Women and Baseball

June 8, 2014

I decided before I had kids that if I had a girl who was interested in the sport, I would steer her away from softball and towards baseball. I have not had the chance to do that because my boys are both, well…boys, so it has not been an issue. I have long wondered why girls play softball in this country. I still don’t have an answer, but the issue has hit the opinion section of the New York Times in an op-ed penned by Emma Span.

Both men and women swim, ski, snowboard and run marathons and sprints. Both play tennis and soccer and basketball. Softball, though, is a completely distinct sport, with different pitching — underhand — and different equipment, including a larger ball. It also has shorter distances from pitcher to home plate and between bases, fewer innings and a smaller outfield. Yes, Division I softball is demanding, far from the beery fun of middle-aged weekend leagues. But the women’s version of baseball is not softball. It’s baseball.

Completely different sport. She goes on to talk about Title IX and a brief history of women in baseball, and how major league baseball essentially banned women from baseball in 1952. The problem is even bigger, though:

Even where no official rules keep them out of baseball, girls face enormous pressure to switch to softball. “They get chased right out of middle-school baseball,” said Jennifer Ring, the author of “Stolen Bases: Why American Girls Don’t Play Baseball,” whose daughter fought to play in high school and played a season on Vassar College’s Division III men’s team. When a girl persists in playing, Ms. Ring said, “you can’t count on it being a good experience, because you have to explain why you’re even there.”

Last year, 474,791 American boys played high school baseball, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations; 1,259 girls did. In some cases these girls were the only ones in their entire state. No college scholarships lie ahead, as they do in softball.

It seems silly to me, but at the very least its something to think about, and I’m glad its getting attention in the New York Times.


…and now Baseball

March 23, 2012

For me, the countdown to baseball season begins in earnest only after the NCAA Wrestling Championships, which wrapped up on Saturday in St. Louis. The Gophers entered the weekend having won the national dual meet title, but off a second place finish at the Big 10 Championships to a powerful Penn State team. Penn State figured to have more potential national champions, so the Gophers’ hope seemed to lie with a strong showing in the wrestlebacks combined with some upsets involving Nittany Lions.

One of the two happened in the end. The Gophers produced a tournament-high seven All-Americans, including Heavyweight champion Tony Nelson. Penn State did not falter, however, and ended up running away with their second consecutive championship. Minnesota finished a strong second, however, and return five of their seven All-Americans next year. Penn State doesn’t lose much from their championship team either, but the future looks bright for the Gophers.

Home Movie of Metropolitan Stadium

March 26, 2010

Via YouTube

Greatest Twins Quotes

March 15, 2010

Torii Hunter made some more news with his mouth last week. Even though he is no longer a Twin, it got me thinking of some other notable Twins’ quotes. Here are some of the top quotes in franchise history. Feel free to add to the list in the comments.

“You can’t hit what you can’t see” -Walter Johnson

“I get a kick out of watching a team defense me. A player moves two steps in one direction and I hit it two steps in the other direction. It goes right by his glove and I laugh.” -Rod Carew

“It’s hard to field the ball when you have both hands around your throat.” -Gary Gaetti, after committing an error that helped the Twins blow a 10-run lead in the midst of the 1984 pennant race.

“If I feel like King King, I’ll throw like King King.” -Jack Morris prior to the 1991 World Series.

“I wrote this speech thinking this was going to be it. It’s not it. You guys went and screwed up my whole speech. We’ve got to come back here on Tuesday and drink some more beer.” -Kent Hrbek after what was supposed to be the last regular season game at the Metrodome.

“We’re gonna do this f@$(ing thing over again. I just f&%(ed it up.” -Bert Blyleven

“Please stop throwing things! This is an important game. Now quit this!” -Bob Casey, on the P.A., chiding Twins fans for throwing things at Chuck Knoblauch

“You name it, I’ve got it. Some players have to be 100 percent (to play), but I don’t.” – Torii Hunter

Sharp New Unis

November 17, 2009

Via Star Tribune

I would prefer the alternate home uniform be the every day home uniform, but overall I like the new look.

Everything but baseball

September 25, 2009

I was actually okay with the Twins fading from the pennant race. I wasn’t actively rooting for them to fail, just simply acknowledging the fact that a pennant run and baseball playoffs would be far down on my list of priorities this fall.

Life is changing at my house, for the better, but at this moment the change is not coming without its growing pains. I started a new job in September, teaching at a junior high – my first real, full time job in almost a year and a half. Though the bulk of school is over, I still have a thesis to write, to be completed by December. On top of all of that we are happily expecting a new Twins fan at the end of next month. All we know is that he is a boy and he hiccups a lot (and that, based on the first child, he might be here any day now).

Add all of that together and life has become a little full.

I had considered offering the obligatory farewell and “I don’t get paid to blog and something has gotta give” post a few times over the last month, but ultimately decided that I like research and writing too much to just quit. Posts may be a bit more sporadic here, but I intend to keep CW running with at least a few original posts a week. There will likely be an extended break towards the end of October, filled no doubt with pictures of the future battery (the 2 1/2 year old has already shown a preference towards catching, so hopefully the younger one is a lefty), but overall I intend to plow forward.

Even with everything going on, however, I still would manage to find time for playoff run. Just sayin…

A Visit to the Northwoods League

July 21, 2009

I had a chance to catch a ballgame between the LaCrosse Loggers and Rochester Honkers at the Lumberyard in LaCrosse over the weekend. The teams are both members of the Northwoods League, a summer wood bat league for college athletes that is very similar to the Cape Cod League.

After I waited in line for food for the first two innings of the game, my family and I were treated to a well-played ballgame. It was a pitcher’s duel throughout, with Lakeville, MN native Bret Mitchell pitching for Rochester against Steve Gruver, who pitches for the University of Tennessee during the school year. The respective pitchers held the opposition to just a single run through seven innings of work for each.

With the score still tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning, LaCrosse’s catcher Robert Brantly (from UC-Riverside) hit a walk-off, three-run home run to earn the home team a 4-1 victory.

I complain in this space about the length of major league games often, and found an antidote that evening in LaCrosse. The time of game was a tidy 2:27, meaning that I missed just about a fifth of that waiting in line for a “Logger Dog,” but was able to stay, two-year-old in tow, for the entire nine innings.

The grandparents were in charge of the camera, so there aren’t any pictures of the actual baseball game – just the important stuff: