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Tuesday, August 08, 2017

The defiant girls who refuse to play softball instead of baseball, and why they rock

“I watched a middle school softball game once, and it was just so slow,” said Tess Usher, 11, who plays first base for D.C. Force, the all-girls baseball team that just killed it at a national tournament. “I love playing baseball. That’s not going to change.”

Tess hit her first home run in Rockford, Ill., last week, on the same field where the Rockford Peaches played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League way back in the 1940s when women showed the world they could play baseball.

Tess’s 11-and-under division had a good showing at the nation’s third-ever all-girls baseball tournament. The 13-and-under girls from the District? They won the whole darn thing.

“All these girls are awesome in and of themselves,” said the 13-and-under girls’ coach, Ava Benach, an immigration lawyer in Washington when she’s not coaching baseball. “They all play on teams that are coed, they hold their own, they’re usually the only girls on their teams.

“They’re trailblazers, because they get a lot of messages telling them to get out of baseball and go to softball.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 08, 2017 at 10:14 AM | 61 comment(s)
  Beats: softball, women in baseball, youth baseball

Friday, June 30, 2017

An oral history of “League of Their Own” on the 25th anniversary

Candaele: Geena Davis (Dottie) was very clearly a talented athlete. She could throw and swing the bat. Then all of the other women they found to fill out the teams were great athletes. So it just reinforced this idea that there are great women athletes out there that are tremendous baseball players. They brought those skills to the tryouts, then, of course, the movie.

Greenhut: We went through a lot tryouts. We had Demi Moore out there in a batting cage. (Moore eventually couldn’t do the film after she became pregnant.) We even had Debra Winger, but that didn’t work out. However, I had worked with Geena Davis before [on “Quick Change,” which came out in 1990]. And then Madonna came into play. So Columbia/Sony wanted to do this whole package thing, which we could market. And Madonna wanted to do it. She was hot stuff at the time, and she was athletic enough.

Madonna just really wanted to do this film. And I told her, “You know, it’s very little money.” She explained that she wanted to be diverse in her career. And she took it seriously. She might have come in late a few times, and maybe I had to bring her to the principal’s office kind of thing. But ultimately, she was a sweetheart. She was just so enthusiastic about doing a good job….

Anyway, the hardest thing Madonna had to do baseball-wise was sliding into third or home, and that took a while to get right.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Is There Still a Place for Ladies Night in Baseball?

Casey Landman, 39, is a lifelong Phillies fan and has attended Baseball 101 every year from 2010 to 2016. Having played softball for 14 years, she’s no stranger to the diamond, but getting to run the bases at Citizens Bank Park, to throw in the bullpen with the Phillies’ pitching coaches, to catch pop-ups and field ground balls with the infield coaches, and to hit in the cages is a fan experience she says is unlike any other. “I just love being as close to baseball as I can and it’s a really rare opportunity to be able to do things that.”

Landman says that even if the event weren’t just for women, she would go. “I’m not offended if they market to a different part of the female audience [for more traditional ladies nights], but personally I just want to see the game.”

But what about the teams who do host the more traditional Ladies Nights? Is there a place for these promotions? “With [the Round Rock Express’] ladies night we were sensitive to some of the issues we’ve seen about not-done-well women-targeted events in baseball,” said Cacic. “At the same time, there are women who like baseball and want to get a manicure and get wine.”...

Some women, like Brewers fan Megan Brown, feel like having gender-specific events at all is a problem. “There’s zero need to further divide female sports fans,” she says. After all, women who like sports are already seen as “women who like sports” instead of just “fans.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 27, 2017 at 01:35 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: women in baseball

Friday, June 23, 2017

Baseball’s tumultuous relationship with the female fan

Inspired by the Civil Rights Movement and bravely paving the way for Men’s Rights Activists, men in the ‘70s sued teams over Ladies’ Days, claiming these promotions discriminated against them, as male fans were barred entry and forced to walk over coals as punishment should they arrive at the ballpark on Ladies’ Day. The lawsuits were successful, and Ladies’ Day was no more. But women continued to press for equality, emboldened by these desperate attempts to curb their increasing power, and the Women’s Liberation Movement was born. The movement gained traction throughout the decade, leaving men scrambling to delegitimize it wherever possible.

