Chelsea Lane is leaving the Warriors after three seasons for a position with the Atlanta Hawks.
In the past year, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team won their third World Cup Championship and set the record for nearly 23 million viewers of a World Cup event, making it the most-watched soccer match in U.S. history. Mo’ne Davis was the first girl to win and pitch a shutout in the Little League Baseball championships.
… Although we can name many women who have excelled in various professional sports, it’s harder to find stories about younger girls as they come up in the world of sports…
Is Chelsea defying stereotypes: if the archetype doesn’t exist in mainstream media; the Community doesn’t recognize girls as viable competitors or players in the World of Baseball? I am reminded of the philosophical question: “if no one is there to hear it: does a tree falling generate sound?”
Chelsea is her own stereotype: a girl who plays Baseball, well, but doesn’t really make a big deal out of it. But, without the Media making a big deal about Chelsea: does Chelsea or any other exceptional girl who plays baseball receive the support to continue beyond a certain age?
The Dream Team, on which Chelsea plays, the opportunity for all girls playing at the “highest” level exists. Yet, the team receives little attention in the mainstream press; is not funded or truly sponsored by any leading sports manufacturing entity:
no sports marketing professional sees the opportunity in generate interest in girls who play Hardball Baseball if they are solid making significant revenue from Softball for girls and women (and men.)
Have you wondered what the real difference is between a softball and a hardball bat to a manufacturer: paint color.
What they fail to recognize: Hardball for girls will generate more revenue for them in addition to Softball.
Can you think of any other industry that fails to capture marketshare beyond a limited range? What if any Fast Food or Beverage or Auto company were to limit their reach in a similar way?
Chelsea’s most ardent supporter prepared a video last year to generate awareness and funding to support Chelsea in her own Baseball Journey; the Dream Team has launched two fundraising efforts to underwrite their own baseball journey throughout the USA.
But each effort is limited to the narrow world paying attention.
While it may seem to grow the community, in a grassroots manner, Facebook seems to be limiting exposure in generating awareness of girls and women playing Hardball Baseball in the USA, in the world.
Until one travels to sit and watch the exceptional girl play Hardball Baseball, it may be difficult to shatter one’s bias and prejudice based on hearsay and speculation.
Until one experiences the exceptional woman play baseball, which is more challenging due to limited availability to play or exposure in the mainstream media (not to forget mentioning that many women play among men in various amateur leagues: women focused on playing NOT self-promotion,) it is difficult to stop, reflect, accept one’s personal responsibility for denying that exceptional girl the opportunity to thrive in Hardball Baseball, from a young age, only to blossom into as awesome a spectacle on the field as any man who gives his life to the Game.
Many girls do not want attention drawn to them in there regular league play: even at a young age – particularly at a young age! They want to be treated as equals, among players, not treated any different from the boys.
That seems to be the underlying point – and cause for concern that little attention is played to girls playing Hardball Baseball, publicly supporting them from the community level on up.
Video – Dream Baseball Team 2011 – Chelsea Baker – an All-Girl Appeal
More About the Dream Team:
Pre-Dream Team Legacy:
New Era National Youth Baseball Championship (NYBC) 2010 – Memphis, Tennessee:
Cooperstown Dreams Park 2010 – Milford, New York – just down the road a bit from Cooperstown, New York:
More about Chelsea Baker:
Chelsea Baker, BFA Spark 2010 – Perfect Little Pitcher: Jersey Worn by Florida Little Leaguer Headed for Museum Collections – Chelsea Baker, author of Two Perfect Games by age 12, to Donate Artifact to Museum on Monday as Part of a Salute to Women in Baseball – baseballhall.org
CNN – Don Lemon, CNN Anchor: Interview with Chelsea Baker – Originally broadcasted August 22, 2010:
LEMON: All right, you’re going to like this next story just because I like it. No, you’re really going to like it. Everyone likes this story. Young baseball players from all over the world are in Pennsylvania this weekend for the start of the Little League World Series. That’s right, the Little League World Series. The Plant City, Florida, team didn’t quite make it, but its star pitcher was honored this week at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, for her two perfect games — that’s right, “her” two perfect games.
Chelsea Baker has made a habit of beating all-boys teams with a mid- 60s fastball and a knuckleball that she learned from former major leaguer, Joe Neikro. She joins us now from Tampa.
Hi, Chelsea. How you doing? Smile, relax. Take a deep breath.
LEMON: I know you might be a little nervous. You have no reason to be nervous. You strike out a lot of those boys. Don’t be nervous to be on television.
OK, that’s quite an honor. We read your resume, the little bit we read here. Your jersey is now in the Hall of Fame. What was that experience like, especially at 13 years old?
BAKER: Yes, it’s just been a great experience to be a part of all of this. And I just feel really honored and blessed to be in stuff like this.
LEMON: You do? So, I hear — you have to tell me if this is the truth. That when you strike out the boys, sometimes they cry.
BAKER: Yes, when I strike them out with a knuckleball sometimes they’ll throw the helmets and start crying and stuff.
It’s just really funny to watch.
LEMON: Do you laugh? Out loud? In their face?
LEMON: OK, all right.
LEMON: And inside.
All right. You pitched four Little League seasons without a loss. So do you get much heckling from the boys when you’re striking out or are their parents? BAKER: The parents sometimes make comments to me, but I just don’t listen to them.
LEMON: You just sort of stay focused and do your own thing, right?
BAKER: Yes, sir.
LEMON: You hit over .600 this season. So which do you enjoy more, do you enjoy more hitting or more pitching?
BAKER: I like pitching more than batting.
BAKER: I just — I just love pitching. And I’ve been pitching since I was 7 and I just love it.
LEMON: Did you ever — did it ever come a time when you realized that you were special, that you had a gift, or are you just kind of feeling it now? Do you even know that?
BAKER: I feel really special because not many people get to be a part of what I’m — what I’ve been doing. And so it’s just been an honor.
LEMON: Yes. A former major leaguer, Joe Niekro, who has since passed away, he helped you with your throwing and that knuckleball. How did that come about?
BAKER: When I was 7, he was my travel ball coach and he was our batting pitcher. and he would always throw it to us. And I could never hit it. So I’d always beg him to teach it to me. And finally, one day, he just taught it to me.
LEMON: Yes. So, Chelsea, you’re going to have to make a choice pretty soon. You have to choose whether or not you do softball or baseball and on and on, but I understand you have your own plan about what you want to do. and there is a goal that you’re trying to reach. What is it?
BAKER: I want to play baseball for as long as I can. And I want to play high school baseball and then I also want to play on the USA Girls Travel Baseball team.
LEMON: And then you want to go to the Olympics and then you want to be a big baseball star after that. And you’re going to come to Atlanta and play for the Braves, is that right?
LEMON: Chelsea, you’re a remarkable young lady. And I appreciate you joining us. I know you were a little bit nervous, but you don’t have to be nervous, you are striking all those guys out. I think you’ll have a huge career and do you promise not to forget about us and come back to CNN along the way when you’re big star? BAKER: Yes, sir.
LEMON: Thank you, Chelsea Baker. It’s good to meet you. OK? Best of luck.
BAKER: You, too. Thanks for having me.
LEMON: You’re welcome.
Baker, 13, learned how to throw a knuckleball from former major leaguer Joe Niekro, while Yoshida was taught the pitch by Boston Red Sox hurler Tim Wakefield…
By Samantha Carr August 16, 2010
Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson (right) accepts Chelsea Baker’s jersey. (Milo Stewart Jr./National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – When Chelsea Baker looks around the field this week, the diamond will look the same, but her teammates will not.
Baker, a 13-year-old baseball phenom, is playing for the first time with a new team called the Sparks – made up of girls from all over the country – at Cooperstown Dreams Park this week, instead of her usual male teammates.
She has noticed a difference already, and although she thinks she talks more to her female teammates, ‘the boys root for me too,’ she said.
And why wouldn’t they. On Monday, she stopped at the Baseball Hall of Fame to donate a jersey she wore on April 9, 2010, to pitch her second perfect game in less than a year for her Plant City, Fla., Little League baseball team.
‘This donation is just the latest way of showing that baseball is an equal opportunity employer. Size doesn’t matter, it is heart that matters most,’ said Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson, who accepted the jersey on behalf of the Museum. ‘Women are an important part of the game and an important part of baseball history and we are honored that Chelsea thought of us and is willing to donate her jersey.’
One of the reasons for Baker’s incredible success is a knuckleball taught to her by the late Joe Niekro, a successful Major League pitcher and brother of Hall of Fame knuckleballer Phil Niekro.
Joe Niekro taught Baker the tricky pitch shortly before he passed away in 2006, when Baker was only 8-years-old.
‘I think he would have been amazed, and he would have been so proud of me,’ Baker said.
Baker was the only girl in her league and finished with a 12-0 record on the mound for the 2010 season. Her team finished 29-1. She also has two grand slams to her credit at the plate.
Her new team, the Sparks, is an all-girls touring baseball team that is part of the Baseball For All organization. Her teammates joined her at the Hall of Fame for Monday’s donation, and her jersey will now be on display for Cooperstown visitors to see, as part of baseball history.
‘It’s been an honor and a privilege being here,’ Baker said. ‘This is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.'”
Chelsea Baker of Plant City, Fla., donated the Brandon Farms jersey she wore in her April 9 perfect game to the Hall of Fame as an artifact noting the importance of women playing baseball. Her jersey joins one in the hall worn by another young female knuckleballer, Eri Yoshida, 18, whose play in the pro Golden Baseball League also earned her the honor this year…
Chelsea Baker, BFA Spark 2010 – Perfect Little Pitcher: Jersey Worn by Florida Little Leaguer Headed for Museum Collections – Chelsea Baker, author of Two Perfect Games by age 12, to Donate Artifact to Museum on Monday as Part of a Salute to Women in Baseball – baseballhall.org
August 12, 2010
The Diamond Dreams exhibit salutes the roles women have played in baseball at every level. (Milo Stewart Jr./National Baseball Hal of Fame Library)
COOPERSTOWN, NY – The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will receive the donation of the uniform worn by Little League pitcher Chelsea Baker as part a salute to women in baseball on Monday, Aug. 16, in Cooperstown.
Baker of Plant City, Fla., wore the jersey during the 2010 season, when she pitched her second perfect game in less than a year, on April 9, when she was 12 years old. Taught a knuckleball at the age of eight by former major leaguer Joe Niekro, Baker did not lose a sanctioned game in a span of four years. Now 13, Baker is playing in tournaments across the country, including one this month in Cooperstown.
Baker’s jersey was requested last month by the Museum’s Accessions Committee, as an artifact that continues the story of the important roles women are playing in baseball. After a brief stop in the Museum’s Today’s Game exhibit, the jersey will be incorporated into the Museum’s Diamond Dreams exhibit, which is dedicated to women in baseball.
