Baseball and Philosophy: Thinking outside the Batter's Box

By Eric Bronson | Go to book overview

BOTTOM OF THE EIGHTH
16 Women Playing
Hardball

LESLIE HEAPHY

Does softball limit women's potential to be equals on the baseball diamond? To address this question we 'll look at contemporary American feminist philosophy, and the history of women's participation in our national pastime since the mid-nineteenth century. Though there have been quite a few women who have played the game, they have always struggled for acceptance, and struggled to get past the stereotype that baseball is for men and softball is for women.

Given the physical differences, can women compete with men in sports? Men are typically stronger and may be more physically fit than women, but in baseball that may not matter. Baseball requires timing, co-ordination, knowledge of the game, control, competitiveness, and desire, assets that are not exclusively male. In baseball the smart ball player or the one with more hustle often outplays the big slugger. A 1982 study involving 87 men and 115 women, “Baseball and Softball: Should Girls and Women have to Choose?”, concluded that “the impact of gender is rather small when one considers strength differences after allowing for body size and composition.”1 So, perhaps the more pertinent question is, will America accept women's participation in a sport considered to be men's domain?

1 “Baseball and Softball: Should Girls and Women have to Choose?”
http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org.

-246-

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