The Broad in the First Base Box

I’ve never been known as much of an innovator when it comes to baseball. I have no real new stats that have revolutionized the game. I’ve not come up with a way to hold the bat that made .220 hitters into superstars. I did once do something for gender equity in youth baseball. Let me tell you about it.

The local youth baseball league where I live and where my son grew to manhood let girls play. Some of them were pretty good, others not so much. But that’s all they did. They simply didn’t have female coaches. Turns out I had a friend who played softball when she was younger. She was a catcher and knew quite a bit about the game. She was also a big baseball fan and she and I would talk about the game on occasion. most importantly for my purposes, she had a son about the same age as mine.

The way it worked around here was that you would tell the powers that be in the local league that you wanted to coach. They were always desperate for coaches so you were never turned down. Then you got to pick your own assistant coaches (you got 2). My buddy Pete was already an assistant so I needed a second. My solution? Ask “Jane” (Not her real name. She’d kill me if I used it). She said yes.

Now this created quite some shock. A handful of coaches thought it was a terrible idea, others thought it was fine. There were no Cap Anson’s (I ain’t gonna let my guys play against some team with a woman on it), but there were a few snide comments.

The team took it fairly well. No complaints from the players. She was actually pretty good at working with the kids, especially the guys I wanted at catcher. She managed to soothe a couple of ruffled feathers a time or two. In other words, she worked. 

I stuck “Jane” as the first base coach while I took third and Pete handled the bench. This brought her directly onto the field during games. She had a tendency to wear shorts (short ones) and her uniform top was fairly tight. That got the attention of the adult males in the crowd. Now “Jane” was still young (several years younger than either Pete or me) and still had her figure. It bent in and out at all the right places and in just the right amounts. With her in the first base coaches box you couldn’t help but notice. That led another female friend of mine to ask, “You trying to distract the umps?” Wished I’d thought of it.

We had a decent season, coming in third in an eight team league. We got trophies at the big awards ceremony at the end of the season. The kids were happy. Several of them asked if I was going to coach again next season. I thought to myself, “Isn’t it great to be appreciated?” A number of the father’s on the other hand asked if I was going to use the same assistant the next year. If so they wanted their kid on my team. I thought that a great compliment to Pete.

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