Social Question

keobooks's avatar

Why does softball still exist?

Asked by keobooks (14322points) June 17th, 2015

I was reading this article about the history of women in baseball. I was surprised to find out that women played baseball professionally until the early 50’s when they were officially banned from the sport. Even with title IX, women are still strongly discouraged to play baseball and “forced” to play softball instead.

In the past, women have been encouraged to play a “tamer” version of a man’s sport. Instead of basketball, women played “women’s basketball”, which is now more commonly known as “netball.” Netball is still fairly popular outside the US, but if women want to play basketball, they don’t play netball. They play basketball.

Why do women still play softball instead of baseball? Even if they had to play in a women’s league instead of mixed gender, I could understand. But why has softball stuck around when netball has practically disappeared as a strongly suggested substitute for basketball?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

83 Answers

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Simple mechanics:

• Most women cannot throw a guy out at home from center field.
• Most women would get hurt trying to block home plate against a 220lb man running at full steam.
• At best they would always get caught at the wall and would not be able to get the dinger over it for a homer.
• Most would get thrown out trying to steal bases.
• How many female pitchers do you know can throw a 98mph fastball? If they can’t, they will give up more runs than ants on a picnic hotdog.

A great baseball player in a woman’s league would be reduced to an average player or worse in MLB.

Apparently_Im_The_Grumpy_One's avatar

Why can’t men play in a woman’s softball league?

Men and women are different. I don’t see it as an inequality at all. Just a difference. What’s wrong with softball?

josie's avatar

The answer to your question is that it is easier to hit after you’ve had a beer or two.

If you are asking why women don’t play regulation baseball, I’m with @Hypocrisy_Central
It really would not be a game. It would merely be a demonstration of a need to change the rules and the dimensions of the field.

keobooks's avatar

I don’t think either of you have actually have read my question. I SPECIFICALLY said that I didn’t think segregated gender leagues were a problem.

Women baseball players don’t play women’s baseball, except in a few sporadic incidents. They play softball. Baseball and softball are two similar but different sports. Softball uses a larger, softer ball. Softball has a smaller diamond. Softball has less innings. Softball was originally invented to be a lighter, indoor, “easier” version of baseball.

Women played professional and amateur baseball from the late 1800’s, when the sport was first invented until the 1950s, when they were officially barred from it. Women were very grudgingly given softball as an alternative sport for very sexist reasons. Women needed a smaller diamond and less innings because a real baseball game was too physically strenuous for them. Men believed that women relied heavily on their facial beauty to get ahead in the world. Getting hit in the face with a baseball might disfigure them and take their looks. The softer ball wouldn’t be as damaging to the face. Some men even argued that women were at a higher risk to get breast cancer if they were hit in the chest with a baseball! Do you have any idea how absurd that is?

I’m not against the WNBA. I don’t think the NBA should have or need to have women in it. But women in the NBA don’t play netball, the traditional women’s alternative to basketball. They play basketball. They don’t play a kinder, gentler, more feminine version of basketball. They play the same basketball that men play, except they play with all women.

But when it comes to baseball, women have to play a kinder, gentler, more feminine version of it instead of the actual sport. In the 1800’s up to the 1950s, women were able to play it, although they usually were playing in the “colored” leagues or way out in the styx. They still played it. Here we are living in the modern feminist era, and women are playing a watered down version of baseball, when they played the “hard ball” version of it in the “sexist” past.

Oh and btw, @Apparently_Im_The_Grumpy_One —men DO play softball, casually. Usually offices make softball leagues instead of baseball leagues because softball is meant to be a casual sport for people who like to play, but don’t take things too seriously. It’s played as it’s meant to be—a lighter, easier version of baseball.

But there are more than a few women who are hardcore athletes who are able and willing to play baseball. Why can’t they play baseball?

stanleybmanly's avatar

The primary reason is almost certainly that Major League Baseball has no interest in diluting its enormous revenue stream. Women did indeed play kick-ass baseball during the Second world war, when all of the men were away fighting. But that sort of thing was quickly shut down at the close of the war.

keobooks's avatar

Oh and for those of you saying that adult women can’t “cut it” on a full sized regulation baseball field, then how do you explain that school boys can play in little league baseball, but girls play in softball leagues? How are little elementary school boys, who are nowhere near in the strength or stamina ability of any adult athlete—even a FEMALE adult athlete – somehow able to play the real version of baseball, but the little elementary school girls aren’t able to play it?

There are physical gender differences in adults, but in kids, they aren’t that strong. If its only about physical ability, why can boy CHILDREN play baseball at all? And how much more powerful is a second grade boy over a second grade girl. Seriously..

I can accept @stanley’s answer—grudgingly because it’s probably true. I still think that only 15 years ago or so, nobody thought there was a market for women’s basketball and the leagues were pointless. But while they are nowhere near as popular as the NBA, the WNBA has enough fans to be taken at least a little bit seriously.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I should better explain my answer. MLB of course has the resources to build and foster women’s baseball, but why should they? They already have a captive audience of women shelling out money who have never even considered your question. But believe me, the first woman that comes along who can accurately and consistently deliver a 90mph fastball will be scouted then signed.

stanleybmanly's avatar

And then again, there’s nothing wrong with softball.

keobooks's avatar

There’s nothing “wrong” with softball, persay, if you are talking about casual sports you play at a picnic. But why do hardcore female athletes have to play a sport meant to be casual even if they want to play a hardcore serious professional game?

