Thursday, June 25, 2015
AWAKENING THE DREAMERS, MAKING HISTORY
Growing up, I absolutely loved baseball. My grandfather, how had five daughters, desperately wanted someone to share in his love of the game, and I was more than grateful for the lessons. He taught me about all these fantastic men who played the game. He taught me how to read stats, and how to tell the difference between a ball and a strike because "The umps clearly don't know, so you've got to have a good eye." But I was also taught that one of baseballs greatest tragedies was the collapse of the AAGPBL.
The All American Girls Professional Baseball League started in the spring of 1943. Most men from 18 years old, and over, were off to war, and many minor league teams were disbanded. America needed baseball. A couple of big wig businessmen got together, and created a women baseball league. The idea was incredible. They scouted females from already established softball teams, and put them out there to play. Unfortunately, the league was set up for failure. The teams were in far off small towns that were difficult to get to. While men were off to war, fans more than willingly made the trips. But once they came home, these treks to obscure locations no longer made sense. Eventually, it was disbanded, leaving girls like myself, who had dreamed of being a baseball player, with only stories of the women who had the opportunity, but not even a snowballs chance that we might play ourselves.
On Sunday afternoon, one young female just stirred the dreamer in us again. 16-year old, Melissa Mayeux, a short-stop on the French U-18 junior nationals team, became the first female in history to be added to the MLB's international registration list. Which means she becomes eligible to be signed by a Major League club on July 2nd.
Honestly, I'm kind of overwhelmed with emotions right now.
Before someone comes along to attempt to burst my bubble, I'll do it for you... though Mayuex can be signed, that does not mean that she will be. That is besides the point. The list is reserved for those players who have the potential to be signed. The fact that she was added proves her ability and skill as a player. And yes, it is that much more special because she is a female.
The sports world is completely dominated by men. Even as a female writer, I often get questioned on my knowledge. Because my gender seems to take away from my credibility. I've held conversations with individuals that have outright called me wrong, and have had a male friend repeat exactly what I have said, and he was thought a genius. Simply put, females have to work twice as hard to earn respect in the sports world. So, when a female is able to make history in this way, it's fantastic news.
MLB Director of International Game Development, Mike McClellan has had Mayeux on his radar for a few years. He said "She's a legitimate short stop who makes all the plays, and is smooth and fluid in the field. She swings the bat really well and is fearless."
To Mayeux credit, her only goals seem to be to remain in baseball for as long as possible. If she is signed, she will have the chance to attend extended Spring Training. If not, she will be given the chance to play in the American University system. Perhaps even play as the short-stop for the 2017 French WBC team.
Mayeux, from every little girl who grew up wishing they could be Dottie Kamenshek, congratulations! I'm so very proud of you, and incredibly grateful that I could see history made in my lifetime. Whether you are signed to the MLB or not, I wish you a long, successful, and happy baseball career. You are a SHero! You've awaken the dreamers. Thank you!
--Erica Morales BYB Senior Writer
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