Ring: Media still baffled by female baseball players

From SABR member Jennifer Ring at WEnews on May 31, 2015:

In the United States, baseball has become so exclusively male that the picture of a girl playing baseball is confusing, calling for explanation. A girl with a bat in her hand swinging at a ball is perceived to be a softball player. Invisible to the public imagination are the generations of women, from the late 18th century, when baseball first arrived in the United States, to the U.S. national women’s baseball teams of the 21st century, who have refused to relinquish the nation’s diamonds. Women have played for nearly two centuries in the United States, yet still are greeted with astonishment and disbelief, as though they are eternally the first girls ever to play baseball.

This attitude was exemplified by the media coverage of a baseball game in Van Nuys, Calif., on March 5, 2011. Marti Sementelli and Ghazaleh Sailors, two pitchers who had been teammates on the U.S. women’s national baseball team of 2010, were now in their senior seasons on the baseball teams at their high schools, Birmingham High of Van Nuys and San Marcos High of Santa Barbara. They were scheduled to be the starting pitchers in a game between their schools. For the first time in American history, two high school baseball teams played a game in which the starting pitchers were girls. It didn’t hurt that the game took place in media-obsessed Los Angeles, between two highly rated large urban schools. More than a thousand girls in the United States play high school baseball on “boys’ teams,” but the story would not have had such impact if it had been a game between two small-town schools.
The stands filled an hour before the game started at 11:00 a.m., and spectators stood when there were no longer seats available. Media trucks from ABC, NBC and ESPN jammed the spacious parking lot adjacent to Birmingham High’s athletic fields.

Read the full article here: http://womensenews.org/story/athleticssports/150526/media-still-baffled-female-baseball-players

Originally published: June 19, 2015. Last Updated: June 19, 2015.