Epstein: For the love of baseball: Virginia women’s league marks a quarter-century of play

From SABR member Daniel R. Epstein at The Hardball Times on October 7, 2019:

The town of McLean, Virginia has two distinct, juxtaposed faces. When you exit the highway a few miles west of Washington, D.C., the town intimidates with over-landscaped corporate headquarters and clandestine government intelligence enclaves. Drive past them, and you will find the cul-de-sacs and Olive Gardens of suburbia. McLean High School (home of the Highlanders!) is guarded by middle-class homes and 25 mph residential streets on all sides. The outfield fence of the school’s best baseball field is 335-340-325 from left to right, and the playing surface is only slightly uneven.

In this unlikely place, I found championship baseball.

On August 25, the Virginia Flames of the Eastern Women’s Baseball Conference (EWBC) defeated the Virginia Fury 9-2, completing a perfect season.The four-team league also includes the Baltimore Blues and Montgomery County BarnCats, and features games on most weekends from Memorial Day through August. Athletes ranging in age from teenagers to septuagenarians come from all over the Baltimore-D.C. area to engage in competitive baseball.

“We have attorneys… active duty military, retired military, EMTs, nurses. We have the whole gamut,” says Cindy Monohan, EWBC secretary, member of the Flames, and an analyst with the Department of Defense. “We all love baseball so much. I tend to work my life around it.”

Stemming from that shared love of baseball, the EWBC players and organizers have helped the league persist for more than a quarter century. “(In 1993) we went to softball tournaments. We went around to every field and recruited female baseball players,” recalls JoAnn Milliken, co-manager of the Flames and one of the league’s founders.

Read the full article here: https://tht.fangraphs.com/for-the-love-of-baseball/

Originally published: October 8, 2019. Last Updated: October 8, 2019.