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  • What would a Women's MLB look like?

    Where would the league play?

    What cities?

    The rivalry is important and a major attraction for fans. The northeast is a hotbed for women's baseball. And the Midwest is another. Then we have California.

    These are my suggestions of 2 divisions in a league. Please keep in mind - if this was to be a league with a payroll, players from large baseball communities will shuffle around to fill in on other teams. For the sake of the argument and for explaining purposes only we will call these divisions American and National:

    New York - 2 teams - 1 in each division
    Boston - 2 teams - 1 in each division
    New Hampshire/Rhode Island - 1 team (American)
    Philadelphia - 1 team (National)
    Washington DC - 1 team (National)
    Baltimore - 1 team (American)

    There's your Northeast hotbed... 8 teams in all. (and there's probably 20 teams playing today in all cities put together - a good source of training, rehab, and calling someone else up)

    The Midwest is tricker. You got a bunch of players grouped together in one spot, and the others quite a distance away.

    Chicago - 2 teams - 1 in each division
    Detroit - 2 team - 1 in each division
    South Bend - 2 teams - 1 in each division

    There's an opportunity to add a team from Canada to compete a rivarly with Detroit, and if so... Detroit will have 1 team (American) and Canada will have 1 team (American) into this section of the league. The midwest will have 6 teams, and will be mostly an American League. So that leaves a couple of current teams leftover as filler, rehab, training, and call ups.... but not as much as the northeast.

    And we're off to the Pacific... California is another hotbed.

    Northern California:
    San Jose - 2 teams - 1 in each division
    San Francisco - 2 teams - 1 in each division

    Southern California:
    Los Angeles - 2 teams - 1 in each division
    San Diego - 2 teams - 1 in each division

    Currently there are 2 California Leagues in these representing cities. While not as large as the northeast for extra players, there's a a team in Seattle who could join the "farm". Seattle, in my opinion, is not strong enough to have it's own team in the league. Would be an excellent opportunity to become a expansion team as the league grows and money comes in.

    The problem is the bottom half of the nation is bare. I think a team in the southern cities such as Phoenix, Dallas, New Orleans, Birmingham, Atlanta, Charlotte, Tampa, Orlando, Miami are all worthwhile cities to consider for expansion teams. Then you have mid country cities of Denver, Kansas City, St Louis and Pittsburgh.

    All in all, thats 22 teams I believe would work right out of the starting gate with plenty of additional players in waiting. That alone is a minimum of 220 players. At last count I did, I counted 367 players in America last year. This year, there's a new team forming (the northeast of course) and I have no doubt that the boston/new hampshire/rhode island area has more players then they know what to do with this year. And who knows how many people from Canada... and I hear the CanAm tourney last year was a large success.

    The players are there... their cities to be represented.... willing, able and ready.

  • #2
    22 teams? 220 players? Would these teams play only on weekends? I don't know that you need MLB size rosters and and MLB size schedule, but you'll surely need more than 10 players per team. 15-20 is more likely. I'd think you would also be better served to have fewer teams to start, making it more competitive for open spots and therefore having fewer but stronger teams.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by metfan13 View Post
      22 teams? 220 players? Would these teams play only on weekends? I don't know that you need MLB size rosters and and MLB size schedule, but you'll surely need more than 10 players per team. 15-20 is more likely. I'd think you would also be better served to have fewer teams to start, making it more competitive for open spots and therefore having fewer but stronger teams.
      I was just saying at minimum, there's already an availability of 220 women players as of today if we were to stretch it thin. But like I said, my last count of current women's baseball players today was at 367 players (and my count was for active teams I was actually aware of).

      I had also forgotten to mention or count the current women playing for USA Baseball. I have also forgotten to mention and count the current women playing today in Canada, Australia, and Japan.

      So in reality, we probably have over 600 women playing baseball today. Which is more than half of the 220 minimum needed. of course you would want at least 15 to 20 to a team. 20 women to a team of 22 teams is a grand total of 440 players.

      I still think we meet all the players needed as of today alone. Not to mention there are some leagues with players ready to play, but the league is currently inactive due to financial hardships. I did not count those players in my players count. So in the USA alone, I'm sure there are more than 367 players.

      As for a smaller number of teams.... i put it that way for travel reasons and to reflect the hotbed of players for the moment.

