To put it crudely, you don’t need balls to be a ball fan.

Sports & Leisure Essay
Written by Amy Bugno

To some people, “female baseball fan” sounds like an oxymoron. I’ll admit it – there are a lot of girls walking around in MLB gear that probably don’t know the difference between a ground-rule double and a double play, or that a second baseman doesn’t actually stand on second base. (I saw even one girl wearing a Garciaparra Red Sox T-shirt the other day) Nevertheless, it’s wrong to stereotype the entire gender as hardball-illiterate. Especially in this day and age.

Recently, I’ve felt the sting of this generalization looming in my life. As an actual fan (yes, I know that backwards K’s are for strikes-outs looking and how to throw a knuckle ball) I’m highly offended by the remarks I’ve been getting. Last week I turned in a paper about baseball coverage of 1936 vs. 1986 for a newspaper history class. It was well-researched, well-written and pretty damn interesting if I do say. My teacher loved it (I ended up getting a 25/25, which is almost unheard of in college) but his remark when handing it back to me got me pretty fiery-angry.

“You like baseball?” he asked. “Where did that come from? You don’t meet too many girls who like baseball.”

Granted, the guy is about 120 years old. His lectures date back to the Civil War and his pocket-protector screams, “I’m way behind the times.” I had to hold back from completely reaming him out.

I calmly explained to him that I do, indeed, consider myself an educated baseball fan. I watch the majors, the minors and even the Little League World Series when it’s on. I went to as many Tar Heel baseball games as I could and my bedroom is adorned with Bo-Sox memorabilia. I come from a baseball family but I’m not just a fan because my father is.

I left class that day and chalked his generalization up to old age. But then just a few days later, I ran into a new take on the stereotype.

I was watching the Phillies get their butts handed to them. While the Red Sox are and always will be my team, I felt the need to support the hometown guys. So, like the internet-happy college student that I am, I popped up a “Right now, Go Phils. Later on, Go Sox!” away message. When I checked in a bit later, I had quite the alarming message from a male friend of mine who shall remain nameless. “You can’t root for 2 teams – typical girl,” it said. Despite his ignorance, I tried to explain to him that you don’t have to be fan of one and only one team. Sure if they played each other I’d take Francona’s squad any day, but that doesn’t mean the Phils don’t hold a special place in my heart.

Yes, I know it’s a male-dominated sport. Not just the players but the managers, owners, announcers and even most of the people who sell beer in the stands are men. But seriously, it’s 2008. Women are doing everything else that men do – hell, one even threw in her hat for the presidential candidacy. I think you can allow us to be legitimate baseball fans for Pete’s sake.

(Links today via -Urban Dictionary, AOL.com, StraightCashHomey.net and YouTube)

This post also means Amy knows the Tampa Bay Rays are currently in first – but e-mail her to provide a friendly reminder 🙂
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1 Comment

Filed under Essays, Sports & Leisure

One response to “To put it crudely, you don’t need balls to be a ball fan.

  1. Amy

    holy links nate! thanks for the wakefield shout-out, but i hope you don’t ever use “backwards k” inappropriately around me, ’cause i might hurt you.

    as for our friend bill, i’m gonna have to take kj’s side of the debate and quote this from the pull-out: “Now, in my book, there are two rules for sports fans that must never be broken: 1. You must always root for your hometown team, unless there’s some compelling reason not to; and 2. you never, ever abandon a team under any circumstances.”

    according to kj, i’m totally justified.

    oh, and i was trying to work pete’s last name into this when i originally wrote it, but couldn’t find a good way to do it – thanks for solving that for me. i suppose great minds think alike 🙂

    (this doesn’t mean i’m not mad about the call to rub boston’s current standing in my face – ya jerk)

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