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Is softball sexist?

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by YankeeFan, Jun 8, 2014.

  1. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Rebecca Clarke, for the New York Times opinion page:

    OVER the next three weeks, baseball players from around the country will compete in three regional tryouts for a chance to make it onto the United States baseball team. These are among the most elite, dedicated and talented athletes in their sport, and the best of them will go on to play against teams from Japan, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Venezuela and Taiwan in the World Cup tournament held in September in Miyazaki, Japan. But the team receives almost no attention, and many of its members weren’t even able to play their sport in high school. These baseball players are women.

    The conventional wisdom is that baseball is for boys and men, and softball is for girls and women. But women have been playing baseball since long before they had the right to vote. As the national pastime went professional, women were forced out of it — and into softball. Title IX, the 1972 federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education, also protects equal access to and funding of sports for boys and girls at the school level, and girls have been fighting to play baseball — with lawsuits, if necessary — since the 1970s. But equal access is often interpreted to mean not baseball, but softball.

    Both men and women swim, ski, snowboard and run marathons and sprints. Both play tennis and soccer and basketball. Softball, though, is a completely distinct sport, with different pitching — underhand — and different equipment, including a larger ball. It also has shorter distances from pitcher to home plate and between bases, fewer innings and a smaller outfield. Yes, Division I softball is demanding, far from the beery fun of middle-aged weekend leagues. But the women’s version of baseball is not softball. It’s baseball.

  2. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    It's a good question, I guess, how baseball stayed a men's game and softball became its women's equivalent.
    I do remember a lawsuit around here about 10 years ago where a girl won the right to try out for the baseball team.
    For the most part, it seems like the women's and girls games have different rules than the men's games across the board. Lacrosse is very different. There's no checking in women's ice hockey. Basketball has a smaller ball and, at least at the high school level, no 10-second call.
    Soccer is the only game I can think of out of all the mainstream sports where the rules are the same.
  3. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    All good points, though you could argue that the most significant difference is in baseball and softball.

    What about tennis? Aren't the rules the same there, too?

    If you want to get down to it, you could argue that having separate teams for men and women at all is sexist. Of course, nobody wants to go that route because it does not lead to a good place for female athletes.

    If you can find a good way to make the switch, I see no reason why there can't be women's baseball in place of softball.
  4. jr/shotglass

    jr/shotglass Well-Known Member

    This is the definition of knocking one's head against the wall, if only for the fact that softball will always be perceived as a "separate, but equal" alternative to baseball. And a NYT op/ed piece is not going to change that perception.
  5. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    Good point about tennis, though I was thinking more about team sports. Women's boxing also has two-minute rounds as opposed to three-minute rounds for men. Rugby has the same rules for both genders, though it's not as mainstream as the other sports in the U.S.
  6. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member

    No 10-second rule in college either.
  7. Jake_Taylor

    Jake_Taylor Well-Known Member

    Softball is probably closer to baseball than women's lacrosse is to lacrosse.
  8. Spartan Squad

    Spartan Squad Well-Known Member

    Golf is the same game except that women have shorter tees than men. A woman could play the man's game and probably will more often once a woman wins on the PGA Tour.

    As far as baseball, except that we pigeon hole girls into softball at an early age, there's really no reason a woman couldn't play in the majors. Softball is very similar except for the dimensions which changes the strategy. If we could finally get girls into little league for longer than T-ball one level above, then playing high school and college, I bet we could see women playing in the majors.
  9. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    Using this logic, can one say high school softball it tougher than baseball, since they play seven innings, like in college, but in many states, baseball is a seven-inning game vs. nine in college?
  10. 3_Octave_Fart

    3_Octave_Fart Well-Known Member

    Suck = what softball and golf have in common
  11. doctorquant

    doctorquant Well-Known Member

    Will not happen.
  12. heyabbott

    heyabbott Well-Known Member

    Is anyone stopping women from playing baseball in college? Tryout and make it.
    Once you decide to segregate sports and teams by gender that's where you get seperate and equitable, not equal.
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