Why does the most casual, least physically gifted young boy play little league baseball, but the most hardcore, competitive active young girl play softball? If it’s just about how “hard” it is, why don’t the less athletic kids play soft ball and the more athletic kids play baseball?

Also, why is baseball/softball so unique? That’s my real question. Women play regulation basketball. They don’t play netball instead. They play regulation golf. They don’t play mini golf instead.

When they are in just about every other sport I can think of, they play the same sport that men do. They may not has as impressive stats as men overall, but they still play the same sport. I’m sure you don’t see as many showy slam dunks in the WBNA, but they still play a good game. Female rock climbers don’t dyno anywhere near as well as a male climber, but they aren’t forced to climb a gentler, easier route than men. Overall, women sports aren’t going to have nearly as many of those OMG WOW! displays of brute strength, but they are still going to play a pretty damn good game.

So once again, it’s not just “why softball?”—it’s “why not netball?” It’s not just “Why don’t women play baseball?”—It’s “why DO they play basketball?”

Seriously, I ask this question. Why is baseball the only sport that shunts women off—not just into a separate league, but a whole separate sport? The other sports all seem to be open to everyone—why not baseball?

The closest equivalent I can think of is ringette, which was originally designed as a gentle, feminine version of hockey in the 1960s. Ringette is still popular with women in Canada and parts of Europe. But the women who play it specifically WANT to play ringette instead of hockey. When women want to play hockey, they can fairly easily find a women’s hockey league and play it. They don’t get forced to ignore hockey and only play ringette.

And hockey is way more violent, aggressive and rough than baseball. If women can play hockey instead of ringette, why can’t they play baseball instead of softball?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I always wondered that too. I loved baseball. After playing baseball, playing soft ball was like, a drag. The ball just wouldn’t go anywhere and it was heavy and unresponsive.

jonsblond's avatar

Wow. My daughter plays softball and there’s nothing casual about the sport at all. These sixth grade girls are strong athletes and I feel you are belittling their capabilities with your comments.

keobooks's avatar

@jonsblond eyeroll. Way to totally miss the point. clap clap clap.

jonsblond's avatar

Wow. Being snarky is so becoming

stanleybmanly's avatar

Maybe the future lies in the direction you hope. From what I understand there are lots of little league teams around now with persistent girls raising hell.

keobooks's avatar

@jonsblond My point is, that softball was SPECIFICALLY designed to be a softer gentler version of baseball. When it was invented in the mid 1800’s, it was never intended to be a sport exclusive to women. It was meant to be casual and created to be played indoors. That’s a fact.

From the late 1900s to the 1950s, women didn’t play softball instead of baseball. If they wanted to play baseball, they played baseball. They didn’t play softball instead of baseball. That’s a fact.

Softball was VERY GRUDGINGLY given to young women as an alternative to baseball around the 1970s. This was because the men who allowed it thought that it would be “easier” for girls to play softball instead of baseball. That’s a fact.

Every other sport I can possibly think of allows all people to play despite gender. Baseball/Softball is the ONLY sport I can think of that segregates the two sports. That’s a fact.

There are thousands of women across America, that for whatever reason DO NOT WANT to play softball. They want to play baseball. But because of the strong gender segregation this is very rarely—almost never—an option for them. That’s a fact.

I’m asking why is it in this day and age is baseball segregated against women when almost no other sport played in most of the world is? Why isn’t your daughter playing baseball instead of softball? Why doesn’t she have that choice? It’s not likely that she chose to play it because she preferred it over baseball (as ringette players prefer it to hockey) If she really wanted to play baseball, chances are that she couldn’t.

@jonsblond , if all you can get out of this is that somehow I don’t appreciate female athletes who play softball, THEN YOU TOTALLY MISSED THE ENTIRE POINT. Like…. you missed it so badly my brain wants to explode in disbelief.

The fact that I am totally confused that women are shunted away from a sport and forced to play a different one in NO FREAKING WAY implies that I belittle women athletes. SHEESH.

I’m just asking why the whole damned sport is gender segregated and women aren’t allowed to play it even if they want to. Why do they have to play a sport that was designed to be a lighter and more casual version of baseball?

There’s nothing wrong with women who play softball. Get a grip.

Zaku's avatar

Perhaps the (non-)answers you have gotten so far are demonstrating some of the reasons why. It seems like some people can’t even hear the question, and turn it into some other question.

My intuition suggests that perhaps a lot of the reason is mushy (the male-heavy sports industry and culture aren’t thinking about it, and tend to think no even at the part of the question they can hear, for various thick entrenched thought patterns). And that swirl of non-thinking probably extends to the thoughts of men and women in the culture in general, adding up to few people thinking about it and saying they want a women’s hardball league.

I’d say it could happen if enough people got interested and started talking about it and/or playing. Women’s basketball and men’s soccer suddenly became popular in Seattle after the Sounders (NBA team) whined, pouted and left town after not getting their own new public-stadium.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think they thought we couldn’t handle the speed of a baseball. Men have always patted our heads like that.

jonsblond's avatar

get a grip? lol. I’m not the one writing lengthy paragraphs and YELLING

keobooks's avatar

I wrote in all caps because you failed to understand anything I wrote and I was extremely frustrated. I suppose that is a “lol” as you say.

You somehow managed to take a question I took about why the sport was segregated as a personal insult against your own daughter. Uhhh…. “rofl” ... or something I guess.