Baker’s donation will join the jersey received on donation earlier in 2010 from Eri Yoshida of the Golden Baseball League, who is pitching professionally at the age of 18 for the Chico (Calif.) Outlaws.
The Diamond Dreams exhibit features several artifacts which tell the story of girls playing youth baseball, including:
A baseball autographed by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis and given to Margaret Gisolo in 1928 when Landis upheld her right to play American Legion baseball. A cap worn by Little Leaguer Maria Pepe in three games with a team in Hoboken, N.J., in 1972 before she was forced to quit. Pepe’s lawsuit eventually won girls the right to play Little League Baseball.
A jersey worn by Katie Brownell when she pitched a perfect game for her Little League team in Oakland, N.Y., striking out all 18 batters she faced on May 14, 2005.
On Monday, the Hall of Fame will present a program dedicated to the history of women in baseball at 1 p.m. in the Museum’s Bullpen Theater. The program is included with Museum admission, and Baker’s donation will take place as part of this program.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. seven days a week through Labor Day. Regular hours are from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily until Memorial Day Weekend. Ticket prices are $16.50 for adults (13 and over), $11 for seniors (65 and over) and for those holding current memberships in the VFW, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion and AMVets organizations, and $6 for juniors (ages 7-12). Members are always admitted free of charge and there is no charge for children 6 years of age or younger. For more information, visit our Web site at baseballhall.org or call 888-HALL-OF-FAME (888-425-5633) or 607-547-7200.
Watch E:60 Tuesday 7pm ET on ESPN:
Geena Davis narrates the story of Chelsea Baker, a 13 year-old with an unbelievable ability to throw a knuckleball.
Watch E:60 Tuesday 7pm ET on ESPN:
Geena Davis narrates the story of Chelsea Baker, a 13 year-old with an unbelievable ability to throw a knuckleball.
Just in time for baseball season…12 year old Chelsea Baker will bring us up to speed with her 70mph fastball and knuckleball which helped her pitch two “perfect games”. Plus Justine Siegal – the first female to coach professional men’s baseball (and the only woman currently coaching baseball at the college level) – will join in on the conversation to talk about what she’s doing to bring more young girls into this male dominated sport!
For Immediate Release
April 12, 2010
Contact: Justine Siegal
Baseball for All
12-Year-Old Girl Pitches Second Perfect Little League Baseball Game Against the Boys
Twelve-year-old Chelsea Baker, who plays in the Plant City (FL) Little League, pitched her second perfect game in two years on April 9, 2010. Baker struck out 16 in six innings on 71 pitches. Her team, Brandon Farms, plays in the 11-12 year-old division. Her first perfect game came in 2009 during the Plant City Little League District IV Championship game.
Baker will be joining Baseball For All’s national all star girls’ baseball team as they compete against the boys this summer at Cooperstown Dreams Park. She also plays on a United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) travel team, Team Crush, of Sebring, FL. Baker is one of the top pitchers and hitters in her league and has been named to the Plant City Little League’s All Star Team five years in a row. Her goal is to play baseball for her high school team.
Baseball For All provides meaningful baseball instruction and opportunities for girls and boys worldwide. Baseball For All’s Executive Director, Justine Siegal, is the first woman to coach men’s professional baseball (Brockton Rox, 2009). More information on Baseball For All can be found at http://www.BaseballForAll.com.
Years ago, GPB reached out to decision makers regarding the ambiguous guidelines which differed state by state as arbitrarily decided upon by a given State Athletic Association. Considering the strategic importance a given coach at the local level must have to secure his career, without unlimited opportunity to utilize the tools at his disposal, the responsibility for competitive success would be on him.
Beginning Fall, 2016, BOTH High School and (NCAA) College and University-grade Baseball will require all outings be guided by specific pitch counts. From my conversations in the past, what these entities were looking for were scientific proof that the connection between number of pitches thrown and injury is connected.
My lay-person’s understanding is: it isn’t only about the number of pitches thrown, having a direct connection to the negative affect on tissue, but that, with an excess in pitching, the hurler becomes fatigued and no longer uses the appropriate mechanical systems, the alignment of joints and limbs, in a productive manner, allowing opposed motion, which may cause serious injury.
Intuitively, excessive impact does have a direct impact, on the tissue, including the evolution of a slack elbow, when it has not been sufficiently developed to secure that joint upon release of the ball.
The shoulder, an entirely different matter, also, seems to be impacted by excess.
With the epidemic numbers in “Tommy John” surgery, among younger players, Collegiate, as well as seasoned professionals, there is no doubt that feedback from the Medical community has weighed heavily among the republican leaders and decision makers within the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA): but I am merely speculating.
We know that Major League Baseball began a new, multi-year study in 2015 to find solutions to their own epidemic of pitching injuries, most importantly, entering each Spring training period, let alone throughout the regular season.
To usher in a new era for girls and women who aspire to play baseball at the highest levels, Fox television’s, Pitch, featuring a woman hardball pitcher introduces us to the Screwball as the archetypical pitch a woman might resort to in challenging the men of the MLB: because of the physiological limitations of a woman to throw a Fastball?
[It will no doubt come out that the fictional player, who’s last name is Baker, by name and pitch choice, are modeled to a great degree on Chelsea Baker, who has been written into the history book of Baseball as a successful Knuckleball pitcher, challenging boys to girls to men.]
