The headline “Eri Yoshida Signs With Chico Outlaws of Golden Baseball League” probably doesn’t do much for you. It didn’t do much for me either, until I discovered that Eri Yoshida is a woman.
Ok, so I admit the only reason I took interest in this story is because it featured the team that allows me to refer to myself as a “former professional baseball player”, the Chico Outlaws. In fact, I guess as an Outlaw Alum I got put on some distribution list that allows me first crack at all the hot news coming out of the Golden League. Other headlines haven’t quite been as interesting: “Outlaws One Game Out of First! Playing Tonight vs. OC Flyers“, “Tonight’s Game on iBN Sports.com!”
But after you stop and think about it, this one’s actually pretty interesting. Obviously your first thought, as a sports fan, is obvious: “there’s no way a female can compete with a male in any sport in the world…ever.”
This isn’t the first time a woman has tried to play with the men. We all know about Danica Patrick and Annika Sorenstam (apparently you have a head start if your name ends in ‘anica’), but baseball is, well, a real sport.
But to be fair, Yoshida has a better chance of surviving and advancing in baseball for a couple of reasons:
- She’s a knuckleballer. When Tim Wakefield goes out there and throws his 30 mph floaters up towards the plate, does it really matter that his arm is attached to a goatee-sporting 43-year-old man? Yoshida’s knuckler is said to be about 50 mph, which means that physical strength and stamina isn’t going to be an issue.
- There’s no physical contact. This isn’t football where a woman is trying to go toe-to-toe with Ray Lewis. It’s baseball. In all honesty, she may go her entire career without ever touching another player in any way (something tells me she’ll hold off on the congratulatory butt-slaps…at least for the first week).
So in that sense, Yoshida has as good a shot as any to advance in a man’s sport. Now, she also has to avoid another problem: most knuckleballers suck.
We’ll see how Yoshida stacks up, but it’ll at least be interesting to watch. I can’t wait to see Chico manager Gary Templeton deliver this speech to Yoshida after she’s despondent due to a bad outing: