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If you look at our new About Us Blog page, you will find that bit of info that you may have been wondering about: who are these people who are generating this Girls Play Baseball Dot Com web presence, Blog Sites, in all – and (maybe, more importantly): why do I care?
Yes, this is blatant promotion of the new Blog Page! But, also, it can focus your attention on a few of the fundamental issues that remain the same a long as girls are not encouraged to play Baseball in light of the strong alternative of Softball being offered, in good spirit, by Youth Baseball organizations throughout the land.
(Now, that is the first time I really thought about that: what on Earth are Baseball organizations doing providing Softball – to Girls?!? Maybe we should look at that, too, – for a another blog entry, soon…))
Back to the point: I had a brief, but revealing conversation yesterday with the father of CaraMia Tsirigos. It sounded a lot like the conversation I would have with the father of either Katie Brownell or Gabby Sanchez, both girl Baseball players who are on the WBL Sparks team, headed for Cooperstown Dreams Park in July (or, as the general public may not realize, Sammi Kane Kraft, who didn’t merely portray a spectacular Pitcher in the remake of The Bad News Bears, but she actually IS a spectacular all-around Baseball player, and terrific Pitcher):
girls who have played Baseball since they could hold and throw the ball; with a family of skilled, committed Baseball playing, siblings (read: brothers); proud and supportive parents, who work with the girls, daily, providing them with coaching and training.
Seems like a very powerful combination to challenge the neigh-sayers on the local level: who would turn down the opportunity for glory if the girl can play?!? (an aside – last night, on ABCFamily, “The Rookie,” with Dennis Quad, was on – reluctantly had to put the kids to bed before it was over… But there is a line in there ripe for the picking: puled right off of the IMdB web site:
Dave Patterson: Jimmy, how fast were you throwing fifteen years ago?
Jimmy: Slow enough to where scouts stopped using the word “fast”.
Dave Patterson: Seriously, how fast were you throwing?
Jimmy: I don’t know… 85-86?
Dave Patterson: You just threw 98 miles an hour.
Dave Patterson: Twelve straight pitches, three radar guns. Same thing on all of ’em.
Jimmy: Look, Dave, there’s no way…
Dave Patterson: Jimmy, I’ve been a scout for a long time, and the number one rule is, arms slow down when they get old. Now, if I call the office and tell ’em I got a guy here almost twice these kids’ age, I’m gonna get laughed at. But, if I don’t call in a 98-mile-an-hour fastball, I’m gonna get fired! I’m just saying there’s a chance you might get a call on this.
[turns to leave, then turns around]”)
When we helped to put on an exhibition mini-tourney, in Burlingame, CA, with the California Women’s Baseball League, last October 2nd, 2005, our daughter had the opportunity to play with some of the best girls and young women playing Youth Baseball in California – and against those from Australia.
To see the caliber of those players, who represent all girls in their respective communities, for miles around, while it encouraged me to support and work as a community steward towards the launch of an all-girls Baseball league in our home town of San Francisco it further outraged me that girls would be discouraged from playing Baseball at all.
(Thanks to the valiant efforts of The City’s Park & Rec. department and the city’s partners, PAL and FLAME; the daily efforts of Cara Gerken, Director of the Excelsior Sports Collaborative and no less the gratitude to Team Up For Youth for the funding and leadership mentoring: we now have such a league…)
(Burlingame, CA,)— Filling the ranks of a modern day “League of Their Own,” the San Francisco Girl’s Baseball League California (SFGBL), in conjunction with the California Women’s Baseball League (CWBL) is hosting the first ever Intercontinentla/International game of Baseball with girl-only teams. On October 2nd, from 3pm – 5pm at Bay Side Park, 1125 Airport Blvd, Burlingame, CA 94011. With players coming from as far North as Elk Grove and Willits and as far East as Alamo, we have discovered the commitment and dedication of girls to play Baseball. There will be a 14 and over game played at Washington Park in Burlingame. This will be a double header at the High School field against the Cal Women’s Baseball All-Star team.
“SAMMI KANE KRAFT (Amanda Whurlitzer) will be making an appearance during the game. Of Paramount’s recent Summer released “Bad News Bears” (2005) fame (the remake of the popular 1976 hit that originally starred Walter Matthau and Tatum O’Neal) Sammi is offering her support and commitment to Girls Baseball, as she demonstrates no needed for a stunt double during her performance on the mound. Sammi began playing ball around the age of 4 in New York City. Coached by her father in Baseball, she led several teams to championships. Pitching is her specialty. She also excels in basketball and played on her hometown’s All-Star Girls Basketball Team.