Specialization in pitching at the MLB level may trickle down as far as High School, now that brute force is no longer an option for the amateur baseball coach and manager.
These changes will no doubt impact Middle School and corresponding Travel Ball programs, in preparing more players for High school and beyond.
To succeed, a coach will have to rely on Sabermetrics to prepare for a given week of baseball outings.
The new paradigm and matrix will require more players to add pitching to their tool belts, no longer specializing in a given fielding position or on their hitting potential: no doubt, school districts and leagues, limited in budget and allowing for a varied pool of schools, flattening out opportunity to field a viable team, will not be able to add more roster positions to add pitching candidates.
Ultimately, only the well-rounded, skilled player, who can step in as a pitcher on moments notice, will stand out during annual tryouts.
This is where the girls and women come in…
The spectrum of pitch type and speed will become a strategic advantage for the intelligent coach. It will be impossible to increase the number of Fastball pitchers among the less-developed roster players, those who the coach of yesterday would have used as fodder to prevent girls from joining their team.
Also, the dilemma in specializing position players, who will be considered for College recruiting opportunities, will limit opportunity for those boys who do not add pitching to their tool belt.
If the position player does not spend time developing pitching skill it is likely the number of injuries due to fatigue and incorrect mechanics will increase the number of Tommy John surgeries, not reduce them, also, among the skilled pitchers.
We have all seen the career catcher-pitcher player, who may be utilized within a tournament in both positions. Or, the shortstop-pitcher who requires multiple arm sockets. As one of my son’s pitching coaches has put it: “Pitching is a highly refined and specialized motion; throwing from shortstop requires getting it to First Base no matter what…” – I’m paraphrasing, of course…
Both combo-players are susceptible to inadequate rest between outings – not only as pitcher.
Critics of Pitch Count for pitchers argue that it is an art not a science in determining a given pitcher’s capacity to throw more. If you rely on the fatigue method or theory, they may be correct: at lease, about when the elbow drops during the motion, after significant number of baseballs have been hurled.
Yet, as I understand it, it IS a science based on actual thousands of medical cases, requiring surgery, from young to mature player, with significant downtime to recover and become able to pitch again. Tommy John surgery, as a standard, as prescribed by one of the most distinguished surgeons in the USA, requires a total of 15 months from the knife to the next start on the mound, with an unfathomable series of progressive steps leading to a promising recovery.
That is only one type of injury a pitcher may be faced with at any time in his or her career.
There is no doubt a cause and effect.
Consider that the opportunity for a girl to extend her Softball beyond High School is marginal. If a girl has the Baseball skill of Pitching in her repertoire, but it does not interfere with her Softball fielding or batting potential, she can become a major asset to a given high school or college baseball team.
Marti Sementelli is a good example of a player who pitched for her college baseball team (an National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics or NAIA school) then switched to an Outfield position on the Women’s Softball team. In the off season, Marti pitches for two different amateur, advanced level women’s baseball teams, even after graduating. Her skill and intelligence on the mound is matched by no other.
More current, Kelsie Whitmore, who, most notably, recently signed with a men’s professional baseball team, the Sonoma Stompers, considered by some as the best woman playing baseball in the USA today, will enter as a Freshman in Fall 2016 at California State University, Northridge, as a burgeoning Softball player. As a fielder, her exceptional skills are transferable between both sports; her intelligence at the plate will also provide added benefit from any coach who concurs with the overall opinion of her skills.
All it will take is flexibility in the rules governing the two divided sports, Baseball and Softball, as designated by the NFHS, NCAA and NAIA (who I have not yet read about or heard from on changes to their pitching rules,) to allow for cross-pollination.
If all potential players, boys and girls; men and women, were evaluated for BOTH sports, at the same time, based on the needs and requirements to play each, given sport, opportunity would become exceptional, dialed in.
Finally, if brute force is no longer the answer to winning games, and the pitching specialist asked to throw in excess is no longer an option, other factors will be considered more highly than ever before.
Academic prowess; maturity; activities outside of sports, most importantly community service and outreach; leadership skills, all, will become highly coveted among Athletic Directors, as baseball as a specialty for a given student will become marginalized, as the well-rounded citizen re-emerges in the American Society, Baseball becoming a rite of passage to affect grit, bolstering a more diverse and complete life experience.
The words “Baseball For All” have a resounding significance for the likes of Justine Siegal, Mo’ne Davis, Chelsea Baker and Melissa Mayeux as they break barriers in the quest toward professional baseball. From the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) of the 40-50’s to the newly formed Dream Catchers Women’s Professional Baseball Club, there is no questioning that girls can play. Women …
Players: Chelsea Baker Michaela Carper Abbey Donovan Alyssa Rose Freeman Jade Gortarez Rachel Jones Sara Lopez-Wheeler Casey McCrackin Kristen Maldovan Nylah Ramirez Jasmine Siegal Shae-Lynn Simpson Allie Spinney Hannah Zemore Leadership: John Kovacch, Coach Patrick McCauley, Coach Justine Siegal, Coach Robin Wallace, Coach
|USA Baseball | 403 Blackwell Street | Durham, NC 27701|
# Name Position B/T Ht. DOB Hometown
Jessica Alfonso IF/OF R/R 01/19/91 Miami, Fla.
Veronica Alvarez C R/R 04/07/83 Miami, Fla.
Lynn Anderson IF/RHP R/R 05/31/86 Neenah, Wis.
