The Little League World Series has just wrapped up with South Korea (Asia-Pacific) beating the American representatives from the Great Lakes Region (Jackie Robinson West, Chicago, Illinois) 8-4 for the title.
South Korea is now a perfect 11-0 all-time at the Little League World Series and has three titles to show for it.
Usually that kind of perfect record demands a ton of attention, and rightly so, from all media outlets such as ESPN all the way down to local newspapers and radio stations.
However the majority of the talk right now is not about that streak.
Nor is it about Puerto Rico’s 6’4, 229-pound 13-year-old pitcher/slugger named Erick Figueroa.
Instead the majority of the talk is about Mo’ne Davis, a 13-year-old female pitcher for the Mid-Atlantic Region Taney Youth Baseball Association Little League, an inner city team from Philadelphia.
The remaining talk, whatever is left of course, being about Canada’s Emma March, a first basewoman and clean-up hitter for the South Vancouver team that was eliminated from the tournament early on.
But still, these two girls are just the 17th and 18th girls to ever play in the Little League World Series. Remarkable, right?
Davis is actually the only girl in history to throw a complete game shutout in the LLWS; something she had done to open the tournament for her team when she held the Southeast Region representative South Nashville Little League team to just two hits in the 4-0 Mid-Atlantic Region victory.
So it’s understandable why this is such a huge story, correct? Girls just don’t play baseball… In America.
But it’s not a huge story here in Canada, simply because girls play baseball in Canada and it’s not a big deal.
Go to any city league, chances are you’ll find a couple of girls playing on a boys team.
Go to a small town and I guarantee you’ll find a couple of girls on every team (Ste. Rose du Lac had two girls playing midget baseball this year).
In fact Yorkton has been one of the biggest supporters of girls playing baseball, with the likes of Robin and Rae-Lynn Somogyi, Karli Reeve, Brittany Brenzen and Lauren Leshchyshyn all playing baseball within the city at some point and time over the past 10 or so years, all of which represented the province of Saskatchewan at a National Championship at some point as well.
Yorkton also openly accepted and embraced Ghazaleh Sailors as a member of the WMBL Cardinals.
Ghazaleh, if you remember, is currently the only female in US College baseball (you can just hear the walls falling down in some backwoods dwelling in, let’s say, Alabama).
But while all of that is accepted in Canada, in America, where baseball is allegedly the National pastime, the general consensus is that women do not play baseball.
And if they do then they aren’t just shunned, they’re vilified. Because girls don’t play baseball. It’s unacceptable. It’s unheard of… It’s un-American.
But the only thing that’s truly unacceptable is that attitude itself.
Luckily there is hope for the Red, White and Blue yet.
And that hope is in the form of Justine Siegal’s ‘Baseball For All’ organization, an organization that is geared towards girls who play baseball and girls who want to play baseball.
Baseball for All provides girls all across the United States with a place to play baseball in a safe community of fellow girls who play baseball. They send teams to tournaments and, more often than not, come away with some hardware (most recently the 10U BFA All-star Team, made up of girls from all around the US, who won their USSSA baseball tournament against boys teams).
Baseball for All is also in the process of setting up a 64-team tournament at Cooperstown with each and every team being made up of female baseball players (how disgusting! Horrific even!).
Jokes aside you can bet your bottom dollar that if that tournament were to happen, then I know of one media member that would volunteer their time to help in any way possible.
So to sum it all up, it’s time for the US to get out of that mindset that girls cannot play baseball. Mo’ne Davis and Emma March are just current examples that they can. And not only can the play it, they can do so competitively.
By the way, don’t even get me started on the woman that struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig back in 1931… Yes, that actually happened.