Pitch, Please

Sure, it will appeal to baseball fans. But, will it appeal to women?

Women don’t like baseball the sport. We like reality TV, and we need story lines that are delicately tailored to our simple woman brains.

How could we like baseball the sport? We don’t get to dream the dream where you play center field for the Yankees and hit a walk-off home run to win the World Series. That’s not our dream. That’s a boy dream.

Girl dreams are weddings and babies and falling in love. Not sports.

I knew the only appropriate dreams were girl dreams, but there I was, a girl kid, working on my control by throwing a tennis ball against the garage door (sorry, neighbors), and practicing diving outfield catches in the backyard. I also wrote stories. My favorite character was Lisa Marquette, an opinionated, smart, athletic girl who happened to love baseball. I had played t-ball on a boys’ team in second grade. I was the only girl and stuck out in the team picture with my pink corduroy pants. Alas, my baseball career ended at the t-ball level because I have no athletic talent. This has nothing to do with my femaleness; I just inherited terrible athletic genes. So, I dreamed vicariously through the stories I wrote about Lisa.

She was a pitcher because I was obsessed with the way Greg Maddux studied and toyed with batters and because I couldn’t get over Jamie Moyer soft-tossing his way through Major League lineups. Lisa played on boys’ teams through Little League and became a starting pitcher on her high school team, throwing fastballs and changeups, and later in high school, a devastating 12 to 6 curveball (I was responsible with my fictional character’s arm and didn’t give her a breaking pitch until later, even though she didn’t have a Major League career to protect). She wasn’t a power hitter, but she could make contact, and she was fast. An Ichiro before I’d ever heard of him.

But, of course, I’m not really a baseball fan for I am a woman. Those stories must have been all about the drama and trying to fall in love (She plays against her future husband in high school. When she strikes him out 3 times in a game, he tips his cap to her).

That’s why it’s odd that while I watched the Pitch pilot, I felt it in the same place those stories came from. That dream of doing what people say can’t be done. Of succeeding where you aren’t wanted and aren’t supposed to be.

That dream of just being able to have that dream.

So, yes. Pitch does appeal to women. Because women are baseball fans. Because we saw our brothers and male friends have “realistic” Major League dreams and knew we were left out. Because we don’t just dig the long ball. A well-pitched game and a sharply turned double play resonate with us too.

Pitch appeals to female baseball fans more than it could ever appeal to “real” male fans. Because men had permission to dream that dream. Even though few have a realistic shot at making it, it’s still a valid dream if you’re born a boy.

A firestorm erupted when a review of Pitch suggested that women may not like it because it was about baseball. Internet readers become irate when a writer called the show’s premise science fiction. A wonderful Twitter hashtag full of pictures of women at the ballpark, #ThisIsWhatABaseballFanLooksLike, started trending. It’s only proof that, well, actually, women are baseball fans.

And we want that dream too.

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Me, during my illustrious t-ball career with the Hazelwood Athletic Club

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