I still don’t have any clue if you understand what I am talking about or if you’re still huffy and thinking I’m some kind of sexist pig insulting your daughter. Hmmm… perhaps a “omgwtfbbq” would be appropriate.

jonsblond's avatar

Um, I was never huffy. Get over yourself. I understood your question. I simply made an observation, one that I still believe to be true even after your diatribe. Why does softball still exist? It appears to me that you are belittling the sport. This question is in social and I expressed an opinion. That is all. Now go bang your head on a desk or something. You need some anger management.

josie's avatar

I’m lost.

Is this just another political discussion about women, or about softball.

keobooks's avatar

So, If I say that it’s a good thing that the Negro League no longer exists, this might mean that I was belittling the League itself and the players who played in it? If the Negro League still existed and I said I didn’t think that was right, would I be belittling the players who were playing in the League because that was their only option?

People don’t play softball because they genuinely prefer it over baseball. I seriously doubt that most girls and women would choose to play softball over baseball if they were allowed to have the choice. But they aren’t allowed to have that choice, so they settle for softball.

Sorry. I can’t make that any sweeter or nicer. Maybe it’s a good substitute for baseball. Maybe it’s almost as spectacularly awesome as baseball. Maybe it’s even better. But it’s not baseball. And if you’re a woman, you’re not allowed to decide which one you get to play.

Look. I’d never say that ringette wasn’t as good as hockey. I wouldn’t say that women who chose to play ringette were not as good athletes as those who chose to play hockey instead. The point is, Women who want to play ringette play ringette. Women who want to play hockey play hockey. BUT women who want to play baseball play softball. They don’t get to play baseball.

This IS a political discussion about women, @josie . Softball—awesome sport, and all. But it’s like the Negro League (but kinda worse, since at least they played the same sport in the Negro league) When the Negro League existed, black ballplayers didn’t get a choice as to whether they were going to play in it instead of the National League. Right now, in this century, women are segregated into softball and not allowed to play baseball whether they want to or not. No matter how cool softball is, it’s not the same sport. Women don’t get to choose which sport to play. In order to play a ball game, they have to play softball whether they personally like it or not.

And sorry to also say this, but I am fairly certain that softball wouldn’t end up like ringette. I think if baseball were opened up to both genders, softball would be maybe slightly more popular than netball vs basketball in the US.

josie's avatar

In that case, I am going with the anger management advice.

keobooks's avatar

Sorry I got all uppity. I forgot my place. Softball is so awesome. I should feel sorry for the men who aren’t allowed to play it and get forced to play baseball instead. Poor guys.

Is there some way to talk about why the two sports are separated by gender WITHOUT it being a women’s issue? Please tell me exactly how to phrase the question into something gender neutral and nonthreatening. I don’t see how. The sports are gender segregated. That’s kind of a no-brainer that a question about why they are segregated by gender when other sports aren’t is going to be a women’s issue.

But I guess by phrasing it as a women’s issue means that I am an angry feminazi or something. Why can’t I just sit down and be happy with what I’m allowed to have? Desegregating baseball is just too much for a poor woman like me to ask for.

JLeslie's avatar

I can’t think of one good reason. Maybe men and women both should just play softball. Isn’t it safer?

If you have never seen the movie A League of Their Own about a woman’s baseball league in the 40’s I recommend it.

jonsblond's avatar

You obviously don’t know or understand the sport it is today. My daughter’s jaw just dropped after I read your comments to her @keobooks

I can’t wait to share this with her team and coaches. Her father happens to be one of them. It’ll be a laugh.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Actually, for men, and for co-ed, most organized ball games, like if their office organizes a team, are played with a soft ball, not a baseball.

dabbler's avatar

Men play softball.
Softball seems to be acceptable for mixed gender games for all the right reasons of safety and relative simplicity.And beer.

keobooks's avatar

@jonsblond —No. I don’t know it at all. I don’t get why there is ONE game EVERYONE plays when they want to play basketball. There is ONE game EVERYONE plays when they want to play hockey. There is ONE game EVERYONE plays when they play every other sport, but there are TWO separate sports when someone wants to play baseball/softball, and it’s determined by your gender which game you play. (Yes, I mentioned earlier that office teams are almost always softball. Reading the history of softball, it makes sense.)

It wasn’t always this way. From the 1830s to the 1950’s, women didn’t play softball the way they do now. They played baseball instead. If your daughter’s jaw is dropping in shock now. Sorry. That’s exactly factually the way it is.

It wasn’t until 1973 that softball was offered up as a compromise between people who wanted their daughters to play little league baseball with the boys and people who didn’t want girls playing baseball at all. If your daughter is totally shocked and offended by this, I have no idea what to say.

This is an EXACT quote from the article I initially posted about why girls weren’t allowed to play baseball.

“Officials claimed that baseball was “a contact sport”; that boys would quit if girls were allowed; that girls’ bones were weaker than boys’; that facial injuries could ruin a girl’s looks and therefore prospects in life; and, most outlandishly, that girls struck in the chest by a ball might later develop breast cancer. One Little League vice president expressed his concern that coaches would not be able to “pat girls on the rear end the way they naturally do to boys.”

Sorry that’s so shocking and offensive to your daughter. But from 1830’s (Go Bloomer Girls!) until 1952, women played baseball. In 1952, women were barred from playing baseball and weren’t allowed to play at all. In 1972, softball was offered up as a substitute for girls who wanted to play baseball. It was offered up because it was considered a kinder, gentler, more feminine version of baseball. Up until today, women are almost never allowed to play baseball instead of softball if they wish to do so.

I don’t see how to offer up these historic facts in any way that would please you or your daughter. I’m sorry it’s so shocking and offensive, but it’s true.

