Foul Ball

I’m sorry. I can’t help it. When I see an injustice, I just have to speak up. Below are slightly edited excerpts of an email sent to the president of King Philip Little League (KPLL).

I’m an assistant coach for the AA Durham Bulls and I noticed on the flyer for the Pitch, Hit & Run competition that girls aren’t allowed in the baseball division. Apparently, this isn’t a league rule but is coming from the event sponsor, Major League Baseball (MLB).
From MLB.com:
Do Boys and Girls compete separately?
Yes. Boys and girls will compete and advance separately throughout the competition. Girls will compete in a softball division and boys will compete in a baseball division.
Back to my email:
As a coach of three girls (and father of one of them), I intend to challenge this blatantly sexist rule — hopefully with the help of KPLL. No little league should support such unsportsmanlike conduct. If MLB was attempting to discriminate based on race, the event would have been shunned immediately. How gender-based discrimination has been allowed to go unchecked is beyond me.
I think KPLL should tell MLB and Little League Baseball that the rule be changed to allow all baseball and softball players to compete in their chosen sports, and until it is changed (I doubt either organization will listen right away), KPLL should openly defy the rule or refuse to participate altogether. Otherwise, expect my daughter to be in the baseball division of the competition next year.
I know the girls on the Bulls would more than hold their own in Pitch, Run & Hit and I bet the same is true across KPLL. But that’s not the point. The point is if we want our players to become good teammates and citizens, we need to be good role models ourselves. Thousands of girls play baseball across the country and it isn’t fair to deny any of them the chance to compete.
Let me know your thoughts and how KPLL plans to proceed.
Stay tuned for updates!
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4 Responses to “Foul Ball”

  1. John Kovach Says:

    Yes, this is still a very big issue! Why in the world would you ask a baseball player to throw a softball in a competition??? The grip, weight, etc is totally different. And, let’s also not fail to add the liability issue…I think an attorney would have a field day with this one if a baseball player got hurt throwing a softball (and I have seen it happen).
    Let MLB promote baseball and let pro softball promote its sport….they are different!!!

  2. bristolbullraker Says:

    Apparently KPLL is not affiliated with MLB’s PHR, though they do help promote it. As is often the case around the country, the local Parks & Rec Dept hosts the competition, presumably to become eligible for MLB grants: http://www.nrpa.org/Content.aspx?id=764

    It’s sad to see discriminatory practices allowed to continue simply because money is involved… Not all that different from the days of racially segregated baseball. Ironically, MLB promotes the movie “42” as if they are above all that now!

  3. Michael Byrnes Says:

    Kevin,

    Nice to know that “When I see an injustice, no matter how trivial, I just have to speak up.” Can we assume that in your next blog that you will address the injustice the IRS did to Marina Peterson by auditing three years of her tax returns following the 2009 July 4th parade. This would be a great one for you to take up. Clearly an injustice of some magnitude. Can not wait for your blog on this one.

  4. bristolbullraker Says:

    Thanks for the question, Mike. I decided to change the line you quoted. I didn’t mean to suggest that gender discrimination is a trivial issue, just that some forms it takes (e.g. girls being barred from baseball skills competitions) aren’t as high of a priority as others (e.g. women being denied employment and equal pay for equal work).

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