“Pitch” and Women In Baseball

Fox’s Pitch is a bold show that I haven’t seen many people who aren’t baseball fans discuss.

I wonder why that is… I’m not so sure why because the show is absolutely amazing. It is about the first female MLB player, who is specifically a pitcher. Ginny Baker (played by Kylie Bunbury) is a 23-year old from North Carolina, who has a formidable fastball and a nasty pitch called a screwball. The screwball gets her out of jams on a regular basis, which was taught to her by her late father Bill Baker (Michael Beach).

Baker gets called up to the Major Leagues to play for the San Diego Padres, a team that has had to scrap and claw its way to relevancy, and she is mentored by veteran catcher Mike Lawson (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and friends with outfielder Blip Sanders (Mo McRae).

Immediately after getting called up to the Majors, many of her teammates are jealous of her and her manager Al Luongo (Dan Lauria) doesn’t think much of her himself. This causes Ginny’s agent Amelia Slater (Ali Larter) and Ginny’s social media manager Eliot (Tim Jo) much ire. Eventually, they begin to patch things up between players, management and the coaches.

Ok, this may seem a tad interesting to non-baseball fans. A female baseball player… who is black by the way, is at the pinnacle of sporting world. That should be interesting enough right?

Wrong.

This story isn’t just about baseball, or the first female MLB player or even social media drama. The story is about an abundance of daily life occurrences that are made interesting by who participates in them. Amelia and Mike are two divorcees that become infatuated with one another. Ginny has an ex that plays catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, her father dies in a car accident while she was with him, then it is revealed that her high school teammate’s father was the one who killed her dad, sharing a power story about the affects of drunk driving.

Luongo also gets wrapped up in a scandal where he makes misogynistic comments about Ginny, something that many women have to deal with at the workplace on a regular basis. Then the two make up with each other, only after Ginny says that she just wants to be one of the guys.

This is a situation that many women, women who don’t even play the sport, have to deal with on a regular basis. The naysayers of Ginny say that she’s “not good enough” or that “she will never be as good as any man”, but obviously, she worked through the Minor Leagues to get to where she is. That task in itself is formidable and many men don’t even make it that far. The fact that Ginny is a woman, a very young woman at that, shows that she is mature and talented beyond her years.

Women in the workplace have to fight twice as hard as men and she acknowledges this during a workout in Season 1, Episode 2:

“I gravitate towards strong messages and things that make an impact,” Bunbury said while on set. “I think this show does that.”

Bunbury also worked with former MLB reliever Gregg Olson to assist her with her pitching mechanics. He practiced with her on a high school baseball field for about two to three times a week during production. Olson won the American League Rookie of the Year award in 1989.

“I went into this not knowing what to expect at all, but she really put in the work.” Olson said via phone. “She is an athlete, so she gets frustrated when she’s not throwing well.

“Pitching is about duplication.”

Her ability to hit the zones while pitching has been huge.

“She’s amazing,” Olson said.

Bunbury’s baseball acumen is great and it shows that women may one day play the game among men. Personally, I believe that it may be sooner rather than later.

The show airs on FOX at this time:


TIME: 9 p.m. ET


CHANNEL: Fox (To find your local Fox affiliate, click here.)


CAST:
Kylie Bunbury – Ginny Baker
Mark-Paul Gosselaar – Mike Lawson
Ali Larter – Amelia Slater
Bob Balaban – Frank Reid
Dan Lauria – Al Luongo
Mark Consuelos – Oscar Arguella
Meagan Holder – Evelyn Sanders
Mo McRae – Blip Sanders
Tom Jo – Eliot

Women In Baseball (In Real Life)

Image result for melissa mayeux

Melissa Mayeux, a 17-year old shortstop from France, may be the first female Major League Baseball player. Interestingly enough, France isn’t known for its baseball and she is excelling enough that she has made a name for herself stateside.

MLB Director of International Game Development Mike McClellan has been watched her play for the past two years. He has called her “fearless” and a “legitimate shortstop who makes all the plays.”

While being part of France’s U-18 baseball team, she is also part of France’s national softball team. She is doubly talented!

Before her was pitcher Eri Yoshida, who in 2008, at 16 years old, became Japan’s first professional female baseball player to play in a men’s league. She signed a contract with a team in a new Japanese independent league. In April 2010, she signed a contract with the Chico Outlaws, becoming the first women to play pro baseball in two countries.

Earlier this year, outfielder Kelsie Whitmore, 17, and pitcher Stacy Piagno, 25, were signed to the Sonoma Stompers, a team in the independent Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs. Both women play for Team USA women’s baseball team.

Here is Whitmore when she joined the Stompers:

Piagno also is just happy to be a part of the game:

Stompers’ GM, Theo Fightmaster had this to say in a press release:

While many believe it’s only a matter of time before we see a woman playing in the MLB, I’ve learned over the past several months that there are many steps in between where we are and where we should be in terms of women in this sport. We hope this sends a message to the rest of the baseball world that there is room for women and girls in this game – from Little League to the Major Leagues.

It is important for little girls, boys and whoever else to see that the sky is the limit. These four amazing women are pioneers, no matter which way that anyone shakes it. Hopefully, I can see the day that a woman plays in the Majors and she dominates. I want to see that even more so for my mom, grandmother, sister and all women and girls who I’ve come across in life. GIRL POWER!

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