I just find it odd that it’s this way with baseball and not this way with other sports. Baseball has a very long history of women playing it. Women playing softball instead of baseball is a very recent change in the game.

Compare it to basketball. It was invented in 1891. As early as 1892, there were already separate rules for men and women. In 1895, the official rules for women’s basketball were solidified. Women weren’t allowed to dribble or guard players. Between 1895–1973, the rules changed very gradually play more like “basketball” instead of “women’s basketball.” In 1973, (a year after women were starting to play softball instead of baseball) women no longer played basketball from a separate rule book.

See, I think that’s odd. At the same time men’s and women’s basketball turned into the gender neutral game of basketball, the gender neutral game of baseball turned into baseball and softball.

Am I the only one who thinks that is totally bizzaro and maybe just a little bit wrong?

dabbler's avatar

Nah, not bizzaro, you bring up a totally valid issue.

I think I might have made the question rather “Why don’t women play pro baseball?” instead of “Why do women play softball?”
I can think of all kinds of reasons women would play softball, and why not?
I can’t think of any good reason why women don’t play baseball.

jonsblond's avatar


Lol. The jaw drop was about your ignorance of the sport and the people who enjoy playing, nothing more. We are laughing, not white knuckling our keyboard like you.

jonsblond's avatar

My husband’s quote when I shared your assumptions with my fb friends: “I’ll guarantee you all there are more adult male softball leagues than female. Softball is just plain fun to play. ”

Softball and baseball are two very similar games but they are not the same game. Softball exists because men and women and children enjoy the sport.

keobooks's avatar

I’ll make is short so even you can read and understand.

History of women in baseball
1830 – 1952 – baseball invented. girls play baseball

1952— women not allowed to play baseball anymore.

1953 – 1972 women try to get to play baseball. Men say no way. Baseball is too hard

1972 – men say ok. Woman can play softball instead of baseball. Softball easy enough for women to play.

1972-today woman still play softball instead of baseball. If they want to play baseball, everyone says no.

The End.

History of basketball:

1891 – basketball invented. Only men play basketball. Basketball is too hard for women to play.

1892 – women’s basketball invented. Women’s basketball is easier to play so it’s ok.

1892 – 1973 women’s basketball gradually changes rules. Women’s basketball gets harder.

1973 women stop playing women’s basketball. Start to play just plain old basketball.

1973 – today. Women still play regular old basketball. Almost nobody plays netball, a game similar to the original women’s basketball.


Whaaaaa?!?!? I don’t get it.

I don’t know how to make that simpler for you. Fluther doesn’t allow pictures to be embedded into the message.


jonsblond's avatar

Such hostility. anger management for you asap

keobooks's avatar

Yes, but did you understand it? I could make one more attempt at making it simpler, but it won’t be easy and take a while to put together.

jonsblond's avatar

Wow. You are somethin’ else wise one.

dabbler's avatar

The women of basketball had more balls than the women of baseball and made the change happen?

keobooks's avatar

@jonsblond I sure am. AND your husbands comments about softball totally crack me up. Thanks for sharing.

jonsblond's avatar

Softball and baseball are two very similar games but they are not the same game. Softball exists because men and women and children enjoy the sport.

There’s your answer.

keobooks's avatar

Yeah exactly! Softball was invented in the 1880s as an alternative to baseball that everyone could enjoy. It was meant to be played indoors and was easier than baseball Baseball was reserved for the more serious athletes, both male and female until 1952. Softball wasn’t played seriously by women until 1973, and that was because they weren’t allowed to play baseball.

So yeah, rock on softball! It’s fun for everyone! Men, women and even children can play it for a super fun time

And if women want to play baseball because they prefer the way the ball plays instead, no problem! They can just sign up with their local women’s baseball league and…umm…oh yeah. Never mind.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

1973 women stop playing women’s basketball. Start to play just plain old basketball.
Those women that play in the traditional man-sized basketball court, rim height and all, how many do you ever see dunk the ball?

If women played baseball on the traditional man-sized diamond here is what you would get:
• Beer sales would go through the room because the audience was bored.
• Unless they had a team that could run the 100m in around 7 seconds, no bases would get stolen successfully.
• Even if the player was on 3rd, the chances of making it home on a sacrifice fly would be 20%, chances the fly would not go deep enough to beat the throw, and the player too small to get the catcher off the bag.
• You might see one dinger in around every 12 games; homers would be about as extinct as the T-Rex.
• The pitchers would have to have one heck of an arsenal of sliders, change ups, and curve balls because if they can’t get the pitch speed over 65 mph the batters will be swatting more balls than the slave was getting swatted by her dom in a B&D festival.

Strauss's avatar

@keobooks I remember men’s and mixed softball leagues in the Chicago area during the mid-sixties. There were these little private “athletic clubs”, and members would pay monthly dues. The dues would go toward softball equipment, grounds maintenance, and of course, the club’s liquor license.

keobooks's avatar

@Yetanotheruser —interesting. I didn’t know that.

@Hypocrisy_Central – umm, so your point is that women should play softball instead of baseball because they can’t really play it right? And I’m the one getting called out for belittling female players?

jonsblond's avatar

There you go again belittling the people who enjoy the sport.

Quit putting the game down. I understand your beef, but you are barking up the wrong tree. Women and girls are out there making changes and playing games they once weren’t allowed to. Girls are playing baseball now. Maybe in small numbers, but the change is happening.