      While the west battles it out for the playoffs, the midwest with battle it out for the playoffs, and the northeast will battle it out for the playoffs. then there's a wild card for the playoffs. There's 11 teams in each division... 4th best team overall (west, midwest, northeast combined) goes to the playoffs.

      Again.... this was just a hypothetical idea. I'm not saying that's how it's going to be. It's my own version in my head right now as I think about it. I'm sure, like most ideas, will change as progress is made.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by JeepingBaseball View Post
        I had also forgotten to mention or count the current women playing for USA Baseball. I have also forgotten to mention and count the current women playing today in Canada, Australia, and Japan.
        I'm SURE that if you got it underway, you'd have Aussie players putting their hands up to be involved. You've already got our girls coming across for various tournaments and various situations. The Japanese as well would be there in a heart beat I'd imagine. Our best and your best - can't help but be good. Now ... to convince all those others out there ...

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi JB, BMum and all!

          Great discussion here again, I believe. The only thing I have to add at the moment is that
          1) I still believe to start off we need to play in MLB's off-season, and the northern clime is just not suitable. I think the players can COME from there (of course...or anywhere), but I believe the first cities need to be in the Southern states where we can play in OUR season and get established as a viable alternative to watching football and basketball in the off-season. I think that's just reality, and if it's a true pro-league, even with minimal pay involved, women who want to do this should bve willing to give up their "regular" jobs and follow their passions. I know I'm MORE than willing to play for food, lodging, travel money, medical insurance, and minimum pay. If we can make it work eventually in the regular summer season, running against MLB, then I think the northern cities are excellent choices. Remember as I say this, that I live in Spokane, Washington -- about 2 hours south of Canada, so as much as I believe Spokane would be an excellent mid-size market for WMLB, it's just too cold and snowy here in winter, and it might be a tough sell against Gonzaga D-1 Baseball, Whitworth D-3 Baseball and the Spokane Indians (Single A, short season).

          2) I believe you may be right about the number of women (over 16? over 18?) Baseball players in America, but I believe you're severely undercounting the totals for Australia, Japan, and Canada. Having just come back from Hong Kong, I'd think there were quite a few players in Korea, and maybe even Taiwan as well.

          Aside from those bits of input, let's keep rockin'!!!
          I'm excited to see us discussing not "IF" but rather "HOW."

          Best to all,

          Tiffany

          Comment


          • #6
            southern cities during the winter can be chilly, believe it or not. Florida gets a lot of rain... that's a lot of rain outs to deal with. And the fields for teams are rather spread out. As well as New Orleans. It snows in Birmingham, Atlanta and Charlotte. Dallas (my first winter here) got very cold for a good month and even got flurries. Only alternative I can think of is a split in the state of Arizona. There tons of fields grouped together in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area... and we all know about the fields in Tucson.

            My problem with it is the lack of exposure. Tho at the same time, many people do flock to Arizona (west coasters) and Florida (east coasters).

            But I do love the idea of baseball in the winter. The boys do it! I certainly don't see why we cant.


            I also thought today (in a middle of an interview and got distracted, thank you very much! lol) why not form a partnership with the mens independent leagues and share the stadiums?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by RightEGirl View Post

              2) I believe you may be right about the number of women (over 16? over 18?) Baseball players in America, but I believe you're severely undercounting the totals for Australia, Japan, and Canada. Having just come back from Hong Kong, I'd think there were quite a few players in Korea, and maybe even Taiwan as well.
              Most if not all of the women I know of who play baseball across the country are 18 and up, with a few 16 and 17 yr olds that I'm actually aware of who play.

              I have no doubt I under counted for all teams overseas. Not a doubt in my mind. I don't know a whole lot except of what I learned from the players I've met. As for Canada, I surprised myself when I looked them up. I honestly had no idea there was that many people....

              which is all good news! I will gladly and love to admit I'm wrong here! It's fantastic there twice, maybe even three times as many women's ballplayers playing the game today.

              It's out there.... there's a way somehow to do this.

              Comment


              • #8
                There are also a great number of women who've played baseball in the recent past that may come back to it if a women's pro league was developed along with some developmental teams and leagues. And, you'd have women who played fast pitch in high school and/or college that would want to try out and start playing.

