I came across the article in the Washington Post about little league girl baseball players who refuse to play softball.
Okay, I have no problem with that, but there are some interesting quotes and opinions about softball in this article that raised my blood pressure a little.
The article starts:
Move over, boys of summer.
The girls are here.
And thanks, but no thanks. They’re not interested in softball. They’re baseball players.
“I watched a middle school softball game once, and it was just so slow,” said Tess Usher, 11, who plays first base for D.C. Force, the all-girls baseball team that just killed it at a national tournament. “I love playing baseball. That’s not going to change.”
Well, I can see how watching middle school softball may just seem so slow. In middle school you have a big gap in players who have played serious softball and those that haven’t. In my area, middle school softball went from slow pitch to fastpitch just a few years ago. I wouldn’t necessarily call middle school softball the best softball that is played at that age. I wonder if Tess has ever watched a competitive softball 12U game?
I have nothing against baseball, but I would rather watch softball than baseball. For me softball is a much more fast paced game, with more hitting, and more base runners. I can easily sit through a 7 inning softball game, but can’t sit through 9 innings of baseball.
In baseball with the bases being so far apart, there is little chance of reaching base on infield hits – boring! The time for fielders to react is greater in baseball, resulting in fewer infield hits, leading to base runners. In my opinion there is less strategy in baseball, as you see very few bunts and no slapping.
These are just a few things off the top of my head that I find boring in baseball, as compared to softball. I think softball offers much more action and strategy.
The article continues:
Tess hit her first home run in Rockford, Ill., last week, on the same field where the Rockford Peaches played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League way back in the 1940s when women showed the world they could play baseball.
Tess’s 11-and-under division had a good showing at the nation’s third-ever all-girls baseball tournament. The 13-and-under girls from the District? They won the whole darn thing.
“All these girls are awesome in and of themselves,” said the 13-and-under girls’ coach, Ava Benach, an immigration lawyer in Washington when she’s not coaching baseball. “They all play on teams that are coed, they hold their own, they’re usually the only girls on their teams.
“They’re trailblazers, because they get a lot of messages telling them to get out of baseball and go to softball.”
I think people are telling them to go play softball because there will be more of a future for them playing softball, than if they continue with baseball.
I’m sorry if this ruffles some feathers, but as these girls get older most of them will find they can’t compete in high school with the boys. Since there is currently only boys baseball, they will have to compete with boys, who will for the most part be stronger.
I’ve seen girls playing softball, dominate at the 12U and 14U level, but not so much at the 16U and 18U level, as others girls catch up to them physically. These baseball playing girls will experience this to a greater degree when competing with maturing boys of older ages.
The article goes on:
Sure, plenty of Little League teams are coed. Mo’ne Davis became a national sensation when she pitched a shutout in t
he Little League World Series in 2014, also becoming the first Little League player to land on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
But, looking toward sports that give her a better chance at a college scholarship, she started playing on her high school softball team and hitting the basketball court hard.
The way Benach sees it, “baseball let Mo’ne down.”
Yep, that’s true. If my daughter wanted the opportunity to play a sport in college, and she was a good baseball player, I would certainly want her to switch to softball. I doubt if we will see any girls only baseball opportunities in high school or college any time soon.
Personally, I hope we don’t ever see that. Unlike basketball and soccer, fastpitch softball is truly a unique sport for girls. I want it to stay that way, because I don’t believe it’s inferior to baseball in any way.
I won’t continue to quote the rest of the article, you can read it here. I will summarize and respond to a few more points.
An interesting stat was presented in the article that out of 100,000 girls playing your baseball, only 1,000 go on to play it in high school. The question is asked, what happened to those 99,000 girls.
I have some personal beliefs as to why those 99,000 don’t go on to play in high school. But my thoughts would not be politically correct and would offend some who see the genders as equals in all things.
The article talks about sagging numbers in youth baseball,with soccer and basketball participation surpassing baseball, stating that baseball is “forgetting about 51 percent of the nation’s population”. Really? I guess softball participation doesn’t count?
I wonder what the numbers would be if you combined the numbers of baseball and softball participation? Why aren’t you taking softball into this equation? Because you see it as a lesser sport?
Ahhh…there goes my heart rate again.
The article also speaks about girls only baseball, and coed baseball, along with some thoughts on both. This summer was the first all girls baseball tournament in Compton, California. Great, no problem with that. About 100 girls played and it was a great success. Good for them.
I wonder how many girls participated in softball tournaments in California alone this year? I would guess there were a number of fastpitch softball tournaments in California that each contained more than 100 girls, but it’s just softball. I wonder how many girls participated in softball tournaments nation wide? I’m sure it would be in the millions, but it’s not baseball, it’s just softball.
I live in Colorado, and over the past several years, fastpitch softball has exploded. When my first daughter played, there was just one competitive organization in the northern part of the state. My second daughter had her choice of two organizations. My last daughter, who just finished her final summer of softball, could have tried out for at least 10 teams in the area. But, it’s just softball.
By the way, my last daughter got a scholarship to go play softball in college, as did all of the seniors on her summer team. She never would have had that opportunity if she played baseball. Even if she played on an all girls team, and if there were girls college baseball teams, she wouldn’t have been offered a girls baseball scholarship. Why? Because her skill set includes left handed slapping and speed, something that is not a part of baseball.
In conclusion it seems the author thinks softball is a lesser sport, and therefore girls are being discriminated against because girls baseball isn’t offered at the high school and college levels. My conclusion is the author has no idea what she’s talking about, and knows nothing about girl’s/women’s competitive fastpitch softball. As a fan, if girls softball was moved to girls baseball, I would never watch.
Okay, I was in “conclusion” until I read some comments to this article, you have to read the comments.
I’ve always enjoyed watching the college softball World Series & USA women’s softball but it always struck as odd and somewhat denigrading that these big strong elite women athletes are playing in the same size field as little leaguers, have to play with a larger ball and throw underhanded. Most other women’s sports play by the same rules and the same field. May be time for equal opportunity.
I would love to see ANRice try to hit off of even a quality high school softball pitcher. ANRice also doesn’t understand that the field is part of what makes the game more entertaining than baseball. How condescending!
I’ve always wondered why when you get your period the only option for you is softball which is totally less than baseball. This is why people play softball while drinking with their co workers. Little League should make an all girls league.
Right, because slow pitch, rec softball, with drinking co workers, is “totally” the same thing as fastpitch competitive softball (shaking head). Moxie obviously knows nothing about competitive fastpich softball.
And – Thank you Pariseye, who obviously knows softball!
Hot take: competitive high school and college softball are faster-paced and more exciting to watch than their baseball counterparts. The “slowness” of DC public school softball in middle school and even high school is due to competitive imbalance and a lack of training and familiarity with the game for all but one or two teams, and is not inherent to the game itself. Many girls who could play baseball choose to play softball because they prefer to play softball, which might come as a shock to the columnist. There’s no need to pit those girls against those who choose to play baseball.
Another voice of reason from Wildflower Bloom, who has actually been there!
Don’t pick a fight, in the end, genetics wins this one hands down. Our daughter played baseball from 5 up until the time that they boys started throwing 75mph and she wasn’t going to hack that at 5’3″ and 100lbs at 13. She switched over, played high level through high school with college offers. She was a good baseball player. She was a better softball player because she could compete on a level that reflected her genetic talents. No need for this mean spirited article.
I won’t quote any more comments, I encourage you to read them yourself. For the most part people who understand softball call out the author on her bias.
Okay, my blood pressure is okay now. Just wish I had some softball to watch. There is baseball I could watch, but it puts me to sleep – sorry baseball fans!