Dissatisfaction is so high with the MLB in general and the Reds in particular that I wonder if a complete reboot of the sport is necessary. In the sense that it’s not even the MLB. It’s a bunch of chicks. A bunch of chicks and no dudes and that is the extent of professional baseball.

We know this is possible in emergency situations (I’m operating on the assumption here that Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell would never lie to us.) But even players in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League played by mostly-softball rules until its final year in 1954, when the ladies played with the same official baseball the men did, pitching from the same distance (minus six inches.) Only the basepaths were shorter. Earlier teams pitched underhand using a 12-inch softball, but overhand throwing with an MLB baseball quickly followed.

So based on extremely limited data that also features Laverne from Laverne and Shirley, we know that women have the arm power to sling from the mound– but can we sling at 2021 speeds? Noted sage The Internet says that the fastest pitch ever thrown overhand by a softball player clocked in at 69 MPH; underhand throws are somewhere in the 70s and there’s a claim that the best softball pitchers can whirl in the 80s. That’s not Cuban Missile speeds, but it’s faster than I can do it (which, as we all know, is the ultimate and most important measure of anything.)

This suggestion of 80 MPH, however, comes from a female political scientist, and as a recovering female political scientist I can pretty much guarantee that no one knows less, aggregate, about baseball than political scientists. The same source claims that “we don’t know how good women are,” which makes zero sense to me, because…. do our uteri throw off the radar gun? Is there ovary interference? Why wouldn’t we know that?

I suppose Baseball Political Scientist explains this by adding that “(b)oys have been taught to throw hard from the time they’re five or six years old.” She seems to be suggesting that little girls are conditioned to not throw as much or as hard as little boys, which says to me that this woman has spent zero seconds on a Catholic school parking lot during recess. You don’t pick out Catholic women by our 17 children or nun’s habits; you look for the tell-tale hashmark scars of 12 years worth of foursquare balls hitting us directly in the face at the approximate speed of sound. The twenty minutes between the end of lunch and the beginning of reading group were The Hunger Games on blacktop.

The Interent also solemnly informs me that there is such a thing as the Women’s Baseball World Cup, with team rankings and everything, but the sponsoring agency of that merged with the International Softball Federation, so I don’t know what’s going on. The Internet doesn’t seem to know. I can confirm that the cover of the Women’s Baseball World Cup Hosting Manual features the words “Game Time!” in the following obnoxious woman-y Get In Shape, Girl! font:

Maybe this is why people think girls aren’t encouraged to throw as hard or as often as boys. It’s all controlled by Big Font.

Anyway, what do you think? Should we ladies take over for at least a couple of seasons? It might give Billy Hamilton some time to develop.

22 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    Well done! And the reference to playing four-square is outstanding!

    Things do need to change, at the very least within our own Queen City Redlegs organization. I’m watching some of the playoff games and, frankly, were our guys in the mix they’d be bowled over by teams with a whole lot more drive and emotion from what I’m seeing. Beyond that, the game itself needs a major shot in the arm (or both, or the butt, or elsewhere) if it is going to attract a new fan base. Even the minors are suffering of late on multiple fronts.

    Good stuff to think about, MBE. Perhaps Penny Marshal should be the next commissioner?

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      She has passed, unfortunately, but I think she would have enjoyed the opportunity!

      • Mark Moore

        I had forgotten that … I take it back.

  2. Joe Shaww

    At the very least, you’ve stumbled upon a new Hallmark Movie idea. An upstart young woman from Big City seeks to start a women’s baseball league, but is thwarted by sexism at every turn. She retreats to her family’s far-too-nice-for-a-farm farm somewhere in New Hampshire or Washington State where she meets a former major league baseball player who now works as either a mechanic or a ranch hand on her family’s farm-but-also-a-ranch-whatever-the-plot-demands. Naturally, they butt heads. She wants to pursue her dream – and middle-of-nowere Montana/Vermont/etc is JUST the place to start! – but he thinks she’s ridiculous. They meet at the town dance/bake off/bar one evening where they coyly discuss their respective differences and then have a MOMENT(tm) before breaking apart for the evening. Their love blossoms over a series of montages. She starts a women’s baseball league, which has caught the attention of Nondescript Executive Bigwig from BigCity, and Former MLB-er finally believes in her as her scrappy team of random women from Middle of Nowhere, South Dakota defeat the local minor league affiliate (probably in the Pirates’ org). The women’s league takes off, the woman and the MLB-er fall in love and everyone lives happily ever after.

    Post Credit Scene: On their honeymoon, the woman watches The Cincinnati Bengals missing All The Field Goals against the Green Bay Packers and has an idea about women in the NFL. The two laugh and the credits roll out.

      • Mary Beth Ellis

        Candace Cameron + Mario Lopez or NOBODY in the lead roles

    • Mark Moore

      By the rules (my own, completely fabricated) I’m out of points for the season, but this deserves at least a +100,000!! I’d totally watch it.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      At Christmas. You forgot this all needs to take place at Christmas, and in a town where the mortality rate for parents is alarmingly high.

      • e2n2

        I could not stop laughing at this comment, Mary Beth – both you and Joe did a great job summing up all Hallmark Channel Christmas movie plots. ROFL!

      • Mary Beth Ellis

        Thanks e2n2 🙂 I think Joe should get writers credit, though.

  3. greenmtred

    Mary Beth: Since you didn’t specify that the fastest softball pitch speeds were for women pitchers only, I’ll point out that Eddie Feigner (The King and His Court) was clocked at 104. I saw him in Springfield in the late 50s or early 60s; he had a four-man team (him, a catcher, an infielder and an outfielder) and they didn’t lose often. He’d throw strikes–blindfolded–from second base, and had a pitch that appeared to rise a good deal as it approached the plate.

    • Mark Moore

      Eddie was an anathema wrapped in an enigma … a true freak of nature. I never got to see them in person, but I know they were still around in the 70’s. Quite the show.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Sheeeeeesh. Go Eddie.

      Yes, for the purposes of Science, I was referencing ladies alone.

  4. LDS

    Personally, I know a couple of women that could do a better job than Bell. And a dart throw at an old phone book would likely yield a better owner. So bring on the women, I’ll take my chances.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      I have a feeling every boss I’ve ever had prefaced my job offer with “Eh, I’ll take my chances.”

      • LDS

        I suspect not. But seriously I’ve worked for women and I’ve hired women. If they have the skills, who cares.

  5. Scott C

    Anyone who has political science in their title cannot be trusted, there is nothing scientific about politics. That said I have seen a lot of high school girls who can throw it pretty hard underhanded. I umpired High School Softball for almost twenty five years and have had a lot of bruises from pitches the catcher couldn’t catch. The hardest pitches always seemed to hit me between my chest protector and knee guards. Actually JV ball was the worst because the pitchers often threw better than the catchers could catch, at times I thought that they thought they were playing dodgeball. Great article. The Frank Sinatra clip topped it off great.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Oh you understand my childhood of smacked faces then! Thanks for sharing your umpire perspective.

      (that clip was cut from the final form of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame!” I first became familiar with this song when it was ALSO cut from “Meet Me In St. Louis.”

      • Scott C

        Too bad, Old Blue eyes singing is always a winner.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      It’s called “Karen” and is rarely seen outside of “Live Laugh Love” signs.