                Along with that, there are other countries who have been working on developing national teams and women's baseball programs in their countries... India, Cuba, the Dominican, Venezuela?, South Africa?, etc. that may or may not have participated in recent international events. Maybe their players would need a few years to develop more, but it seems like each time there's women's World Cup or other international competition, there's at least one new country represented.

                The player pool is already there and will grow as women's baseball develops.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'd gladly give up my day job to play baseball professionally!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Are you all suggesting that there are less than 5000 women in the US and internationally who over 18 that play baseball? How many of these women are actually "performing at the highest level"? It's one thing to fill rosters...it's quite another to fill them with qualified players.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MSUlaxer27 View Post
                      Are you all suggesting that there are less than 5000 women in the US and internationally who over 18 that play baseball? How many of these women are actually "performing at the highest level"? It's one thing to fill rosters...it's quite another to fill them with qualified players.
                      This is a question that can only be answer geography.

                      It's a fair question.

                      I've played with the New York Women's Baseball Association, which has appeared to have discontinued as of late, but I know for a fact, another New York City league is in the making. We had 3 teams when I played there. I would consider myself in the mid range mark back in 2003. I know half of these women went to the East Coast League which was a more challenging league. I withness the East Coast league at the Roy Hobbs Tournament and seriously gave Boston a run for their money. It was a close tight game.

                      Boston probably has the more talented players. The league size is amazing. They can hit, pitch, run and catch with such ease. I have yet to play against them, but witness their games.

                      New Hampshire is the same as Boston. They have battled it in tight games over the years.

                      I have personally played against New Hampshire, and while my team (playing for Chicago then) had a decent shot, and we were out numbered with a injured player. We had no reserve players and were pretty worn out. But we fought with heart and managed to get a run in, which was the 1st run against New Hampshire in the entire tournament at that point. New Hampshire has good solid strong players.

                      Chicago is a force to be reckoned with. Last I checked, they have 4 teams, and came in 2nd vs Boston in last year's Roy Hobbs Tournament. As a team member during Roy Hobbs in 2006, Chicago has pure talent.

                      Philly, DC, Florida, California, Detroit... I only know of them within 1 game.

                      Australia and Japan... I was a team mate of a few Australians during the 24hr game. Kelly (last name escapes me) was friggin phenomenal as a pitcher. Struck me out 3 times straight and I'm known to be a power hitter. The girls from Japan, there were 5 of them at the event, 3 of them on my team. Holy crap, their reflexes would give David Wright and Jose Reyes a good challenge.

                      We got solid catchers in the Women's Baseball community. Without a doubt. Rock solid. Can throw a runner out no problem and most times.

                      We got a couple of power hitters I know of.

                      We got some excellent infielders that blows my mind.

                      The outfielders... I must admit... there only a handful.

                      Pitchers, just like the MLB are hard to come by. We got our share, but they could never pitch a whole game unless they intentionally want to throw their arm out. At best, our pitchers will last 5 innings tops. Some got the pride and refuse to come out and end up blowing the game, but no pitcher in the Women's Baseball Community I know of has any reason to be out there for more than 4 innings, 5 innings tops. Some do, in vain. And then some do, because there's no other option.

                      If you asked my opinion based on hands on experience of who I've played with: in order... 1) catchers 2) shortstops 3)1st base

                      We rock in those positions.

                      There's a handful of awesome Centerfielders that would run like hell and make that diving catch that would earn any MLB player a gold glove. Not many, but a handful.

                      As for hitters... we have 3 types. We got the type that swing for the lights and get the hit 65% of the time (I'm one of them)... then we got the type who line drives to the outfield and rack up all the RBI's.... then we got the grounders who solely advance runners.

                      And we are without trainers for the most part. We play with heart and passion. We play for the desire to be able to play.

                      Our coaches for the most part are supporters and teach us a few tricks here and there. Some of us are even lucky to even have a coach.

                      With the right opportunity, we can do anything.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JeepingBaseball View Post
                        This is a question that can only be answer geography.

                        It's a fair question.

                        I've played with the New York Women's Baseball Association, which has appeared to have discontinued as of late, but I know for a fact, another New York City league is in the making. We had 3 teams when I played there. I would consider myself in the mid range mark back in 2003. I know half of these women went to the East Coast League which was a more challenging league. I withness the East Coast league at the Roy Hobbs Tournament and seriously gave Boston a run for their money. It was a close tight game.

                        Boston probably has the more talented players. The league size is amazing. They can hit, pitch, run and catch with such ease. I have yet to play against them, but witness their games.

