Great Moments in Sexism: Who’s your “Baseball Boyfriend?”

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Not everyone plays fantasy baseball. There are a lot of reasons for that. I don’t play because I have a short attention span and I kind of suck at it. Others don’t play because they don’t have the time. Still others because, shocker, they just don’t like it.

But a company called  A View From My Seat — “In cooperation with CBS Sports Interactive” according to their website — has decided that the reason women don’t play fantasy baseball is because there isn’t enough romance in it. So they’ve decided to change that. By allowing girls — and they specifically say “girls” — to choose their “Baseball Boyfriend”:

Baseball Boyfriend is a single draftee, fantasy baseball, mini game designed for those who love baseball players. Pick your first BBBF at the beginning of the 2012 Baseball Season. Every time your boyfriend plays, you accumulate points based on his stats for the day. If he can’t perform, dump him. Then pick up a new BBBF. The one with the most points at the end of the season wins.

The website asks “girls” to go through their “little black book” and pick the handsomest player. Oh, I’m sorry, it asks you to “choose your stud.”  How long have you kept a player on your roster? No: it’s “how long you’ve dated him.”  If “one man is not enough” it encourages you to play in multiple leagues. The pics from the site have little hearts and stuff around pictures of, um, handsome players like Lance Berkman and Matt Cain.

I think it’s enough of a criticism to say that this game is stupid, if for no other reason than, as of this writing, it spells the word “triples” with two ps.  But it’s far more execrable for its crass sexism.

Guess what: women like baseball. They watch a lot of it. They write about it. They are, increasingly, executives in the game. Every fantasy league I’ve ever played in has had women in it, and they invariably beat the crap out of me (not that that’s hard). Are the numbers where we’d like them? No, because ideally everyone on the planet is doing basebally things. But the disparity between male and female fans is not because baseball is too hard for “girls” to understand or two manly for them to enjoy.

I get what they’re trying to do here. They want to expand the number of people who click where they’d like them to click and are trying a unique approach to get there. But there are certainly better ways to do so than by misguidedly attempting to girly-fy fantasy baseball or to dumb it down. Women do not need to be treated like love-struck teenagers to be drawn in.

But A View From My Seat and CBS Sports — which is hosting the app on its fantasy site — have regrettably chosen to take that route. And in doing so, they have insulted the intelligence and dignity of just about everyone who has either of those things.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.