By Mark David Blum, Esq.
I got a letter the other day.
Actually, my daughter got a letter the other day but because it was addressed from the New York Yankees, I figured it had to be some kind of misaddress or mislabel. Given that last summer, we took a trip to the City and saw a Yankee game, I just figured it was junk mail. All day I stared at the envelope with morbid curiosity until the kid came home and opened the letter. Boy was I wrong.
At my age, there are some hard and fast rules that we have all come to live by and trust and depend upon to keep Order in our lives. When change comes, there is chaos; at times explosive. This letter was one of those letters that creates change and chaos and I am about to explode.
Anybody who knows me knows that I fully believe in equality of opportunity and that everybody should have a chance to achieve and succeed at their dreams. There should be no false walls or socially imposed restraints which inhibit the growth of individuals. But, at the same time, being an old man and set in my ways, I am not as easily persuaded to change my attitude on some subjects. On this one, I have no idea how I feel or how to react.
Apparently some idiot somewhere has come up with the idea that eventually women are going to be playing Major League Baseball. According to what I have learned, Major League Baseball is looking into the possibility of including women in the game. To further that aim, the teams have sent letters to various colleges and high schools explaining the program and asking coaches to submit names of their best female prospects so that scouts and coaches can have a look at them and see about moving them into some of the farm clubs. By putting females in with the guys in the minors, like the Syracuse Chiefs, Major League Baseball will be better able to evaluate and compare how and if females will compete with the men who play.
My daughter has been pitching in softball since before she could walk and has a 55 mph inside-at-the-knees fastball. Her goal from day one has been to use her softball skills as a means to a college scholarship. I always considered myself her #1 fan and until the last couple years, worked as her catcher every day as she trained and worked at her pitching. Now, she throws so hard that I won’t dare catch without a cup and a mask. I learned the hard way what happens when you miss.
So, this letter from the Yankees said, in sum and substance, that her name had been provided to the club and that they were going to be sending a representative out to talk to her and explain this program. They are going to watch her through her last years in High School and then if she is still in their sights, she will get an invitation to a try out. In the in between years, the Yankees (and presumably all the other teams) will be holding special training camps to help the girls transition from softball to the baseball style of play.
My daughter … playing for the Yankees? Can you imagine that? To me that means that retirement is coming quickly because she will be able to make more money in a single year that I could ever hope for. Yeah, I know; she is not yet there and I shouldn’t be making plans for retirement on something that has not yet happened. A man can dream, can’t he?
Personally, I have no idea how they are going to get away with this. I was not alive at the time Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and know nothing of how society reacted to this “new” transition. At least I will get the chance to tell my grandchildren about the first time a woman set foot on the field as a starter in a Major League game.
I sit here writing this while staring at my daughter and lack the courage to tell her that girls don’t play baseball. Like football and basketball, I am sure the ‘separate but equal’ policy in men and women would be enough. Baseball seems to feel that women are up to the role of playing in the Majors and thus is not going to build a separate league. Rather than speed or strength, Baseball is about agility, reaction, and the ability to spit huge chaw loogies while scratching your crotch. The physical differences between men and women are not apparent in baseball play, but dang it, women do not belong in baseball.
Should this ever come to fruition and women do indeed play in the Majors, it is going to be a very crazy time. When the media finds out about this, the talking heads on Fox will scream about tradition and family values and men and women sharing locker rooms. ESPN will surely do a twenty seven part special on how women’s bodies are not made for the sport. Senator John McCain will be there with a swab ready to pap smear them and make sure they are not using steroids or hormones. (I just flashed to what a woman baseball player would look like after five seasons of steroids, sunflower seeds, and testosterone – like my first wife, only without the beard).
Obviously we are all jumping for joy here and feel there is an amazing world about to open up for us. The chance that my daughter can achieve such a lofty and fantastic dream is itself beyond description.
As for me, I am about to explode. 48 years a loyal diehard Dodger fan and my daughter is being recruited by the Yankees?
In case you doubt my word, here is a link to a .pdf of the actual letter.