There’s a story up by Pat Borzi of espnW about the possibility of a woman making the major leagues. The most interesting passage in the whole piece, however, has little to do with the chances of that actually occurring on the merits but which is quite telling about it happening in reality. After reviewing the views of Justine Siegal,
Bill Mike Veeck and Dan Duquette, all of whom feel /felt that we will see a woman in the majors one day, Borzi notes:
It’s difficult to find anyone in MLB who agrees with Siegal, Veeck or Duquette. Of the nine MLB executives, scouts and players contacted by espnW, only three agreed to talk about the subject. None was willing to be quoted. One considered a woman playing in the majors unlikely, and the other two rejected it out of hand.
If people in front offices are so weirded out about the concept that they won’t even offer a speculative quote, how likely is it that anyone will go to the mat for a putative woman prospect if and when it comes time to consider advancing her in the system? Assuming someone would even go out on a limb to draft her? Bunch of cowards.
Anyway, this topic comes up every couple of years, and my take each time has remained more or less the same:
- I’d love to see it, because you know that ballplayers would say all kinds of stupid things if it happened, and ballplayers saying stupid things makes for great blogging;
- If we do see it, I agree with Duquette that it will most likely take the form of a knuckleballer with a deceptive motion like Eri Yoshida (though it should be noted that Yoshida didn’t fare well in Independent ball); but
- We probably won’t see it outside of the independent leagues any time soon, if ever, because baseball is a really damn conservative institution that, at least in this day and age, isn’t all that willing to take chances.
None of this, it should be noted, represents my opinion on whether a woman could be successful in professional baseball. I don’t know nearly enough about scouting and player development and physiology to say with any kind of certainty if a woman could do it.
On a purely biological level there is no getting around the fact that human beings exhibit at least some degree of sexual dimorphism. At the same time, there are outliers, as any guy who has been totally killed during a pickup basketball game against a backup point guard from their high school girl’s team can attest. Um, not that that happened to me. Repeatedly.
When I think about the subject, part of me looks at out-of-shape major leaguers and thinks “man, there HAS to be a dozen women who could do what that slob can do.” Then part of me looks at any given knuckleballer and thinks that, well, yeah, they still have to have a serviceable get-me-over pitch, and even most men can’t dial it up enough to get that done.
Maybe it happens someday. I hope it does because it would be an absolutely astounding achievement (and not just for dumb bloggy reasons as mentioned above).
But really, executives: you can’t even talk about it?
(thanks to Paperlions for the heads up)