Do you remember the old baseball saying “Chicks dig the long ball?”
Maybe that should be changed to “Chicks hit the long ball.”
Now, I didn’t see any home runs on a warm and sunny afternoon in Cooperstown. But I did see some long balls hit. I also saw some solid baseball, great plays and some good pitching.
And it was done by a bunch of “chicks.”
OK, we know that’s not the PC way of saying things, so let’s cut from the “ha ha” moments here for a second. The United States Women’s National Baseball team – ranked second in the world – played a four-game series against the Madonna Stars (Japan) in the Cooperstown area this past weekend. The opener on Friday was played at SUNY Cobleskill, with the remaining three games (two on Saturday, one on Sunday) played at historic Doubleday Field in downtown Cooperstown.
These ladies can play, too.
I first heard about this series from a Cobleskill graduate who told me the game was taking place there. I wanted to go up, but was heading out on a baseball weekend. Then I heard they were playing this whole series. I knew it was something I wanted to go see, considering I didn’t even know there was a women’s national team before this.
I’m glad I went.
Hit, run, throw – the ladies were talented from both teams.
Was it like watching men play baseball? Not at all. But was it still quality? Absolutely.
Two of the Japanese pitchers had funky submarine-style forms. The starting pitcher for the USA is, apparently, just going into her senior year in high school. Meanwhile, there’s another player on the team who was born in 1974. The youngest? Born in 1999. Think about that one for a bit.
They bunted. They ran. They stole bases and took two. They found the gaps, had Texas-League singles and smashed balls to the base of the wall at Doubleday.
In the field, the ladies on both teams laid out for balls in the hole, made routine plays look easy, and showed a lot of athleticism in making plays.
All in all, it was a pretty cool experience.
It wasn’t a crowd of thousands who came out to watch, but there was a decent amount of people in the grandstand behind the plate. I had the freedom to roam all over Doubleday’s bleachers and tried to take some different angles and such with my photos. I enjoyed taking different looks at the game and watching the teams as they battled it out.
The Americans won this game, 6-2. The weekend series was 2-2, showing how equal the two teams are. I’m not sure if the Madonna Stars are the full Japanese National team, but I think many are on it (if not all). Japan is ranked No. 1 in the world. The U.S. is No. 2.
I have no idea what kind of crowd they had for the two games Saturday. The crowd at Cobleskill, from some photos I saw, looked decent.
Women’s baseball has challenges — just like every other women’s sport. It’s about getting eyes on the players and the team to show what they can do. There’s not a professional league (at least that I’ve seen), but with having national teams and international competitions, it has to show that the ladies can handle their own on the baseball field. It doesn’t always have to be softball (and, as many could verify, I’m a big softball fan).
When I first got there on Sunday, I had only planned on staying for a handful of the 7-inning game. I ended up staying until the end and I’m glad I did. It was quality baseball and showed what the women can do on the diamond. If you get the chance to see our National team play baseball — take the opportunity. It’s well worth it.
For a full gallery of photos from the game, please check out the album on my Flickr page.
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