This summer my daughter will be the first female in our town to ever play JFL. That’s the junior football league. Quit bitching and focus your attention where it needs to be. Raise a daughter who is willing to make the changes for all other girls (like my daughter.) instead of ranting on the Internets

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@keobooks […umm, so your point is that women should play softball instead of baseball because they can’t really play it right?
Wrong, they will be playing the game correctly but the mechanics of it they would not be playing it in the manner the men would. I came put a Yukon Denali in the Grand Prix at Monaco and it can race, but it won’t do it as well as a fine tuned Formula One ride. If you put women on a regular sized diamond, if they still have to use as much force as a man to swat the ball into the stands, and it is hard enough for many men to do it, can the women match the men in brute strength to do that?

keobooks's avatar

Just running some numbers for you. Every year, a little under 500,000 boys play in high school baseball. At the same time, less than 1300 girls play it. Some of these girls are the only ones in their entire State who play. That’s not really too balanced, if you ask me.

As for your daughter, great, sorry I didn’t cheer her on at the start of the thread and all, but considering that you never mentioned it, I’m not psychic, and this thread isn’t even about football, I think you can cut me a little slack.

Great to know about the football thing though. I remember when girls were only allowed to play flag football. Great to see yet another sport going gender neutral. Considering that it’s MUCH more physical and violent than baseball, it kind of surprises me that it seems football is able to change with the times much faster than baseball seems to be.

So now I can check football off as one of the sports that women play by the same rules as men. Good to know.

@hypocracy—yeah, cause that’s exactly what it’s all about. Why do people even bother watching women’s sports anyway? Yawn.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But it’s their choice. I mean, you can’t make a girl want to play baseball, or any other sport. I would have played baseball if it had been offered when I was in HS.

keobooks's avatar

Duchess, according to what I’m reading it’s NOT by choice. Girl are very strongly discouraged against playing baseball after middle school. Even though according to title IX, girls are required to have access to the exact same sports options available to them, the vast majority of schools are not providing it and claim that softball is a fair enough trade off.. Many young women disagree and want to play baseball instead. Many girls have said even though they are legally allowed to play on the boys’ teams, they quit because they spent more time trying to justify their position on the team to others than actually playing their position.

It’s just accepted that softball is “separate but equal.” But it’s not. Other sports don’t play this way. Why should baseball be different?

@jonsblond—about your link, tl;dr. Zzzzzz. That and my sheer force of rage and anger made it too hard for me to focus. I gotta get that checked out sometime. I’m going to go bend some steel with my bare hands right now. Too. Much. Rage.

jonsblond's avatar

This thread is also not about basketball but you keep bringing it up. All you want to do is bitch and argue and not read what anyone else has to say. Have fun with that. I’m out

Darth_Algar's avatar

Attention Please!

Please Carefully Note the Following…

TC did not ask why women can’t play in Major League Baseball. TC did not ask why girls would want to play softball. TC did not belittle girls who do play softball. TC did not assume that guys don’t play softball. TC merely asked why aren’t there (more) opportunities for girls/women to play baseball should they wish to play baseball rather than softball.

It is a simple question, not difficult to understand. And if you feel the asking belittles softball players then perhaps you, not TC, may have the anger issues.

Brian1946's avatar

Does TC=OP?

jonsblond's avatar

So yeah, rock on softball! It’s fun for everyone! Men, women and even children can play it for a super fun time

Yeah, that’s not sarcasm that was meant to belittle the sport and those who enjoy it.

I think it is clear who needs the anger management. I don’t need to defend myself here.

There are opportunities for women to play, but the OP is too angry to read my link that states so. She just wants to rant. Girls need to make it happen and that doesn’t begin by spending the day ranting on Fluther.

rock on

jonsblond's avatar

psst, @Darth_Algar. I believe I was the only person who actually answered the question with this response: Softball exists because men and women and children enjoy the sport.

keobooks's avatar

I don’t understand why you think I’m such a terrible person for not getting this. Maybe you are younger than me. Maybe you grew up in some sort of utopian place where title IX and other laws written to end discrimination against women never needed to be written because everything was a-ok on your end.

I was raised in the early 70s. Very shortly after all this stuff had just happened. When I was growing up, I had some things strongly drilled into my head from my mother, my American grandmother, my friends’ mothers, my female teachers, and probably just about every woman around me growing up.

Here it goes, in a nutshell. In life, there will be many opportunities that will come up. Some will be jobs. Some will be formal education, and some will be leisure. What’s very important to remember is that almost all of these opportunities will fall into two groups. Column A choices are traditionally chosen by men. Column B choices are traditionally chosen by women. In the big scheme of things, both can be good fulfilling choices. But you MUST remember and always be aware of these things.

1. Until very recently, men have been allowed to pick from either column. Women were legally banned from column A until just a few years ago.

2. In jobs, column A jobs will offer a lot more money. Column A jobs will hold authority over column B.

3. In education, column A opportunities will be considered more rigorous and ‘harder’ than column B opportunities.

3. In leisure—especially sports—Column B choices were treated as a more casual and easier alternative to column A choices. They were invented to protect women from getting hurt or over-exerting themselves.

While it’s perfectly fine to aspire to column B, it’s vital to remember at all times that both columns should always be available to everyone. If you discover a situation where you’re forced or very strongly encouraged to only choose column B, there is something very wrong and you should stop and seriously investigate why things are set up this way.

So I was looking into opportunities for my daughter. When I looked at baseball, I saw the old column A-B situation I was warned about. It was very surprising because for most of my life, the A-B segregation was very subtle. This was not subtle at all.

