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Eri Yoshida is coming to America

Dec 16, 2009, 4:40 PM EDT

Eri Yoshida AP.jpgEri Yoshida, for those of you who don’t know, is the Female knuckleballer who played for the Kobe 9 Cruise of the Japanese independent leagues last year. She went 0-2 in 11 games.  Having obviously conquered Japan, she’s now aiming her flutterball at the United States, saying on her blog that she’s going to pitch in the Arizona Winter League this January.

Though not much in the way of real baseball talent takes part in the Arizona Winter League — if you’re worth a damn you’re in someone’s spring training camp then — I’d still expect her to get shelled. Not because she’s a woman, but because she’s a seventeen year-old knuckleballer.  If all it took to compete with a knuckleball was the willingness to throw one, lots of high schoolers without any velocity would be throwing them. Heck, I would have been all over that back in the day.

They’re not, however, because a knuckleball takes a lot in the way of touch, practice and experience to get right.  And even if you get a respectable one, you have to be able to keep them honest with an occasional fastball or something. Even Wakefield does that, with a fastball that would be pretty darn good for a lot of seventeen year-olds.  Call me crazy, but I can’t see Yoshida possessing respectable enough gas to throw a get-me-over pitch when the knuckler isn’t dancing.

But I do love knuckleballers and I do love crazy publicity stunts, so I’ll be rooting for Erin Yoshida.

(Thanks to Ron of Baseball Over Here for the link)

  1. chris fox - Dec 16, 2009 at 5:12 PM

    Sorry, it’s because she’s a woman.

  2. Jason @ IIATMS - Dec 16, 2009 at 5:23 PM

    This is Craig’s holy grail of his fetishes:
    1) Asian
    2) Woman
    3) Knuckleball
    4) Unable to recognize defeat
    5) Throws harder than he does
    6) Underage

  3. Beanster - Dec 16, 2009 at 5:56 PM

    @Jason – I don’t know if Craig’s still doing his Comment of the Day over here but that is a classic!

  4. Tiffany Brooks - Dec 16, 2009 at 10:01 PM

    Well, actually, there will be two female ballplayers at the AWL. I’m the other one, and I’m neither short nor Asian nor underage (see post above that I’m referring to)…but I am also a pitcher and play 1B as well. I have no illusions of throwing a fastball by these guys (my top speed so far is 82 on a Jugs gun), but I do hope to work in short relief and maybe get some 1B time. I will obviously be in a media shadow on this one, but I hope to do well, and even if I don’t get a contract, I hope to help pave the way for girls and women who dream of playing pro baseball as I always have. If I do get a contract, I want it to be for the right reasons… that I could help my team and play the game the way it is meant to be played. Wish me luck!

  5. Heather Moncini-Watson - Dec 16, 2009 at 10:34 PM

    Good Luck Tiffany. I would love to see a girl play pro ball. I have always played softball, but I am a bit to old now to fulfill dreams of playing pro. Keep us updated.

  6. Jason @ IIATMS - Dec 17, 2009 at 6:45 AM

    Good luck Tiffany!

  7. Jason @ IIATMS - Dec 17, 2009 at 6:46 AM

    thanks Beanster. That’s probably too off-color for NBC. We can’t be getting CC fired in his first month.

  8. Julian - Dec 17, 2009 at 8:45 AM

    Sweet. I hope she does well. I also hope Tiffany does well. Would love to see successful female players at any level of pro ball.

  9. Paul in KY - Dec 17, 2009 at 9:14 AM

    Tiffany, best of luck to you & also to Ms. Yoshida.

  10. Old Gator - Dec 17, 2009 at 2:50 PM

    I’m at the age now where I can appreciate feminine beauty for its own sake, without having to worry about giving anyone the wrong impression of my motives. I can’t even amuse my wife anymore. So this is the commentary of a seasoned critic of the arts: any time you have a chance to add anyone so adorable to a major league roster, you take it. The show is still searching for an antidote to having had John Kruk playing it.

  11. Tiffany Brooks - Dec 17, 2009 at 4:09 PM

    Thanks to everyone for the supportive comments!
    Breaking ground like this…well you can imagine I can use all the support I can get! My media rep sent a media release to NBC…let’s see if they pick it up! : )
    Happy Holidays to all — and best of luck both on and off the field ~
    Tiff

  12. Steve Manfred - Dec 28, 2009 at 9:58 AM

    Tiffany,
    I was a fan and friend of Ila Borders during her Northern League career.
    I suspect a lot of what she went through would be of great use for you to know, and I’d be happy to help with that. Please feel free to email me back at smanfred at comcast.net
    Here’s one example: in 1999 I directly investigated the supposed ban on women playing in the major leagues that was instituted in 1952 that I’ve seen you reference in other interviews I googled just now. When I contacted the commissioner’s office directly, I was told that that ban was in fact overruled in the latest collective bargaining agreement with the player’s union, and no longer exists on paper. Practice is another matter, of course.
    – Steve Manfred

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