                        New Hampshire is the same as Boston. They have battled it in tight games over the years.

                        I have personally played against New Hampshire, and while my team (playing for Chicago then) had a decent shot, and we were out numbered with a injured player. We had no reserve players and were pretty worn out. But we fought with heart and managed to get a run in, which was the 1st run against New Hampshire in the entire tournament at that point. New Hampshire has good solid strong players.

                        Chicago is a force to be reckoned with. Last I checked, they have 4 teams, and came in 2nd vs Boston in last year's Roy Hobbs Tournament. As a team member during Roy Hobbs in 2006, Chicago has pure talent.

                        Philly, DC, Florida, California, Detroit... I only know of them within 1 game.

                        Australia and Japan... I was a team mate of a few Australians during the 24hr game. Kelly (last name escapes me) was friggin phenomenal as a pitcher. Struck me out 3 times straight and I'm known to be a power hitter. The girls from Japan, there were 5 of them at the event, 3 of them on my team. Holy crap, their reflexes would give David Wright and Jose Reyes a good challenge.

                        We got solid catchers in the Women's Baseball community. Without a doubt. Rock solid. Can throw a runner out no problem and most times.

                        We got a couple of power hitters I know of.

                        We got some excellent infielders that blows my mind.

                        The outfielders... I must admit... there only a handful.

                        Pitchers, just like the MLB are hard to come by. We got our share, but they could never pitch a whole game unless they intentionally want to throw their arm out. At best, our pitchers will last 5 innings tops. Some got the pride and refuse to come out and end up blowing the game, but no pitcher in the Women's Baseball Community I know of has any reason to be out there for more than 4 innings, 5 innings tops. Some do, in vain. And then some do, because there's no other option.

                        If you asked my opinion based on hands on experience of who I've played with: in order... 1) catchers 2) shortstops 3)1st base

                        We rock in those positions.

                        There's a handful of awesome Centerfielders that would run like hell and make that diving catch that would earn any MLB player a gold glove. Not many, but a handful.

                        As for hitters... we have 3 types. We got the type that swing for the lights and get the hit 65% of the time (I'm one of them)... then we got the type who line drives to the outfield and rack up all the RBI's.... then we got the grounders who solely advance runners.

                        And we are without trainers for the most part. We play with heart and passion. We play for the desire to be able to play.

                        Our coaches for the most part are supporters and teach us a few tricks here and there. Some of us are even lucky to even have a coach.

                        With the right opportunity, we can do anything.
                        I speak only in generalizations because

                        1. In many cases they are true,

                        2. I have never seen women's baseball.

                        Shortstops are generally the best players on the field so if you have a plethora of them, you might want to consider moving them to other positions.

                        Catchers generally have great arms, but are placed there because of their body types and speed...so they could be moved as well if those are your strongest positions. Catchers (if the MLB is a precedent) could be converted to the corner infield positions.

                        Are you suggesting that your batting average is .650? That would point to either playing against vastly inferior competition or you are the female Babe Ruth or if you'd prefer the second coming of Babe Didrikson.

                        I'm playing Devil's advocate. Not every player in MLB deserves to be there to be assured, but if the disparity within your potential candidates is that great, and at this time with such a small pool to draw from, are you sure you have the players to create a "major league"?

                        These are only questions. I'm sure with time if your plan works things will even out.

                        This seems like a similar situation to women's college basketball at their start. There were a few great players (Swoopes, Lieberman, Miller for example) who congregated at a few schools and those schools dominated at the start (U Conn, Tennessee). Things are now beginning to even out (Baylor, Duke, Rutgers, Penn State, MSU) although Title IX has helped that. Schools had an incentive to field teams because of Title IX (which further helped provide players for the WNBA and the other pro womens bball leagues).

                        Unless you plan to recruit softball players how do you plan to grow your potential player base (amateur city leagues can only go so far)?