Chelsea Baker RHP R/R 05/06/97 Plant City, Fla.
Elizabeth Baker-Noren IF R/R 09/12/97 Louisville, Ky.
Jill Barrett IF L/R 06/08/92 Greenwood, Ark.
Bella Berthel C/RHP R/R 05/18/97 Zwingle, Iowa
Kayla Bufardeci IF/RHP R/R 06/10/94 Castro Valley, Calif.
Samantha Cobb IF/OF R/R 02/24/91 Garland, Texas
Hope Creasy IF R/R 12/19/87 Christiansburg, Va.
Kendall Dawson C R/R 09/20/89 Plant City, Fla.
Caitlin Everett OF L/R 11/16/90 Forney, Texas
Lauren Frost IF/RHP R/R 09/18/96 Eagle River, Alaska
Jade Gortarez IF/RHP R/R 07/08/98 Riverside, Calif.
Jolene Graham IF R/R 05/28/92 Sutter, Calif.
Kayla Haberstich IF/RHP R/R 05/22/96 Bartlett, Ill.
Tara Harbert OF L/R 10/18/83 Boulder, Colo.
Tamara Holmes OF S/R 06/02/74 Albany, Calif.
Sarah Hudek OF/LHP L/L 01/20/97 Sugar Land, Texas
Daniella Ibarra IF/RHP R/R 11/03/95 Emerson, N.J.
Anna Kimbrell C/RHP R/R 10/04/90 Fort Mill, S.C.
Alex Maldonado OF/LHP L/L 09/04/90 Short Hill, N.J.
Jenna Marston IF/RHP L/R 07/16/91 St. Louis, Mo.
Jennifer McKenney OF R/R 04/03/88 St. Pete Beach, Fla.
Stacy Piagno IF/RHP R/R 03/07/91 St. Augustine, Fla.
Rebecca Satz IF/RHP R/R 04/01/91 Morris Plains, N.J.
Marti Sementelli RHP R/R 11/17/92 Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Loren Smith RHP R/R 08/02/91 Tampa, Fla.
Michelle Snyder IF R/R 04/04/87 Wenatchee, Wash.
Marianne Sparacia IF L/R 11/13/97 Spring Hill, Fla.
Ashley Sujkowski RHP R/R 09/11/90 Rossford, Ohio
Malaika Underwood IF R/R 06/07/81 San Diego, Calif.
Emily Grace White OF/RHP R/R 10/02/98 Marietta, Ga.
Kelsie Whitmore OF/RHP R/R 07/05/98 Temecula, Calif.
2014 Women’s National Team Coaches
# Name Position Hometown
Jonathan Pollard Field Coordinator Woburn, Mass.
Greg Crossman Instructor Burlington, Mass.
Jenny Dalton-Hill Instructor Lexington, Ky.
Dennis Keeley Instructor Jenka, Okla.
Kerry Kincaid Instructor Knightdale, N.C.
Jayson King Instructor Rindge, N.H.
Mike Morgan Instructor Woburn, Mass.
Matthew Weagle Instructor Charlton, Mass.
2014 Women’s National Team Adminstration
Name Position Hometown
Ashley Bratcher Director, Women’s National Team Raleigh, N.C.
Cicely Lopez Coordinator, Women’s National Team Anaheim, Calif.
Cody Wilcoxson Press Officer Aurora, Colo.
Kim Moncel Athletic Trainer
New England Women’s Red Sox
Regarding Roy Hobbs World Series 2012 – Women’s Division: There is a serious matter to reflect on, take action, that less than 2 months out from the tournament, its organizers put in a rule preventing any girl under 16 from pitching at all; also, each team would be limited to 3 maximum girls under 16. This prevents an American Girls team, including Chelsea Baker and 12 other U16 strong players and all pitchers from playing in the tournament: most if not all of the other teams are already committed with full rosters: some with their own U16 players, who are pitchers… We need to reach each of the participating teams and make it clear to them not only how it may directly impact them, now, but how this shuts down opportunity for the girls who are the future from being motivated and get their chance to play competitively. Please let me know who I should also contact and any you decide to contact yourself, direct. Thank you.
2012 Women’s (16U) NTIS/2013 Women’s National Team Trials:
Chelsea Baker, RHP/IF, Plant City, Fla.
Isabella Berthel, C/RHP, Zwingle, Iowa
Lauren Frost, IF/RHP, Eagle River, Alaska
Sarah Hudek, LHP/OF, Sugar Land, Texas
“Can’t we all just get along?” A famous refrain from 20 years ago…
As the only publisher of a single, neutral resource for girls and women who prefer Baseball on the Planet Earth (yes, folks, I can claim that distinction,) I continue to wonder what it will take for the Leadership to share a vision that will allow the opportunity for girls to play baseball to blossom:
ALL girls who prefer Baseball, not just those with natural talent; very supportive family; open-minded communities; access to enough money to hire private trainers; who live in countries that actually subsidize the unique opportunity – it should NOT be unique – for girls to blossom from a young age into adults who can play baseball as effectively as men (while not as bulked up as men reported to be pumped with human growth hormone, other enhancements such as anabolic steroids or other undetectable such as “Clear” or properly-processed substances such as synthetic testosterone.)
I try and maintain a neutral relationship with each leader, not to get the first drop and scoop on the latest story to report it here, first. It is because each bastion or territory that claims to be looking out for all girls interests in playing baseball is not connected. They are disconnected and fragmented, actually:
mostly, due to no fault of their own. To some extent, it is because there is no shared strategy to achieve the goal.