So like a good little 1970s girl raised on Free to Be You and Me, I did exactly what I was told to do. I looked it up and learned why the two columns existed in the first place. And I found exactly what I was told I’d find.

At some point in history, women had baseball taken away from them and were given softball to replace it. They were given softball because it was a watered down, casual version of baseball. Men pick from both columns. If they are looking for a casual fun game that everyone can enjoy on a weekend, they choose softball. But if they want to be serious and go to a more professional level, they choose baseball. No matter how athletic or serious a woman is, they take softball. Unless they want to work incredibly hard and fight a ton of sexism and mostly be the only woman on their team, their local league AND the State—all the while constantly trying to prove that they should be allowed to be in that position.

Sorry, but it’s like living in this century and this decade and understanding that this column A/B stuff is mostly obsolete, or if it does exist, it’s subtle and not always easy to spot. But look for a local girls baseball team for your kid and SURPRISE… It’s the 1970s!

I know you won’t bother reading this. You’ll just make some off the wall comment about my rage and suggest anger management classes yet again. I get it. Nothing says anger and rage more than quoting historical facts and statistics. It can get really scary and offensive.

I am so glad your daughter enjoys her softball. It’s very good that she enjoys what she’s allowed to do. It’s awesome that you and she can sit back and be shocked and confused about why some people might think this is an issue. I hope she enjoys playing all of the other sports she plays. You know, the ones that use the same rules and are the same games that the boys play.

But what can we do? It’s not like it’s the 1830s or anything—back in the days where women played baseball instead of a more casual, less strenuous sport that’s fun for men, women and even children!

Dutchess_III's avatar

@keobooks I get the “strongly discouraged” thing. We were strongly discouraged from doing a LOT of things in MS and High School.

Darth_Algar's avatar


You are seriously reading into @keobooks comments what you want to read, while ignoring what she’s actually saying. And yet you claim that she’s the angry one? If you could, perhaps, step back from your impassioned knee-jerk defense of your daughter’s sport then you might be able to take an objective look at @keobooks posts and realize that she’s not at all saying what you think she is.

JLeslie's avatar

I really don’t see the problem with the OP asking about what happened to the sport of baseball for women. I don’t understand any anger towards her.

jonsblond's avatar

Girls and women need to make the changes they want. That’s my point about my daughter.

@JLeslie Go back and read how hostile she’s being towards me and the assumptions she made. I’m not angry, she’s trippin’.

jonsblond's avatar

And I did answer the question. Softball is still around because people enjoy it, and more and more women are now playing baseball. It’s that simple. and I know, so angry of me to say so~

jonsblond's avatar

Here, I’ll share the link again. Women are making the changes that @keobooks is looking for.

Did you know that the USA Baseball women’s national team existed? Did you do that research? Or just pull up ancient facts? Be the change you want. Make a chance for your daughter to play games women couldn’t play before. It works better than ranting on facebook and fluther.

keobooks's avatar

I think the league you speak of rings a bell. It was mentioned in the article I quoted several times. Hooray. It exists. Too bad the league is so tiny that there are almost no local teams to join and almost no one for those teams to play against.

And hooray. Girls are making their way into baseball, lagging only 40 or so years behind all the other sports. Hooray that for every 500 high school boys who play there is 1 girl who plays too! Sorry for noticing the anomaly, pointing it out, and trying to have a discussion about it.

Somehow this discussion became a personal insult to your daughter. Every fact and statistic I listed was brushed off as mere rage and aggression. You had the audacity to tell me just to focus on all the other things out there that are equal and ignore the one thing that isn’t. That way. My entire question was why is this one sport different from all of the others? Why is this some kind of shameful taboo I shouldn’t even dare think about, let alone ‘rant about’ as you say.

I get it. Don’t ask questions. Don’t be curious. Just be happy with the way things are, try to make a difference or just shut your yap. Don’t rock the boat. It just hurts people’s feelings.

And thanks for dragging my Facebook wall, a private page open to invite only, out into public! Why don’t you just cut the pretense and start calling me by my real first name and post a few pictures of my daughter while you’re at it. You know, because it’s totally cool to drag stuff out of Facebook into here. That’s like, totally NOT a total douchebag thing to do.

jonsblond's avatar

You aren’t reading a word I’ve said. You just keep ranting. Women are making changes! It’s not going to happen over night. Get a grip.

Did I mention your name? People who rant and never do anything about what they are bitching about annoy me. You aren’t the only person on Facebook or Fluther to do so. I mentioned a social media site people use to rant. That’s all.

jonsblond's avatar

I’ll share this. It’s a message I sent to JLeslie. Keobooks totally flipped out on me. I stated an opinion and she came at me with snark and rudeness and you are Darth are calling me out? I didn’t take anything personal, I just felt she was belittling a sport so I said so. She went on to insult my intelligence.

Calm down and go back and read how you started with the snark and insults Keobooks. I was never upset. Still not. I just stated an opinion.

Darth_Algar's avatar


She stated that you missed the point. You did. I kinda got the feeling from your first post in here that you did not even bother to read a single work @keobooks posted beyond the thread title, which you took as an insult to your precious little snowflake*. No where in this thread has she “totally flipped out” on you. Nowhere was she belittled your kid or the sport your kid plays. But you keep going on and on about @keobooks ranting (she’s not), about how angry she is (she doesn’t come across as angry), telling her to “get a grip”, “calm down”, etc (follow your own advice perhaps). Yeah, you kinda come across as upset. Much more so than @keobooks.

