08-16-2008, 02:40 PM
I watched the LL BASEBALL game between Guam and Italy earlier this morning. Guam had a young lady on their team, who I believe was said to be only the second female to play in the LL Baseball WS.
She had told an interviewer that her goal was to be a member of the Team USA SOFTBALL TEAM. This goes with what I wrote MONTHS ago. Since she hopes to play on that stellar softball team, WHY is she playing LL Baseball? While she played well, and has EVERY right to play baseball, she should be honing her softball skills.
Now, all you feminists out there can take your shots.
08-16-2008, 03:33 PM
No "feminist shots" here...just a discussion and hopefully a little knowledge sharing...or at least a viewpoint share.
I think the situation here is probably that the young girl does not KNOW there is a path in baseball for her if she wants it and is good enough. No doubt about it, USA Softball gets a lot more attention than the USA Women's Baseball National team. Heck...check out the Olympics broadcasting, and so far, it seems USA Softball has been getting more coverage than the MEN's USA Baseball team!A weird change on that one IF my perceptions are correct. The other issue is notoriety... Jennie Finch has had great marketing and great exposure and (regardless of ability, which is questionable among those in the know) has become a huge icon for young girls and the "face" of USA Softball. We need that kind of exposure in women's BASEball. Hey... I've played both sports and am still playing baseball... love it... but also realize we are not yet as developed in infrastructure as women's softball is in the US. Heck, for that matter... maybe Men's Softball is a good one to compare to. The US men have a national softball team, but how many folks really know about it?
The thing those of us have going for us that pursue BASEball is that baseball has much better world recognition... lots of people know what it is. Trust me, I've played softball in quite a few countries (including getting paid to play in a couple of countries) and overall, no one really knows or cares about SOFTBALL worldwide! The ISF is trying to change that, but honestly, worldwide, it's a minor sport, and just look at coverage in the Olympics... badminton has a larger following, swimming, gymnastics, track and field, and whatever... and both Softball and Baseball will no longer be in the Olympics (unless re-instated for 2016). They're both out in 2012 for sure. Baseball is out for various reasons, including doping scandals, and softball is gone (many believe) because of US dominance. Outscoring your opponents 56-1 at the last Olympics doesn't help, and they're off to the same start again. Nobody wants to play just for silver or bronze all the time.
Okay..so what's my point? There is a long extant infrastructure for softball at all levels for females, but not much in baseball...yet. It's also an Olympics year. If women's baseball were in the Olympics, perhaps that young woman at the LLWS might have answered differently. I know I would have. There was no path to baseball for me growing up, so I played baseball until 15, then was forced to switch to softball. Now, years later, women's baseball is developing worldwide (you DO know we have a USA Baseball National WOMEN's team, right? And you do know the IBAF has sanctioned World Cups for us through 2012, right?) and I have another option to play a stick-and-ball game -- hardball -- and I've chosen to be part of something very special...a renaissance of women's baseball in the US and abroad. Perhaps if that young lady knew about the US National Team for women, she might make other choices... or maybe not? Either way, they're both great sports, and I think it's great she wants to play at higher levels..of either sport!
If women's baseball can continue to hang in there and develop, I believe it will eventually overtake women's fastpitch softball in popularity... mainly because of the HUGE baseball infrastructure in the US, Japan, Cuba, etc. It will take a while, but as infrastructure develops, skill level will increase, and the sport will get enough recognition, that perhaps in 2028, several young girls in the LLWS will be saying, " I want to play pro baseball and play for USA Baseball."
08-17-2008, 03:30 PM
Should this young girl follow her dream of playing baseball (if that is her dream), or should she switch to softball, because that's the only she is aware of that is available to women at the highest levels? it seems like she chooses baseball, since she currently is playing it (otherwise, she'd be playing softball only) with boys teams.
Like Tiff said, she most likely is unaware that ANY baseball exists for girls and women. On top of that, because girls and women's baseball currently is in development and is behind women's softball development, she's wanting to play on the U.S. women's national softball team, because to her, that's the highest she can go with a bat and ball sport.
Also, although there are a few women who are currently playing baseball in college right now, it's very hard to get a scholarship for it or to even be allowed to try out for a collegiate team. Things are changing, but at a slow pace.
If she was to become aware that there IS a women's national baseball team, then perhaps, she'd change her mind and want to continue pursuing the baseball route. Not everyone is interested in playing a bat and ball sport only to go after scholarships or whatever. Since there is a women's national team, she can choose between the baseball team and the softball team. By the time she gets to college, more women will be playing there (and there probably will be women's baseball in college then... hopefully).
So, her answer most likely doesn't tell us her true desires and dreams. She can only go by what she is aware of, and if she's not aware of a women's national baseball team (99.99% of people aren't aware of it currently), then how can she want to pursue the dream of playing on it?
Now, go tell her that there is a women's national baseball team, tell her about the women's club baseball teams around the country, tell her about girls' baseball that is just not starting to begin development, tell her about the thousands of girls around the country who are playing baseball in high school, tell her about the possibility of playing baseball in college, tell her about all the international and national play that has been going on for the past 15 years in the U.S., tell her about plans and goals that are being talked about right now and that are being worked on, and see if her view changes. I bet you anything that it would.