It is also, primarily, due to the lack of commitment by the male-dominant industry of making money through baseball – or, write down their taxes owed on their actual profit-making enterprises, which subsidize their ownership of baseball:
not because of the profit-making but almost despite it – there is a lot of money being made by a few power brokers in male-dominant Baseball not to forget mentioning the Recreational Coed and Competitive Girls’s Softball industry.
Girls and women play a dominant role in baseball: just not on the field as players, in the minds, hearts and souls of the Men of Baseball.
Sure, girls are allowed onto the field as spectators, sharing a moment on a given base or outfield position with a hulking man by their side; running the bases after Sunday’s game of the week; in their paid seat with cotton candy cloud atop a stiff, paper cone.
Women are allowed to ogle the players they find objectively appealing (some dedicate their spare time writing blogs expressing their admiration for players; the girls and women who are life-long fans of the game, who are sincerely passionate about either a certain player or their love of the game.)
But, when it comes to investing substantially in the idea and reality of girls playing Hardball Baseball:
EVERYONE falls short – including the self-declared Leadership among those who support girls 24/7 in their aspiration to play Baseball, again, despite their valiant effort to spin gold from raw thread.
Some will view this criticism as completely out of line because of the total commitment of this leadership either at the local level or in raising the bar for those talented enough to play at the highest levels.
Anyone paying attention to this unfolding drama will notice that no girls and women’s baseball EVER gains recognition in the mainstream press, to any extent to help foster its growth and natural emergence. It is only an evaporated drop from a metal bucket during the hottest day of Summer.
What about the women in Sports Media: why do they fail to cover this topic? It is understandable: they, too, are doing all they can to gain recognition and respect within their profession: their long-term goal has been to earn respect for terrific published writing and video work in the highest-earning Sports arenas possible:
primarily, covering Men’s Sports.
I am not criticizing the women of sports media: it is just one example of how women are unable to chart their own determination without negative consequences were they to support girls and women achieve their dreams without repercussions for either the journalist or subject.
Getting back to the current leadership who claims to be supportive of girls and women playing Hardball Baseball: what have you done for the kid who lives in the cul-de-sac to ensure they are able to sign up for their low-cost, highly visible Little or PONY League; get onto a team with a supportive coach or one who will be shown the same page or the door if they do not…?
Recently, an article appeared in Youth Baseball magazine featuring the Dream Team Baseball entity which has drawn at least 24 girls, ranging from 11 to 14, on two squads, for 13U and 14U play in the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA). I had been prodding the publishers to focus on girls for a few years. I was glad when Christy Rose Freeman, Manager of the Dream Team organization pointed it out on their Facebook page.
But, for some reason that escapes me, the article failed to chart the collective history and provenance of the players who emerged as the Dream Team. The article also spends so much attention on Chelsea Baker and her career on and off the field (as the article focuses on her success as a media sensation, even more than her actual accomplishments, which ARE noteworthy: observing a knuckleball float through the air, as the batter watches without lifting the bat off their shoulder; or, even more dramatic, seeing a powerful person grab only air with their lumbering stick, emphasizes,) that a disconnect occurs and adds to the failure to define the pathway for girls everywhere to enter and succeed in Hardball Baseball.
I wrote an article some time ago, which outlines that history, legacy and timeline.
I am holding myself back from naming names, here, because no one should fault anyone for the tremendous work they are doing and have done to drive the opportunities forward.
In the USA, women and girls are experiencing entirely different, separate opportunities or lack thereof:
– women are tending to play in otherwise all-men leagues, anonymously, throughout the USA;
– women are bringing the skill developed in the otherwise all-men leagues; others are committed to entirely all-women experiences coming together in annual tournaments, usually, due to location and timing, prohibitive and costly for some to attend.
A few years ago, now, a conversation began among those interested in coming together, to, at the very least, define location and time to allow the existing women’s teams and leagues to come together and enjoy that experience.
One all-men’s amateur baseball organization has once again taken the lead providing a package to the women of baseball, a sideshow tournament; one all-women’s league has taken the lead providing an annual tournament: managed entirely by women, for women.
In 2007, the same amateur men’s baseball organization crated the first and only Girls’ Baseball National Championship:
no single organization or combination of the lead organizations referenced, here, has produced a similar event of its kind, since.
But, that, my friends, is putting the cart before the horse, as they used to say before cars became so commonplace.
We all need to do better; we all need to step up and do what is right not for our own children but for the children in our local communities in need of both personal care and leadership within the community.
If your daughter plays baseball: she is a symbol of hope for others in the community. To the extent she holds her own against and among boys on her and the opposing team, she is leading others to let go of their prejudice; to become supporters, to empower girls in all walks of life to grow into model citizens.
Baseball in and of itself isn’t everything; it is a means to an end; it is stepping up and into a conversation about what is correct behavior; having a teachable moment; developing many social skills that will help in all walks of life. During a given game, the First Base Person is the most enviable for the greatest, prolonged opportunity to talk with whomever reaches the base. Some are convinced the banter is simply to throw off the runner, distracting them from signals coming from the First or Third Base coach. Sure, that probably happens, too.
But, here is the rub:
if the leaders in Girls and Women’s Baseball cannot communicate with one another, regularly, to develop a strategy, together, despite differences in opinion of how to do it; what age range a given leader is focused on; a geographical limitation; lack of finances:
how are girls, who are looking for the pathways to play, going to discover a consistent, unified approach?
