Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Schoolgirl, Speculation, Slang, and Smack

Knuckleball pitcher Tim Wakefield helped out "the Japanese Schoolgirl" today by watching her pitch and giving her some advice. With a horrible moniker but an impressive knuckleball (and that's according to Wakefield), Eri Yoshida is the first woman to play professional baseball in Japan.* She's 17, 5 foot 1 inches, and 114 pounds by the way- almost a complete opposite of her middle-aged hulk of a hero Wakefield.

This is what I'm starting to love about baseball, and in particular preseason baseball. Mixed in with the greats there are the little guys (and gals) who are just starting out. They don't know how many starts they'll get this year, or even if they'll ever be called up from the minors, but they're out on the field with their idols. For Yoshida, Wakefield threw the first knuckleball she ever saw... when she was only 7 years old.

This brings me to my first installment of "what is the draft?" The June draft supplies the majority of new talent to professional baseball. Teams are assigned picks based on last season's win-loss records, and picks occur in rounds. When teams trade players already under contract, they might gain or lose draft picks. It is a lot more technical than that, and includes terms like clearing waivers, options, and arbitration, but for now I'm happy to have this basic level of understanding.

Articles about baseball assume the reader knows quite a bit about the sport. It's a huge task for a pink-hat like me to get through them and requires a book on baseball with a glossary, plus internet windows open to google and wikipedia. Speculative articles about trades are often full of baseball slang and what I can only describe as smack. I have to look up every other word or phrase, and I have to discern what is real and what is sarcasm.

This isn't speculation, slang, or smack, but don't you think Yoshida would look great in a Sox hat? She definitely deserves a blue one.

*Yoshida is one of a few women to play professional men's baseball. In the United States, Ila Borders was the only woman to pitch, or play, on an integrated team. Three women also played in the Negro Leagues (including one pitcher named Mamie Johnson from South Carolina, important only because my husband has a great aunt named Mamie Johnson from SC).

1 comment:

  1. This blog is great! Your hubby sounds like me...I am SO jealous! I wish my wife would put in a little more effort to my love of all things Sox (but she is a great sport about it, usally...;o)..) Enjoy the season. There will be highs and there will be lows...and no matter how it all turns out, there will always be...next season.

    Welcome to Red Sox Nation!

    Let's Go Red Sox!