pitch after a mound meeting haha. My coach was pretty angry, he obviously thought it was on purpose. I don’t know if it was on purpose or not, but I definitely wore it well! The pitcher’s teammates were teasing him about that.

I’m happy, and very appreciative, for the opportunities I’ve had in baseball. I hope to play college baseball, but I don’t know if that will be possible. I know that if I do play, it’s going to be tough trying to fit in, but I’ll deal with that as it comes I guess. Junior year season starts in about two months, and if my senior year is the end of the road for me, that’s okay, I’ve loved every second of baseball and it’s shaped me into the person I am today.


#5

NCAA considered softball to be an equivalent, back in the day. I don’t keep up on whether or not title IX still exists, I don’t have any skin in that game. I would imagine that most HS would adopt the current NCAA regulation and move on. I’ll do some reading on it just because I’m embarrassed I don’t know for sure what the current regs are.

Take advantage of any opportunity you get to play. At some point, the last day will come for all of us. I’m pushing 50 and I’m also pushing that day back for as many years as possible through adult league baseball.

Keep it up and welcome to the forum.