(*Yes, “precious little snowflake” is snark, and at this point I feel it’s beyond warranted.)

jonsblond's avatar

She told ME to get a grip. Get over yourself and quit fucking insulting me.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Yeah, you’re not upset at all. Not at all.

canidmajor's avatar

I’m so confused

keobooks's avatar

OK I’m going to go at this a different angle.

Here’s the story of your average male high school baseball player:

Bob wanted to be on the varsity team. So he signed up and waited for tryouts. He didn’t totally suck, but he wasn’t the greatest. He made the JV team that year, but was pretty confident that he’d make varsity the next. Because he was an upperclassman, he did. He wasn’t so great, and wasn’t really memorable except for the fact that he was one of the guys and part of the team. When he graduated, he thought briefly about playing for the college team, but decided he was probably only good enough for intramurals.

Now here’s the story of your average female high school baseball player:

Because her parents worked hard and scoured the city to find a coed little league baseball team, Mary had been playing baseball since she was 4 years old. She was amazingly gifted and one of the best players that had ever been on that team—boy or girl. She practiced for hours a day to be the absolute best she could be. She didn’t want to play softball. It was always baseball.

Long before the tryout dates were even anounced, Mary went around to the locker room and asked the head coach permission to try out for the baseball team. The coach said no, and that she should go out for the softball team instead. When she told her parents this, they went to the principal and asked him to over rule the coach’s decision and let their daughter try out for the team. The principal said no, softball was good enough. So her parents took it to the district school board and asked them to over ride the principal’s decision and let their daughter try out for the team. They spent a long time arguing it over, but eventually decided no—softball was good enough. So the family lawyered up and threatened to sue the school to allow their daughter to try out. After the school lawyers argued back and forth about what Title IX was exactly intended for and what could possibly happen if the case went to court, the school backed down and allowed Mary to try out for the team. By this time, the season had ended and she had to wait for next year. Mary and her family headlines in the local section of the news for being the first girl ever allowed to tryout for baseball at her high school.

Before Mary tries out, she is told that if she does not absolutely do a stellar job, she will not make the team. She’s reminded several times that she will have to do especially well because she will be playing with the boys and she’ll be the only girl on the team. Her parents remind her that this is a really amazing thing she’s trying to do and they are so proud of her.

She makes the team—JV, but that’s not bad, considering that she’s physically smaller than most of the boys and wasn’t really expected to pull her weight. But, she was after all, one of the best players in the entire citywide coed junior league. She was frequently told that she was one of the best players they had ever seen in several years—girl or boy.

When she’s on the team, she’s not totally accepted by her team mates at first. There’s this big hassle every time they go to an away game because she needs to go change in a restroom stall instead of the locker room with everyone else. But after the guys see that she’s an amazingly good player for a girl, they soon accept her. Whenever players on other teams make fun of her, the boys stand by her side in solidarity.By senior year, she made varsity. All the seniors do, so it was no big thing, right?

Anyway all senior year, Mary is doing research trying to find a college that may allow her to try out for baseball team. Even though she’s really good, the scholorships aren’t coming. She’s got to think really hard about this. Does she want to continue playing baseball in college and possibly start this whole legal battle again to be allowed to play? Or should she just give up and go for softball?

Tl:dr—Average schlubby boy player makes the team without even thinking about it. Amazing once in a lifetime girl player makes the team after a lot of hard work from her and her parents.

I know you can say its no big thing. Softball is different, but it’s just as good. But to an outsider to sports, one wonders. If it’s no big deal, why are the schools spending all the big money on baseball instead of softball? Why are all the boys signing up for baseball instead of softball? Why are most of the good scholarships for baseball instead of softball?

Why can the average boy get on the team no problem, but the girl has to be one of the best and most dedicated to prove that she deserves her place?

canidmajor's avatar

So this whole thing is basically about gender inequity in sports? Are we surprised?

Dutchess_III's avatar

But you would think we would start correcting it at this point in our human development. If a girl CAN throw a ball in from center field, and she can make all the other cuts, she should be allowed to play.

JLeslie's avatar

@jonsblond I wasn’t defending the OP’s rant, she herself says she was raging and apologized for the rant. I was only confused how the whole thread got so volatile. The original question seemed pretty straight forward to me. I don’t think the OP was saying softball shouldn’t exist or isn’t a worthwhile sport, but it seemed like you took it that way and felt in the defense for your daughter and the sport. I think you made some very good points about the sport and I learned a lot on this Q about it.

I didn’t read every word of everything on this thread. Some people pointed out field size and softball being more appropriate for women. I personally have no problem acknowledging women are smaller in stature and not as strong as men on average, but it seems like they could have a girl field and still use a baseball and baseball bat if the field size truly is a problem. I have my doubts about the field size being an issue since women played in history.

Anyway, I think probably the main reason girl baseball isn’t very popular is because no one is really pushing for it and the money isn’t there for professional teams to get the marketing and advertising to increase popularity.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I can tell you I can hit and throw a baseball a LOT further than a softball.

keobooks's avatar

Yes th OP here in question admitted ONCE for getting frustrated for losing my temper when you accused me of insulting your daughter and completely missed my entire point. I did NOT apologize for my “rage” you kept pointing out over and over whenever I posted pretty bland stuff. For a good big chunk of the conversation, it went like this. ONCE I gave you a totally snarky comment with nothing else to add to the discussion. ONCE

Me: post about my opinion.
You: lol rage. Calm down
Me: post some boring historic facts
You: anger management issues? Hello?
Me: post some boring statistics.
You: OMG Why all the rage?
Me: reworded explanation trying to make you understand.
You: rage rage rage. Y u post this on Facebook too?