                        I ask these questions, not to suggest that you shouldn't try, but as a businessperson who you might try to get to invest in your league.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MSUlaxer27 View Post
                          Are you all suggesting that there are less than 5000 women in the US and internationally who over 18 that play baseball? How many of these women are actually "performing at the highest level"? It's one thing to fill rosters...it's quite another to fill them with qualified players.
                          That's why we constantly say it's a developing sport for women... hence the levels and numbers will grow over time. Like I've said over and over on here, there's no women's baseball in high school or college yet in the U.S. and most other countries. The only 2 countries that I'm aware of that have any kind of baseball in high school and college for women are Japan and Australia. So, the player pool right now consists of women who are playing on amateur teams and leagues, and then you have a select "few" who are playing on national teams. Also, even though there are thousands of girls across the U.S. who are playing baseball, there's still the issue of discrimination and gender bias that many girls have to fight in order to be able to play.

                          I'm not sure if there are girls' youth programs in other countries other than the ones in Canada. Canada has a big league in the Toronto area that's been around for quite a long time. I know there are other girls' leagues and divisions in Canada, but I don't know if there's any girls' baseball in any other countries. In the U.S. right now, there are just a few. That all plays into the player pool in terms of experience, playing level, knowledge of the game, etc.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It seems, with the pitching situation that you're going to need large enough rosters to carry a lot of pitchers. Especially if this is to be a league playing 5 days a week and not a weekend tournament style set-up.

                            Are the women's games 9 innings or 7 innings?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MSUlaxer27 View Post
                              I speak only in generalizations because

                              1. In many cases they are true,

                              2. I have never seen women's baseball.

                              Shortstops are generally the best players on the field so if you have a plethora of them, you might want to consider moving them to other positions.

                              Catchers generally have great arms, but are placed there because of their body types and speed...so they could be moved as well if those are your strongest positions. Catchers (if the MLB is a precedent) could be converted to the corner infield positions.

                              Are you suggesting that your batting average is .650? That would point to either playing against vastly inferior competition or you are the female Babe Ruth or if you'd prefer the second coming of Babe Didrikson.

                              I'm playing Devil's advocate. Not every player in MLB deserves to be there to be assured, but if the disparity within your potential candidates is that great, and at this time with such a small pool to draw from, are you sure you have the players to create a "major league"?

                              These are only questions. I'm sure with time if your plan works things will even out.

                              This seems like a similar situation to women's college basketball at their start. There were a few great players (Swoopes, Lieberman, Miller for example) who congregated at a few schools and those schools dominated at the start (U Conn, Tennessee). Things are now beginning to even out (Baylor, Duke, Rutgers, Penn State, MSU) although Title IX has helped that. Schools had an incentive to field teams because of Title IX (which further helped provide players for the WNBA and the other pro womens bball leagues).

                              Unless you plan to recruit softball players how do you plan to grow your potential player base (amateur city leagues can only go so far)?

                              I ask these questions, not to suggest that you shouldn't try, but as a businessperson who you might try to get to invest in your league.
                              One way to help develop talent and grow numbers is to start developing girls' youth leagues and women's high school and collegiate baseball. Without developing women's baseball on the grassroots level, it would be hard to grow the player pool at the pro level. It's no different than any other sport.

                              Current players in amateur leagues get limited practice and playing time, so their level of development is not what it would be if they played pro ball and that's it. Also, like JB said, most teams have coaches who are people volunteering to help out however they can, and many of them aren't very qualified. A lot of them are the typical casual baseball fan, and being a fan is a lot different than playing and learning the right skills, mechanics, fundamentals, what to do in situations, etc. and, a lot of teams don't have any coaches or have very limtied coaching. It's hard to find qualified coaching on a voluntary basis.

                              Also, since most women who are playing today never got the chance to play baseball growing up, the pitchers are learning to pitch as adults. If girls' youth leaguers were developed, then they would start learning to pitch at a young age. The same goes for other playing skills, talents, and abilities.

                              The answer is in development across the board. Women's baseball needs to be developed at all levels, not just at the pro level, to build a solid and growing pro league. It needs to be developed a lot more at the grassroots level... youth leagues, high school leagues, and collegiate leagues, etc. We already have one women's national team, and there could be more if there was more development at all levels.

                              Of course, if other countries started developing women's baseball the same way, there'd be an even bigger player pool. Like I said, it's no different than the development of any other sport.

                              I saw one of Bryant Gumbel's HBO sports show about Korea beginning to develop men's baseball there. It's the same thing... you have to develop it at all levels if you want to build a solid pro league and develop solid pro players.

                              There's a lot of talent out there in women's baseball, and it could be developed into something very exciting.
                              Last edited by NotAboutEgo; 04-25-2008, 05:57 AM.

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