My daughter has been playing on a co-ed baseball league for three seasons now. She is currently on an all-girls travel competitive baseball team. When I tell people she plays baseball they tend to give the confused face, followed by the question, “You mean softball?” It’s still very shocking for a lot of people to see young girls play baseball. However, it’s not the confused expressions from people that bother me, it is the bullying our young girls on boys’ teams have to endure from players and coaches who are against girls playing baseball.
There have been reports in the news of baseball coaches opposed to allowing girls on the field. Earlier this year, there was an article in the news about coaches instructing their players to “bean” a girl baseball player in the head as a form of intimidation to push her to leave the sport. My own daughter has been hit in the head with a helmet on and that resulted in a concussion. This was by mere accident during a baseball game and not intentional, so imagine the effect of an intentional bean to the head.
This incident is one of the reasons I am grateful for my daughter’s all-girls team: The East Bay Hurricanes. These girls compete against all-boys teams, all-girls teams, and co-ed teams. There’s no limit to who they go up against. The Hurricanes is a division of the East Bay Cyclones Organization. The Cyclones have always been an organization that has pushed for inclusivity by allowing any young girl to join their youth travel teams. This year, they welcomed the Hurricanes into their baseball family.
I’m even more grateful that an organization like Baseball for All exists. Founded by Justine Siegal, she has been playing baseball ever since she was a young girl. She was the first woman to coach for a Major League Baseball (MLB) organization, the Oakland A’s in 2015. Dealing with her own discrimination growing up as one of the few girls playing baseball, she decided to create the organization to empower young girls to pursue their love for baseball.
Baseball For All is leveling the playing field for girls across America by addressing the social justice issue of gender inequality. I want girls to know they can follow their passions. That they have no limits. That their dreams matter. – Justine Siegal
Next month, Baseball for All will be hosting their Annual Nationals tournament in Rockford, IL. The tournament will bring young female baseball players from all over the world, and three teams will represent the SF Bay Area: East Bay Hurricanes, SF Bay Sox, and East Bay Oaks.
Nationals will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League. Over 250 girls are expected to participate from around the world. Age divisions: 11u, 13u, 14u and 18u. All teams in the 18u/14u division will have a chance to play at historic Beyer Stadium, the home of the AAGPBL Rockford Peaches! – Justine Siegal
Our girls should be allowed to play baseball. They belong in baseball just as much as any other young boy who loves baseball. Even the MLB organization has been leading efforts to provide more opportunities for girls to play. In order to decrease the bullying of our young girls on boys sports teams, the broader culture has to change. You can support our young girls’ love for baseball by donating towards Baseball for All’s scholarship program. This baseball scholarship program gives young girls with financial challenges the opportunity to play baseball with other young girls. Little efforts like these can help change the broader culture and more young girls will be accepted on the baseball field.