The San Francisco Girl’s Baseball League is formed to bridge the gap between organizations that permit girls to play Baseball, and organizations dedicated to offering women access to continuing with Baseball, rather than moving into Softball.
“Once a girl who has been playing Baseball reaches the age of 9, and wants to continue, she usually finds herself as the only girl on her team – let alone her league,” says Jim Nemerovski, the founder of SFGBL. “Many girls, who want to continue playing Baseball meet tough competition from the boys, as the girls demonstrate equal commitment within their coed team to improve skills. Getting the chance to play certain positions enough is the only way to develop as a player rand as a person. Now, they can achieve, both, in their younger years, until they reach the age of 14. At that point, they have the option of playing Women’s Baseball within leagues, such as the CWBL, providing them with even greater opportunity as they compete for openings on Junior Varsity and Varsity Baseball teams.”
Within the San Francisco Bay Area, and other communities within Northern California, the San Francisco Giants Community Fund – Junior Giants program, as one example, provides a comprehensive training program, for, both, girls and boys, in a non-competitive, skill-development program. By contrast, the San Francisco Little League, and their affiliated leagues, within the regional District 3, offer a more competitive approach to Youth Baseball, while also offering Softball for girls only. This has lead to complacency in promoting coed Baseball among girls, let alone the formation of girls-only Baseball teams and leagues.
These games October 2nd, from 3pm – 5pm for the (13U) and 6- 9 for the (14 and over) are the first stop for the Australians on their way to Orlando, Florida, to challenge other 13 and Under (13U) Girls Baseball teams in Disney’s Wide World of Sports Showdown (http://tinyurl.com/4vzmk), an exciting and diverse event with competition for traditional youth age divisions, including a 13U girls division for the first time, High School Age Wood Bat, Women’s, and Vintage divisions.
The SFGBL is the first Baseball league located in the San Francisco Bay Area with a focus entirely on girls under 14 years old. Events such this International – Intercontinental Baseball Game highlights the popularity among girls, around the globe, who are interested in and committed to playing Baseball. It helps in the common missions of the SFGBL and the CWBL in making the game of Baseball as accessible to girls and women as it is to boys and men.
For more information on opportunities for girls to play Baseball, within the greater San Francisco community, visit http://www.girlsplaybaseball.org or call (415) 385-0643.
Twenty-five years ago, Haiti produced almost all of the world’s baseballs. Women would stand in the factories all day, hand-stitching the cowhide, 108 stitches a ball. It cost about 9 cents to produce a baseball, and woman could stitch three dozen a day. They earned $3 a day, under the ruthless Devalier dictatorship.
Twenty-five years have passed, and not much has changed for the men and women on the production line. The main difference is that they are stitching garments, not baseballs. They still earn about $3 a day — enough to buy a bottle of milk and a loaf of bread in the local supermarket. Today, breakfast, lunch, dinner and public transportation consume what the average T-shirt maker earns in a 10-hour workday…
Originally posted October 19, 2009
You may be a girl who will discover Hardball Baseball this Spring. Try it – you may become really excited about.
Many girls seem to make that discovery with Softball since there are so many girls playing the sport. But Softball isn’t the same sport as Baseball. (Here is a comparison between the two on Wikipedia Dot Org.)
Some girls start young playing Baseball and don’t want to switch to Softball – some Softball playing girls try Baseball and enjoy it. Even if they never give Softball a try: for some girls it just doesn’t interest them even looking at it from a distance. Even if they have good friends in school who enjoy Softball – they get together at other times to do other stuff.
Some girls who play Softball in the Spring try Baseball in the Fall (in San Francisco, there is no Fall Girls Softball in our local Little League – some of the more daring and skilled Softball girls try Baseball and enjoy it – seemingly more than some of the boys who have been playing Baseball as long as the girls have been playing Softball!)
Some of you have friends who do any number of activities: play the piano; discover dance; enjoy making things with art and craft supplies; MySpace and Facebook are very popular and are places on the Internet easy to access and to explore for hours (even though you are supposed to be a certain age to create your own pages… ;-))
But what is it going to take to get out of your chair, away from the computer, and move around?
Spring is coming up very soon. Baseball registration, at all levels, comes up in the next few weeks.
