Baseball 101 for Women

I think there’s a misconception in the male sports fan world that women can’t be REAL sports enthusiasts.  Historically, womens’ role in sports have been relegated to cheerleading, or eventually they “let us have” softball.  Men just don’t think we get it.  Today at Citizens Bank Park, if more men could’ve seen us running the bases with Davy Lopes, long-tossing with Steve Smith, throwing in the bullpen at Rich Dubee’s direction, or taking batting practice with Jimy Williams and Milt Thompson, we might’ve earned a little more respect.  And maybe more than a little jealousy, because men weren’t allowed at the Baseball 101 Clinic.  🙂

Scott Palmer did a great job MCing the event.  Even my husband laughed when I told him Palmer’s “DH” joke.  (Quite the relief for me.  John’s a jealous guy, and I was afraid he’d take it the wrong way.)  One of the things Palmer mentioned was how much energy women bring to these events, and he’s right.  We were all buzzed to get out on the field and show what we could do AND learn as much as possible from the pros.  You can’t get much better pros to learn from, either.  One of my all-time favorite pictures is from my first trip to Baseball 101, of Milt Thompson exhibiting incredible patience at my lack of batting skills.

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But the great thing is that after my first trip to Baseball 101, I went to the batting cages and put what Milt taught me into practice.  Milt’s instruction also fueled Paul’s drive to play the game in “Release Point”.  (PS, there’s an excerpt tab at the top of the page.)  Today Jimy showed me a better way to swing, and I’m going to put that to use this weekend.  It’s too much fun, going to the batting cage, stepping in and shutting the gate behind me.  All those dads, watching their Little Leaguers getting some practice, look at me as if they’re thinking, “What does she think she’s doing?”  Trust me, guys, I know what I’m doing.  I learned from some of the BEST.

Scott Frantzke put on a great “You Call The Play” session, and we learned a lot about broadcasting a baseball game.  It’s not just a matter of talking about what you’re watching.  Rollie DeArmas (coach of the bronze-medal-winning USA baseball team!) had some amazing things to tell us about his experiences at the Olympic games.  Frank Coppenbarger, as usual, was SO entertaining!  Even lunch was delicious!  (I missed out on breakfast.  I was too excited to eat.) 

In May 2006 when I first went to Baseball 101, I’d just finished writing “Release Point” and I thought I had a winner on my hands.  I was convinced I’d walk up to Leslie Gudel and get her so excited about my book that she’d talk about it on SportsNite.  (When I dream, I dream big.)  Alas, I never worked up the nerve.  Two years later, I’ve rewritten the story because of some of the things I learned at the Baseball 101 clinics, and since then I’ve signed with a literary agent courtesy of Chris Coste.  I’ve also finished another book, “Listen to Your Heart”, which also centers around baseball (Induction week at Cooperstown; check the Teaser tab above).  To say my life revolves around baseball is probably an understatement, but if I become known as the baseball romance writer, hey, it’s a great niche and I’ll happily take it.  There are a lot worse things to get obsessed about.  Alas, if only the season were longer than 162 games.  I’m sure I’ll love the World Series when the Phillies are in it, but it breaks my heart every year, knowing when the Series begins that I’m counting down to the end of my other passion for the year.  (Fortunately I can write all year long!)  🙂

But before I get too maudlin, knowing there are only 30-something more games this year (sigh!), here are some more pics from our day at Baseball 101:

Baseball 101 Clinic on the scoreboard
Davy Lopes instructing us on the correct way to tag first when you've just hit a double
A ball's-eye view from right field (Becca took the same photo at Doubleday Field in "Listen to Your Heart")

 

Jimy Williams instructing my friend Ruth (who I just met today!)
Jimy Williams instructing my friend Ruth (who I just met today!)
My new friend Ruth shaking hands with Jimy Williams
My new friend Genie shaking hands with Jimy Williams
Brad "Lights Out" Lidge! What a cool guy! Always a great answer to our questions!
Brad "Lights Out" Lidge! What a cool guy! Always a great answer to our questions!
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The Phanatic was up to his old shenanigans. 🙂

Hi to Ruth and Genie, and thank you again for inviting me to share your table!  I had SUCH a great time, and I’m glad you enjoyed the day too!  I hope I’ll see you again at Baseball 101 in May, 2009!

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