I was encouraged to hear that many who hold this enterprise dear came together in Arizona to both honor girls who play baseball; to remember the loss of an angel in the infield. I am certain they compared notes.
How do those moment in time translate into a game plan that is all-inclusive, and not geographically-limited by the spectacular one-off events that are rationalized as Girls Baseball Opportunity for All?
E:60, which premieres at 1 p.m. Saturday, will air a segment about women’s sports and the effects of the 40th anniversary of Title 9, the landmark 1972 decision that opened more doors for women in sports. Rod Mason, Baker’s stepfather, said the opening segment of the piece will feature Baker.
Daily Diamonds stories:
Effa Manley, the Colorado Silver Bullets, Hilda Chester,Edith Houghton, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, Amanda Clement, Julie Crouteau, Chelsea Baker, Toni Stone, Claire Smith, Eri Yoshida, Helene Britton, Suzyn Waldman, Corinne Hillman, the movie A League of Their Own, Dorothy Seymour Mills, Melissa Ludke, the Pawtucket Slaterettes, Eleanor Engle, Maria Pepe, Pam Postema, Helen Dauvray, Janet MacFarlane, Brita Meng Outzen, Margaret Gisolo, Sr. Mary Assumpta, Sonia Sotomayor, Linda Alvarado and Babe Didrickson Zaharias.
In late 2011, Lydia approached Sara with an idea: what if we started a blog that dealt with feminism and sports from a different perspective than everything else out there? We both love reading sports blogs and feminism blogs, but the two only intersect when there’s a particularly newsworthy event. We’re big sports fans – we both follow certain teams religiously – and so we know that the two areas intersect every day. We cheered on Chelsea Baker as she knuckled through rosters; we cringed when the national media ignored Rays pitcher Josh Leuke’s despicable sexual misconduct; we didn’t understand how a magazine like Good, which is dedicated to social causes, could publish an article attacking a woman just for liking sports. As we kept emailing back and forth, we realized that no blog was solely devoted to discussing these stories. We aim to do that here.
Inevitably, certain topics will be covered more than others. We both love baseball as our primary sport. Lydia supports New York teams (Mets/Knicks/Giants/Rangers) and Sara loves all things Boston (Sox/Celts/Pats/Bruins), and we both have other teams that we follow as a salute to where we attended college (Twinkies/Cards). Our predilection for baseball won’t stop us from covering anything related to gender in other sports, but you can be sure we’ll be on top of all of the baseball news.
We also want to put our money where our mouths are: neither one of us has ever tried to support women’s sports, and we want to use this blog as a platform to do so. You can expect us at NY Liberty games (basketball in the summer?!), in attendance at the Brooklyn Cyclones’ Ladies’ Clinic, and at the U.S. Open supporting grunting in women’s tennis.
Finally, you can expect commentary on what it’s like to be a female sports fan. Commercials aired during sporting events are overwhelmingly geared towards men, even though statistics show that more than 1/3 of the audience of major sporting events is female. We’ve both had our team loyalties questioned by men who assume that women are only fair-weather fans. Trust us, it’s not true – Sara still loved the Red Sox in 2003 after Aaron Effing Boone hit that home run off of Wake, and Lydia still loved the Mets in 2007…and 2008…and 2009…
From afar, the Dream may appear like your average fastpitch softball squad, but look closer and you’ll find ace pitcher Chelsea Baker warming up overhand while Alyssa Freeman leads off from first base.
Some may call them trendsetters, phenoms or the least-deserving, tomboys, but the players themselves just want to play ball.
The 14-under traveling baseball team came to Sarasota this past weekend to compete in the USSSA President’s Day Cup at Ed Smith Stadium.
“They want to prove they can compete on the big fields with the big boys, and that’s really how we got started. Most of these girls have never even played softball,” said General Manager and Team President Christy Freeman.
Regarding girls and women, this is what was featured during the Baseball Hall of Fame 2011 Film Festival:
Friday, Sept. 30, 7 p.m.
Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend (27 min.)
A portrait of Nicole Sherry, head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards – one of only two women in that position in Major League Baseball.
It is a big deal that Nicole Sherry is working in MLB; it is a big deal for ANY woman to be thriving in the MLB. For the record, wouldn’t you like to know the name of the other woman who is also a Head Groundskeeper in the MLB?
The following list of women in baseball operations, in the MLB, originally published in the monthly newsletter, by Leslie Heaphy and, along with Justine Seigal, Co-Chairs of the Women in Baseball Research Committee within the Society for Academic Baseball Research (SABR) does confirm opportunity does exist for women to contribute in Baseball:
Meredith Montgomery, Director of Baseball operations at TCU.
Marla Miller, Sr. Vice President, Special Events, MLB.
Jacqueline Parks, Sr. Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, MLB.
Kathleen Torres, Sr. Vice President, Finance, MLB.
Wendy Lewis, Sr. Vice President, Diversity, MLB.
Mary Beck, Sr. Vice President, Marketing Promotions, MLB.
Sallie Andrist, Vice President, Human Resources, Milwaukee Brewers.
Wilna Behr, Vice President, Stadium Initiatives, Toronto Blue Jays.
Laura Broderick, Sr. Vice President, Brand Development, SD Padres.
Laura Day, Sr Vice President, Business Development, Minnesota Twins
Karen Forgus, Sr. Vice President, Public Affairs, Cincinnati Reds.