You can sign up at Little League; Cal Ripken or Babe Ruth; Protect our Nations’ Youth (PONY); if you are already skilled enough – from playing Baseball or Softball – you have the opportunity to try out for American Legion Baseball.
if you have a local Recreation & Park league – or one of the other community organizations such as Boys & Girls Club or Police Activities League (PAL); YMCA or JCC: you have every right and opportunity to sign up for BASEBALL:
NO PERSON OR ORGANIZATION CAN PREVENT YOU FROM SIGNING UP FOR AND PLAYING HARDBALL BASEBALL IN ANY COMMUNITY LEAGUE THAT EITHER RECEIVES PUBLIC FUNDING OR PLAYS ON PUBLIC PROPERTY.*
(except your parents or legal guardian, of course… – and if they don’t believe it have them read this survey taken a couple of years ago that may help them with the idea that you are allowed to sign up for Baseball even if the league organizers and directors tell you and your parents otherwise…)
No matter what you are told by the leagues and community organizations: you don’t have to play Softball if prefer Baseball:
it is not only the law for all citizens and residents of the United States of America – it may just be the right activity for you to reach for great things in life!
if you have any questions about this please consider visiting the Women’s Sports Foundation web site to discover your rights and contact them direct for any support you may need.
(*Originally, “Public funding” would mean Federal funding. But most public organizations and facilities receive monies from that source, either indirect or directly through more local organizations – “follow the money,” as they say.)
Also, in Middle and High School, PUBLIC OR PRIVATE, you always have the option of trying out – but making the team is at the discretion of the coach and can be hard to verify if they were biased in their decision to allow you to make the cut. But, there are girls who not only try out but make the team and play in the regular season games, some of whom are the team’s best competitive performers. if you have any questions about this you can contact your state or local School Association representatives direct – here is a link to locate yours.)
Originally posted January 5, 2008
What are we asking for:
• Girls play Baseball – not Softball;
• Girls play Baseball with boys;
• Girls play competitively;
• Girls play Baseball with girls;
• Girls play in a nurturing environment.
Confusing? Not really…
Girls and women shouldn’t have to limit their choices based on their gender. Period.
No one is asking – we’re all telling you matter-of-factly what the different goals are:
different ones for different girls and their supporters;
at different times, one is more strategic than another.
When a group of girls get together and…:
• only one girl – or the coach – can pitch: should they pitch the whole game? if so, how should they preserve their arm to last: they can’t throw heat the whole time…? Or, do the girls try and pitch during the game even if it means inconsistency?
• one or more girls are used to playing competitive Baseball and are far more developed than the others new to Baseball: how can they best contribute to the game?
• in your community, the girls finally got access to a field to play Softball: how do you now go about getting the same community to wrap their minds around the idea that they should still let the girls play Baseball with the boys or give up their limited field space to girls who also want to play Baseball?
Originally posted September 27, 2006
I’m not endorsing any organization or policy that excludes ANYONE from playing and enjoying Baseball within their own community – whether that community is San Francisco or Earth. And, most important: it is up to you if you are going to challenge prejudice and the wall of resistance to a girl playing hardball Baseball. If you run into it you need to reach out to find resources that can help support you in getting onto a team and getting the opportunity to play like all of the other players. In Little League they have to bat you in the line up until you reach the Majors.
Actually, I was corresponding with John Kovach, a very successful girl’s Softball and Baseball coach from Indiana, who has designed a logo for a t-shirt. He plans on making it available soon. It points out that a girl’s only obstacle to playing Baseball in Little League is the smokescreen of Softball and the diversion from Baseball by local league officials from the Baseball sign-up.
But, as I was watching the Little League World Series (I missed the final International game as it was rained out on Sunday – missed the broadcast as it was during family dinner time on Monday, Pacific Standard time,) and the games leading up to it, I noticed a very distinct and similar kind of play among the teams: one of grace and balance, one that was not forced and required both aggression and tact.
Have I seen it before, in our local Little League games? Sorta – as a coach and as an assistant coach, I have experienced some of it, but: the teams that play in the ultimate tournaments across the World, the ones that reach this level of play are harmonized in a way that clearly defines certain principles – in action, in time.
By contrast, I was lucky enough to catch some of the Cal Ripken World Series on a cable TV channel much higher up on the dial. After our family’s experience two summers ago we have some perspective of the clear differences between these two organizations and their philosophies and developmental approaches.
Our son’s Little League coaches took a team, assembled from the best, available Little League Rookie players, to Concord, California, to play in a Junior Optimists’s tournament, hosted by the Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth Baseball organizations.
