There’s No Crying in Baseball … Because Women Are Playing Pro in the Minor Leagues
— WomenBaseballNetwork (@womens_baseball) June 24, 2016
Baseball players Kelsie Whitemore and Stacy Piagno recently made sports history. For the first time since basically just after when A League of Their Own was set, women are playing professional minor league baseball.
These athletes, 17 and 25-years-old respectively, were recently signed to the minor league team the Sonoma Stompers in California, making them the first women to play baseball professionally since women played in the Negro Leagues of the 1950s. They were totally badass before this, too, as they’re both on Team USA for Women’s Baseball and will be playing in the in the Womens’ Baseball World in South Korea this Fall.
The Sonoma Stompers have a partnership with Francis Ford Coppola’s winery, and he apparently played a big part in getting these talented women on the team. According to an official statement, he said, ““When watching Major League Baseball, I always wondered why there couldn’t be a co-ed team. It’s the one major sport in which weight and strength come less into play. So when my Sonoma winery became involved with the Stompers, I had the opportunity to turn this thought into a reality and recruit these amazing women capable of playing alongside men.”
Meanwhile, Stompers General Manager Theo Fightmaster sees this as not only his team gaining great players, but for these women to gain coaching that might have been different for them due to their gender:
“This isn’t a one-day event… That’s been done a dozen times. Let’s give women a chance to be part of a team, let’s give women a chance to play against men. What will they learn? What have they not been coached because they haven’t had the same coaching as boys? I remember being really disappointed with my sister’s coaches because they coached the girls a lot different than how I was coached.”
He insists that this isn’t a publicity stunt, which some are skeptical about, since the Stompers recently had 67-year-old MLB star Bill Lee on their team, who became the oldest person to get a professional win. The thing is, anything looks like a “publicity stunt,” or seems like a fad the first time you do it. The point should be to keep on doing it.
Here’s hoping other minor league teams follow suit and give talented female athletes the opportunity to take their skills onto the field professionally.
(via Jezebel, featured image via Columbia Pictures)
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