The future of Our National Pastime is changing, and it’s not just for the boys anymore.
The 29 young women who gathered on the pristine green turf of the Centenary University baseball field in mid-August for Baseball For All’s first-ever scouting combine for women — a group looking to continue their baseball careers into college — all shared commonalities in their individual stories.
This has long been true of girls who love baseball, but that common story had an unhappy, early ending. It was always a series of set pieces — a coach urging them, either through habit or something more insidious, over toward the softball field. Those who stuck around and pushed through Little League encountered, before too long, a middle school or high school refusal.
But the real limitation on a future in baseball was a complete lack of infrastructure. Every girl who has wanted to play baseball, for the entire history of the sport, other than a few fits and starts, some more successful than others — the AAPGBL (the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League) the best example — eventually runs out of road.
And even those who manage to navigate the treacherous terrain all the way to striking out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig like Jackie Mitchell, or say, getting signed by a minor league team like Eleanor Engel, are quickly ruled out by men all the same. Imagine the thinking it takes to simultaneously believe women cannot play the game of baseball at a level close to men, a seemingly foolproof way of keeping the game men-only, and yet choosing to make rules against it happening.
Read the full piece at Deadspin | Photo credit: Howard Megdal