Susan Jaison, Sr. Vice President, Finance, Florida Marlins
Ellen Hill Zenringue, Vice President, Marketing, Detroit Tigers.
Nona Lee, Vice President and General Counsel, Arizona Diamondbacks.
Melanie Lenz, Vice President, Development, Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Laura Lukin, Vice President, Broadcasting, Los Angeles Dodgers.
Jennifer Germer, Vice President, Marketing, Houston Astros.
Jennifer Flynn, Vice President, General Counsel, Boston Red sox.
Lisa Pantages, Vice President, Finances, SF Giants.
Patti Paytas, Vice President, Communication, Pittsburgh Pirates.
Marianne Short, Vice President, Human Resources, Seattle Mariners.
Elizabeth Stecklein, Vice President, Human Resources, Colorado Rockies.
Molly Taylor Jolly, Vice President, Finance/Administration, Los Angeles Angels.
Marti Wronksi, Vice President, General Counsel, Milwaukee Brewers.
Joyce Thomas, Vice President, Human Resources, SF Giants.
Lee Ann Lassiter, Director of Baseball Operations, Rice University.
All executives, men and women, come together each Winter for the MLB traveling gathering, the women “crashing the boys’ club…,” as ESPNw titled their most recent article on the subject.
The Baseball Hall of Fame reminding us of the current, 6th Annual, Fall Film Festival taking place, in 2009, three films were featured regarding girls and women in baseball.
Following the links for those films, featured just 2 years ago, during the 4th Annual Film Festival, at baseballhall.org, the official site of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, there are no references to the 2009 Film Festival – or the first three years of the Festival; no reference to the Cuban Women’s National Baseball team; The Girls of Summer – a film by Max Tash, featuring a team of 12-year-olds assembled annually to challenge the notion that only boys love the Game and can play it competitively.
The HOF maintains a girls and women playing baseball exhibit tucked away in one corner, isolated but robust. The most notable, recent additions I am aware of include the jersey and equipment of Eri Yoshida and Chelsea Baker.
It would have meant a lot to include The Girl in Centerfield, by stunt3 multimedia,
The true-story film chronicles the historic struggle of Carolyn King, a 12-year-old girl from Ypsilanti who paved the way for girls to play Little League back in 1973…
but it would have made sense to feature it in 2010, when it first was released. Yet, this year, also by stunt3, the producers were honored with the presentation of The legend of Pinky Deras,
…of all the kids who ever played Little League, the best of the best was a boy you’ve probably never heard of: Art “Pinky” Deras. In the summer of 1959, he led the team from Hamtramck, Mich., to the Little League World Series title, and in the process, he put together a Little League season the likes of which we might never see again…
You can purchase DVD copies, for personal use, of each of these films.
In this thoroughly revised Second Edition, Glenn Wong updates and adds to his already highly successful First Editon. He addresses the significant changes that have come about in amateur sports law and administrative practice over the last several years. These changes impact amateur athletic associations; athletes’ rights; administrative procedures; and the liability of sponsoring organizations. Issues of special topicality and importance, including women’s sports, drug testing, and the issues involved in the change of status to professional, are closely examined. Amateur sports have expanded rapidly, as have legal issues and ramifications concerning them. Wong’s careful, detailed, and clear exposition and analysis both organizes and clarifies fundamental principles affecting athletes, associations, and management in the category of amateur sports. This is an indispensable text, resource and guide.
Justine Siegal was a pioneer long before she pitched batting practice to six major league teams in spring training this year. Two years ago she became the first woman to coach first base for a men’s professional team, the Brockton (Mass.) Rox in the independent Canadian American Association. And she spent three seasons as an assistant baseball coach at Springfield (Mass.) College until resigning last year to pursue a doctorate. Women in Pro Sports Our series continues throughout the week with an in-depth look at six sports. Here’s the lineup:
Siegal’s nonprofit organization, Baseball for All, sponsors a team of 12-and-under girls called the Sparks that draws players from all over the country. Last summer the Sparks, with knuckleball sensation Chelsea Baker of Plant City, Fla., finished 39th out of 104 teams in an international tournament in Cooperstown, N.Y. — as the only all-girls team in the event. And that was with only one practice.
Every girl on that team, Siegal said, shares the dream of playing major league baseball. Women already have played collegiately and in the minors. Left-hander Ila Borders did both, pitching in independent ball from 1997 to 2000. And USA Baseball has sponsored a women’s national team since 2004. Siegal believes the day is coming when a woman will break into the majors. ‘There’s no reason why a woman can’t be a knuckleball pitcher in major league baseball,’ she said. ‘I think we’ll see it in the next 15 years…
On Friday, May 13, 2011, Justine Siegal throws batting practice to the Oakland A’s. If you want to watch contact Brian DiTucci of the Oakland Athletics. He is the Director of Ticket Sales. The number is 510-563-2318.
April/May 2011 – Cooperstown Hall of Fame and Museum for a guided tour of the Women in Baseball exhibit, which features many artifacts from AAGPBL, but also many more from the whole history of baseball. In fact, Chelsea Baker’s and Eri Yoshida’s jerseys have been added just this year. Chelsea and Eri are both knuckleball pitchers. Chelsea has thrown 2 perfect games this year against boys teams in Little League; and Eri signed a 2010 contract with the Chico Outlaws becoming the first female professional baseball player ever to play professionally in two countries – US and Japan. We are collecting some artifacts from all the firsts that we are witness to in the hopes that we can get them added as well…