Thursday, June 4, 2009

Your Weekly Softball Report: On Gender Politics, The Zen of Right Field, and The Glorious Mercy Rule

Perhaps Rickey is reading into things too much, but there is a certain degree of sexism present in any coed softball league. League regulations call for a minimum of three females on a team, otherwise the team can’t take the field. Furthermore, if you add more females to your lineup, you can also expand your roster to include more men as well. The insinuation here seems to be that women are an inherent handicap and adding one more entitles a team to compensate for this by adding a dude. Call Rickey nuts, but this seems a rather bad message to send. Also, it potentially exposes an office to multiple EEO violations when the coach of your company softball team belligerently stampedes down the hallway bellowing “Broads! I need BROADS for the game tonight!”

We can’t help but wonder what Emmeline Pankhurst would’ve thought about all this. She’d probably travel through time and organize her own feminist all-star softball team consisting of Abigal Adams pitching, Susan B. Anthony at first base, Elizabeth Blackwell playing second, Margaret Sanger at shortstop, Gloria Steinem at third, and Ruth Ginsberg catching behind the plate with Mary Wollstonecraft, Lucy Stone, and Sojourner Truth manning the outfield. They’d be called the Bra Burning Betties and they’d totally fucking win.

Rickey ponders about this sort of stuff while sitting peacefully in right field.

Right field is actually a terrific place to do lots of thinking like this. Right Field: home of Shawn Green! Right Field: inspiration for the classic Peter, Paul, and Mary song! Right field: where nobody’s expecting very much of you! As you can imagine, Rickey likes to keep a low profile in right field, and will dutifully (and happily) switch with the center fielder whenever a lefty batter comes to the plate. In fact, the only physical activity that’s required of Rickey in the outfield is to move to the edge of the infield when a lady comes to bat. This, friends, is yet another instance of odious sexism in softball. Whenever a female comes to the plate, like clockwork, Rickey’s team’s pitcher will turn his back on the batter and slyly motion for the outfielders to come in like it’s all part of some top secret and brilliant baseball strategy. Yes friend, you truly are the Tony La Russa of beer league softball! (deep down, Rickey’s totally rooting for the girl at bat to blast one into the center field gap).

Occasionally, a member of the opposing team will get wind of Rickey’s lackadaisical approach to right field. Either he’ll have noticed Rickey tossing a few warm up throws prior to the game or he’ll have simply sized Rickey up as the sort of person who has no business playing a competitive sport of any kind. Whatever the reason may be, Rickey’s stomach will turn whenever a righty batter looks right at him, pivots his body in mid pitch, and attempts to smack the ball into right field.

Oh no, he’s trying to pull it my way. He KNOWS I’m terrible. He can sense my fear. Something wicked this way comes.

In this situation, Rickey quickly weighs his options. Yes, Rickey could immediately bolt off the field, run to the parking lot, hop in his car, and hastily drive to the bar and get a head start on the aftergame drinking, but that sort of thing is probably frowned upon in recreational softball leagues. So Rickey will man up and tough it out. Nine times out of ten, the batter trying to hit the ball into right field will screw it up and ground out, so in a way Rickey is actually serving his team by indirectly contributing to some nice defense. Rickey’s mere presence causes ground outs!

Rickey’s presence, however did not prevent his team from getting whomped and the mercy rule being invoked. Turns out the ladies on the opposing team were freaking powerhouses. The oft heard comment from Rickey’s team: “their girls are better than some of our guys.” Uh yeah, we’re pretty sure that Rickey is one of those guys. His team’s record: now 1-4.

Afterwards, the team regrouped at a local pub. Bud Light and a burger after a 13-2 softball loss taste …well, honestly, pretty much the same as they normally do. Back next week with a thrilling edition of: The Softball Report.

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George said...

Is Margaret Sanger at shortstop a veiled small dick joke?

Smitty said...

Maybe Team Manager would be a good spot?

renalfailure said...

The plight of the right fielder is music to the left-handed batter's ears.

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