Without getting too much into the details, right now (I think a separate article on a deeper, technical level is in order in the “How…” section of this site,) let’s just say that NOT running the bases is NOT and option in the Cal Ripken league: it is a tactic to steal on each pitch thrown: despite the lack of control and power of a given catcher to throw the runner out. Truly a trial by fire, or. giving the coaches of tournament-ready teams credit: the players who see clearly what the goal is in winning will work harder to develop their skills. Harder than what, you may be asking…?
In communities other than San Francisco, which has a Little League intentionally set up to prevent teams from staying together from T-Ball through even Senior level (again, more on this, later,) it doesn’t matter if it is Little League; Cal Ripken-Babe Ruth or Park & Rec: if the weather permits; and your community supports its members who volunteer to work with kids to achieve success through Youth Baseball; and the kids are focused on Baseball as a primary activity: you can see success as a natural result of that kind of commitment.
Then why, you may be asking now, is Little League a Girl’s Best Hope: if the real deciding factors are available time and commitment to developing a team towards reaching its potential?
It is the lack of these resources (and, in San Francisco for example, where the goal of building on-going from ages 6-13 singularly exceptional teams isn’t another barrier to participation) that forces Little League to adopt the open door policy that should include girls. it is only the pervasiveness of Softball and the self-fulfilling destiny that it brings to girls worldwide, again: diverting attention from the simple administrative task of signing up your daughter for Baseball this Fall Ball, as offered in some communities, but DEFINITELY FOR NEXT SPRING SEASON!!!
During the 2006 Little League World Series, broadcasted on ESPN, commentators may have inadvertently stuck their feet in their mouths – or they actually hold true that the World Series is a culmination of all a boy and his dad have been through together to get there, the pinnacle of all of the hard work and great times together. As the result of some of the commentary the mother of a boy and girl decided to let the ESPN management know how she felt, contacting the Ombudsperson through the ESPN web site:
“During the coverage of the Little League New England Final: the commentators mentioned that the Little League experience was a bonding experience for sons and fathers; that they have gone the distance, together.
Guess where I’m going with this…
As a mother of two children, who have participated in Little League and other Youth Baseball programs for the past 4 years, I take offense at the stereotypical portrayal of this as a father and son activity.
First, as their mother (though their father is an assistant coach as his work schedule permits) I am mostly responsible for getting my children and others on the teams to and from practices and many times games.
As their supportive parent, in attendance at as many games as my work schedule permits, I am their for my kids, the other kids playing, supporting a venture that, otherwise, I probably would not be supportive of – particularly, due to the gender bias that permeates Little League.
You see, we have a daughter that will no longer participate in Little League due the gender bias she experienced – which permeates the league as they encourage girls to only play Softball. Now that she is an accepted member of another Co-Ed Youth Baseball organization…where she is treated as an equal, and given the same opportunities to demonstrate her skill and commitment to her team (she was the lead run driver in last Spring’s season and selected by her team mates as a city-wide All-Star) as the boys, she has excelled in Baseball, to the point where she was selected for the Women’s Baseball League Sparks – an All-Star all-girls team that recently was the only team in history to beat an all-boys or co-ed youth Baseball team at the infamous Cooperstown Dreams Park.
As a family, still participating in the organization that disadvantaged his sister, our son also continues receives ample support from his family, including his sister who has been there, putting aside her own issues to support him.
Again, their father, a dispatched Little League coach, despite a great degree of frustration, due to the experience that his daughter, and other girls, have had to endure, is committed to the idea that Little League can be the place that they claim includes girls as their web site indicates, here.
But, it is my understanding that girls across the country are not encouraged to participate in Baseball, encouraged to play Softball, and if a girl shows up at a Little League sign up session they are not, generally, informed that Baseball is an option for them, despite the overwhelming numbers of girls participating in Softball.
Check out the summary of a survey taken in the mid-west, here.
If you want to see the actual survey, then contact the author at that web site.
It may seem that I’m grandstanding. But, Major League Baseball makes efforts to include girls and women in Baseball, yet not as equal participants. Everywhere that a girl or woman is mentioned these days it is to promote the effort to keep the revenue stream coming in – but not to find a way to include girls on the field in the great American pass time: with hardball in hand.”
Campeonato Panamericano del Béisbol Femenino – Valencia, Venezuela del 3 al 20 de Noviembre de 2009
Breaking news – Google search “panamericano beisbol femenino”