Finally, after a bajillionty posts, I manage to finally post something that seems to get you to understand my point. Instead of inane “lol rage wtf omg” you actually seem to get the idea of what I’m talking about and amazingly enough, for the first time, you post something that might be somewhat level headed and well thought out.

I’m sorry though, after going back and forth with you missing and ignoring almost everything I have to say, I’m over it. After trying hard to reword and rephrase over and over, the fact that you finally listened for once seems a hollow victory.

So you finally got it and made a coherent post that could have been the start of an interesting discussion. I would have been pretty stoked 20 or so posts earlier, but now I’m all but totally fed up.

Feel free to insert a few “lol” and “rage” comments below. I just don’t care any more. If I have to go through all these acrobatics to get you to at least have an inkling of where I’m coming from, then it’s not worth it.

Go have fun with your awesome softball. My family generally fails at sports. My daughter is only average in her athletic ability and is nowhere near the 1 out of 500 elite. I just don’t like the idea that because she’s not an amazingly gifted athlete, she won’t get the opportunity to play a certain sport that she’d easily be able to play if she were a just slightly above average boy. What else is out there in the world for her? How many times is she going to discover that she will have to work 5 (or 500) times harder than the boys to get the same thing?

Sorry. I’ll just ignore it. I’ll let your super sport hero daughter do all that work. Thanks to her, maybe my granddaughters or great granddaughters will be allowed to be as average as the boys one day.

canidmajor's avatar

@keobooks: @jonsblond disabled her account a while ago. Just sayin’

keobooks's avatar

Ahhh. I didn’t know that. Heh. Ahh well. Off to spread some more rage.

JLeslie's avatar

^^@keobooks My apologies to you if I confused who said what.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Disabled her account over this? Really?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@jonsblond disabled her account a while ago. Just sayin’
Another good jelly ran off by all the love and enlightenment.

canidmajor's avatar

@Darth_Algar : “Disabled her account over this? Really?”

It’s an effective way to keep oneself from continuing to respond when caught up in an argument. @jonsblond comes and goes fairly regularly. It makes sense to do this to avoid temptation.

keobooks's avatar

Seriously genuinely curious. I still have many questions about this. I don’t really have answers that really answer my question.

I appreciate the effort some people went to in describing all of the things women couldn’t physically do as well as men in the sport. But I’m sure women have the exact same physical limitations when they play basketball, golf, football and every other sport that women play. But in all of those sports, women still play the same game with the same rulebook as men. Baseball/softball is unique, and I still don’t understand why.

I helped bring the thread off topic. I admit that.

First of all, I asked the wrong question. I didn’t realize that the question I wanted answered was not the one I asked. I didn’t realize this until much later in the thread.

Second of all, I had no intention of getting all ‘I am Woman, hear me roar’. on this. I never had any intention of having my daughter play baseball instead of softball. After reading this, if I had a son, I’d probably want him playing softball instead of baseball. My family is pretty non-athletic. My hypothetical son would likely be as (non)adept at sports as either of his parents. I live across the street from a Little League baseball field. I hear all the psycho parents screaming and yelling and being over competitive about the games. My guess is that if by chance there was a boys or coed softball team in my area, it would be a much less hostile environment.

My ONLY question was this. I saw 100 things in a row. 99 were the same. 1 stood out as different. I wanted to know why the 1 was different from all the others. I still don’t know. It still makes no sense. The best answers in this thread only made me wonder why the other sports weren’t segregated by gender as well. Reality isn’t set up this way, however. I want to know why things are the way they are. Because, however cool softball is and all bla bla bla, it IS an anomaly sport. It IS unique that girls play it instead of baseball 99% of the time.

Anyway, so is this thread trashed? Can I still ask for help understanding this here? Or should I wait a month or two and ask a slightly differently worded question? I wasn’t asking this to troll. I wasn’t even asking to start a discussion about sports and gender. I seriously want to know why baseball and softball have such a unique relationship, when no other sports in the U.S. do.

Also, just one more gripe to the person I feel hijacked my thread and turned it into the joke it is now. I don’t care if she’s gone. This needs to be said.

When I started this thread, I believe I made it VERY clear that I was an outsider to sports. I never pretended to be an expert. I didn’t even pretend to be competent.

At some point, you seemed to suddenly ‘figure this out’ for yourself. In what looked like an attempt to ‘out’ me, you made a post that bordered on personal attack, mocking me for not understanding baseball or softball. (No, I didn’t report it and I didn’t check to see if it got moderated.)

Seriously? Is that what happens here? Someone asks a question about something and you make fun of them and mock them for having to ask it? Are we only allowed to ask questions about that we already know the answer to? If so, why does anyone bother asking questions here? Why does this site even exist?

Maybe this site once had a legit purpose at some point. But maybe now it’s just a place where you pretend to ask sincere questions and look for serious answers. Maybe people just ask questions that they think they know the answer to and then wait around and see who answers it the correct way, in your opinion. Good lord, if you asked a question that you didn’t already know the answer to, how wild you know who answered the question correctly? If that’s what this site has turned into, or if this is what it always was and I just didn’t pay attention, wtf is the point to all this anyway?

I’m not going to delete my account and strut off in a huff. I think people doing that are attention seekers who want people to cry and beg them to come back. But I am going to think 2 or 3 times before I consider ever asking a legit question again. I enjoy giving the odd answer now and then—especially a funny one to a silly question. But , you know….wtf is the point to this place?

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther