Gawker TV has a video about Chelsea Baker, a thirteen year old from Florida who is the best player on her Little League team and possibly in the entire system.
One of her male teammates says that he didn't know "a girl could play [so well]" and Chelsea herself says that she is teased, laughed at and under-estimated by her peers but mostly by the parents of her fellow players. Chelsea has a good attitude about it, though:
Chelsea wants to play baseball, not softball. She has a perfect 65-mph knuckleball, which only took her two years to learn to control. Even her male catchers say it is flawless and hard to catch.
Chelsea's father seems to be her biggest advocate and her mother is more concerned with the fact that her daughter didn't want to compete in beauty pageants. Chelsea gets most of her support from men, including her first pitching coach, former Yankee (among other teams), the gone-but-never-forgotten, Joe Niekrow, who used to make Chelsea give him a kiss on the cheek before he would give her the ball to start the game.
She says she wants to prove the people who say she can't play that they are wrong because it will change the world. This makes me happier than anything else I have heard in a long time. I have previously written about my six year old niece's own ball-player aspirations and right now she is just doing it for fun. To think that a girl only seven years her senior could be making it possible for her to gain some respect in the game brings tears to my eyes.
Saturday night, Dave the Bleacher Creature and I had a talk about women in baseball. I said I am ready to see a woman in the MLB. He thinks it is more likely that another women's baseball league comes about. Really, either would make me happy, but my scenario is preferable. Will it be Chelsea? Will it be Eri? Will it be my niece? I'd take any and all of them in an MLB uniform, especially Pinstripes.
I couldn't help but think of a season nine episode of South Park when I watched this clip. It was an exhaggerated portrayal of the boys and how much they hated the boring game of baseball, but in this culture of youth soccer and Friday Night Lights, can't we embrace the love of playing the game from any child, regardless of gender?
And yes, you know me well. Here is a clip from that South Park ep:
11 hours ago