Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It Should Be Called Hardball

This story from ESPN has inspired a few thoughts from me.  First, I want to say I love what Chelsea Baker is doing.  I also want to say I'm not surprised by it.  There is no reason for a girl to be unable to dominate Little League the way any boy would expect to.  But, I'm not completely happy with the article.

At one point they ask when she's going to move to softball.  It's as if softball is the easier sport.  Softball is where girls play because they're not good enough for baseball.  There are so many things wrong with that it's ridiculous.  Softball may have the same basic rules as baseball, but it's unique.  The most noticeable is the pitching.  Moving from baseball to softball doesn't mean the former baseball player is going to automatically succeed.  Not only will former baseball pitchers hoping to continue to pitch for softball have to learn a completely different style, it affects the hitters as well.  Softball batters have to adjust to violent underhand motions, mostly windmill pitching.  The pitchers are closer to the batters, making any movement on any pitches happen quickly.  Seeing the pitches come from a different angle is logically going to take time as an adjustment.

But, there are also plenty of other adjustments.  I've always loved playing softball.  I love the hustle of softball.  Running to first base on a walk, hustling to steal a base knowing you can't leave the base until the ball leaves the pitcher's hand, knowing the plays in the field have to be a split-second faster because the field is smaller.  I haven't played baseball so I don't know what it feels like.  But, watching on TV, I definitely see more hustle in softball.

It's just a small part of the article that I disagreed with.  I just needed to let it be known that "switching to softball" wouldn't necessarily be easy.  I've played for most of my life and it's still challenging, as anything would be.  Softball is not the dumbed down version of baseball, meant for girls to play.  It's also not the game middle aged men play during the summer.  At least, not fast-pitch.

That's what I have to say.  You won't find a bigger supporter of softball, and I truly believe it deserves more respect than what it gets.

Since, we're talking about softball, I should mention Jennie Finch is retiring.  If you haven't heard of her, I just lost a lot of respect for you.

1 comment:

mandachan said...

totally agree. if softball were so easy, it wouldn't've been so hard for me to hit .429 with 3 years of experience.

and slow-pitch is just a cop-out. it's the whole "my drinking team has a softball problem" thing.