On August 6th, 1976, the battle was taken to baseball, when the Pirates, in a game versus the Mets, hosted Men’s Night, wherein men received free admission while women had to pay. The team’s GM, Joe Brown, justified the promotion using the same circular logic inherent in sexist and racist arguments, claiming it as a “re-stimulation of an old idea” based on the notion that the “people who pay are more often men,” as well as the invention of something new. [8] This promotion produced a number of similar Men’s Night promotions spanning numerous sports and clubs across the country. It was viewed by baseball as completely rational and within the purview of the team to hold.

The dissolution of Ladies’ Day for several years signaled the end of advertising to women, and many ads in the vein of Men’s Night carried explicitly anti-women messages. Even as the popularity of the sport declined in the wake of the 1982 strike and the rise of the NFL, teams refused to consider women as a priority. Ads frequently portrayed young boys with their dads at games, passing on knowledge from one generation to the next, excluding women from this process.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 23, 2017 at 12:25 PM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: history, women in baseball

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

MLB.com: A Canadian knuckleballer will be the first woman to play in the collegiate West Coast League

Claire Eccles, at just 19 years old, has already pitched in two Women’s Baseball World Cups and the 2015 Pan-Am Games. Now, the Canadian knuckleballer will become the first woman to play in the West Coast League, a collegiate summer baseball league ...

“Ichiro has always been my favourite player because I’m half-Japanese and grew up watching the Mariners. They were the closest team to where I live. I also admire all the skill he has since he isn’t the biggest or strongest player in the league. Derek Jeter for sure because he is just iconic. Also, Randy Johnson because he was a lefty and so am I.”

If she has the bat control of Ichiro, the arm of Randy Johnson, and the calm eyes of Derek Jeter, she might really go places.


Tuesday, May 02, 2017

MLB Welcomes Girls to Bat At First-Ever Girls’ Youth Tournament

Major League Baseball is teaming up with USA Baseball to hosting the first-ever Trailblazer Series, girls’ youth tournament, encouraging girls to pursue traditionally dominated male sports.

On April 15, the inaugural Trailblazer series became what is hopefully going to be the first of many girls’ baseball events.

“I didn’t know girls played baseball,” said Ja’nae Wray, a 12 year old from Douglasville, Ga., and one of the 100 girls to travel to Compton for the tournament, The Huffington Post reports. Wray went on to make three-run homeruns over the center field wall with plans to play baseball and softball back home after the tournament. She plans to join an all-girls travel baseball team.

Today more than 100,000 girls play youth baseball across that nation, The Huffington Post reports. With efforts to increase baseball and softball participation, MLB and its player’s union pledged $30 million in 2015 and now we’re seeing the results.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 02, 2017 at 11:06 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: women in baseball, youth baseball

Monday, May 01, 2017

‘Pitch’ Officially Cancelled After One Season at Fox

Though “Pitch” was one of the most hotly anticipated new series of the 2016-2017, the cancellation is not a surprise. Despite the early buzz, the baseball drama never connected with viewers, averaging a 0.8 live-plus-same day Nielsen rating in the 18-49 demo and 3 million total viewers per episode. Following its first 10 episodes, Fox did not go forth with a back-order, signaling the imminent cancellation.

Premiering in September 2016, “Pitch” last aired in early December of last year. However, Fox executives remained optimistic about the show, telling reporters in January that no decision had been made yet. “We were very proud of ‘Pitch,’ Fox boss Gary Newman said at the Television Critics Association press tour. “We would have loved to have a bigger audience.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 01, 2017 at 09:56 PM | 188 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball in television, padres, women in baseball

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Will Jean Afterman be baseball’s first female GM? The sport should be so lucky

TODAY, YANKEES PRESIDENT Randy Levine calls it “inevitable.” Cashman says he can’t think of a reason why not. Yet there still has never been a female GM.

“I’m kind of disappointed her name never comes up,” Nomura says. “I don’t know why. It is very disappointing.”

Afterman’s résumé would certainly qualify her for the job.

“If I could be a GM, she could be a GM,” says Cashman, who, like many of his counterparts, never played professional baseball.

Afterman says she has always wanted to remain with the Yankees, and isn’t even sure other teams would look at her in that capacity.

“I like being the adviser,” Afterman says.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 16, 2017 at 11:39 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: jean afterman, women in baseball, yankees

 

 

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