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Great Moments in Sexism: Who’s your “Baseball Boyfriend?”

Feb 7, 2012, 5:51 PM EDT

Pink cap

Not everyone plays fantasy baseball. There are a lot of reasons for that. I don’t play because I have a short attention span and I kind of suck at it. Others don’t play because they don’t have the time. Still others because, shocker, they just don’t like it.

But a company called  A View From My Seat — “In cooperation with CBS Sports Interactive” according to their website — has decided that the reason women don’t play fantasy baseball is because there isn’t enough romance in it. So they’ve decided to change that. By allowing girls — and they specifically say “girls” — to choose their “Baseball Boyfriend”:

Baseball Boyfriend is a single draftee, fantasy baseball, mini game designed for those who love baseball players. Pick your first BBBF at the beginning of the 2012 Baseball Season. Every time your boyfriend plays, you accumulate points based on his stats for the day. If he can’t perform, dump him. Then pick up a new BBBF. The one with the most points at the end of the season wins.

The website asks “girls” to go through their “little black book” and pick the handsomest player. Oh, I’m sorry, it asks you to “choose your stud.”  How long have you kept a player on your roster? No: it’s “how long you’ve dated him.”  If “one man is not enough” it encourages you to play in multiple leagues. The pics from the site have little hearts and stuff around pictures of, um, handsome players like Lance Berkman and Matt Cain.

I think it’s enough of a criticism to say that this game is stupid, if for no other reason than, as of this writing, it spells the word “triples” with two ps.  But it’s far more execrable for its crass sexism.

Guess what: women like baseball. They watch a lot of it. They write about it. They are, increasingly, executives in the game. Every fantasy league I’ve ever played in has had women in it, and they invariably beat the crap out of me (not that that’s hard). Are the numbers where we’d like them? No, because ideally everyone on the planet is doing basebally things. But the disparity between male and female fans is not because baseball is too hard for “girls” to understand or two manly for them to enjoy.

I get what they’re trying to do here. They want to expand the number of people who click where they’d like them to click and are trying a unique approach to get there. But there are certainly better ways to do so than by misguidedly attempting to girly-fy fantasy baseball or to dumb it down. Women do not need to be treated like love-struck teenagers to be drawn in.

But A View From My Seat and CBS Sports — which is hosting the app on its fantasy site — have regrettably chosen to take that route. And in doing so, they have insulted the intelligence and dignity of just about everyone who has either of those things.

  1. fearlessleader - Feb 7, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    Craig, will you be my BBBBF (baseball-blog boyfriend)?

  2. bigleagues - Feb 7, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    Am I the only shithead considering creating an alias in order to dominate a bunch of neophyte cleat-chasing broads?!

    Oh crap, I’m late for my NOW meeting . . .

  3. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Feb 7, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    I’ll consider allowing my wife out of the kitchen to play this game, but I better still get my chicken pot pies on time.

    • Utley's Hair - Feb 7, 2012 at 6:21 PM

      What about her shoes?

      • phukyouk - Feb 7, 2012 at 6:42 PM

        SHOES?????

    • sportsdrenched.com - Feb 7, 2012 at 7:11 PM

      Wow, you let her read too?

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Feb 7, 2012 at 10:28 PM

        She can read any book in the kitchen she wants to. I’m progressive.

  4. cur68 - Feb 7, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    Hey! I heart Jose Bautista. I’m his number one fan. I’d lock him in my mom’s basement, make him play catch with me, and teach me how to hit balls deep into the cheap seats. Where’s the crass, stereotypical, intellectually insulting, website game for my demographic?

  5. phukyouk - Feb 7, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    do they have Virtual Derek Jeter gift baskets?

  6. dondada10 - Feb 7, 2012 at 7:07 PM

    Does the girl who pick Ryan Braun automatically get herpes?

    • brewcrewfan54 - Feb 7, 2012 at 7:52 PM

      I have a pretty good feeling that Braun isn’t the only guy in MLB running around giving away the herp.

    • orangeflh - Feb 9, 2012 at 3:58 AM

      Are your kids automatically morons?

  7. badmamainphilliesjamas - Feb 7, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    “If he can’t perform, dump him.”
    Yet another sponsorship opportunity for Viagra and Cialis?

    • badmamainphilliesjamas - Feb 7, 2012 at 7:25 PM

      And another this . . . real women don’t wear pink baseball garb.

      • badmamainphilliesjamas - Feb 7, 2012 at 7:27 PM

        thing, not this

      • Francisco (FC) - Feb 8, 2012 at 10:34 AM

        Oh. I guess I have to tell my wife she’s not a real woman. I’ll let you know what she replies from the living room couch…

  8. shanabartels - Feb 7, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    Here I thought I was helping people choose tickets wisely, having uploaded my game photos to their website a while ago showing the view from my seat. But now I realize I’ve been doing it wrong this whole time. So I was supposed to choose an imaginary baseball boyfriend (oh man Kevin Youkilis and Vicente Padilla sure are hotties) and not contribute my photos? I’m so sorry. I had no idea. I better rectify that.

  9. sportsdrenched.com - Feb 7, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    On serious note. My wife & a lot of other women in my life think the whole pink uniform thing is incredibly sexist. If they’re a fan of a team…they want to wear that teams colors, not pink.

    I know this isn’t about uniforms. But it’s altering the sport to make it gender driven, not because they find the sport entertaining.

    • Bryz - Feb 8, 2012 at 12:48 AM

      Yes, this post is not about uniforms. But it is about sexism, and as far as I’m concerned, you’re absolutely correct on the pink.

      I have yet to hear a woman exclaim her pleasure in finding a baseball cap, shirt, uniform, whatever in pink. Yet the disdain for pink sure runs rampant among my female baseball fans.

      MLB, please start making team color memorabilia for women.

    • deadeyedesign23 - Feb 8, 2012 at 9:45 AM

      Major League Baseball is about the bottom line. Believe me if women weren’t buying them, they wouldn’t be selling them.

    • IdahoMariner - Feb 8, 2012 at 3:49 PM

      I get that some women might dig a pink version of a team’s uniform….but I think that most fans, female included, want to wear the colors of their team. I buy my daughter ONLY the authentic-looking (Ichiro) jersey (had to buy three last year, she grew so fast!), and would only buy her the pink version if she asks for it, and only after explaining (probably at some length) how it just doesn’t make sense to have a pink version. But,

      • IdahoMariner - Feb 8, 2012 at 3:57 PM

        (sorry, got cut off there), my daughter already has some pink clothes….and she is cool with all colors, as any kid that is raised without the notion that some colors are for girls and some for boys would be. Well, except beige. She rightly thinks beige is just wrong. Anyway, the point is — if you are a fan, you want their stuff, as they wear it. Why would it be different for girls? When the Marlins and the Mariners were all about the teal, did the teams market more “masculine” colored jerseys specifically for men? What I used to get frustrated by was the lack of shirts, etc. that are cut for women’s bodies — but that is changing, too. There are a lot more shirts cut specifically for women, but in the teams’ colors, than there used to be, instead of women having to wear shapeless tents.
        And btw, if you are a woman who loves the pink versions of mlb gear, I don’t think you are less of a fan. I just think that the teams, and websites like the one Craig is writing about, seriously underestimate the breadth of reasons a person, let alone a female, is a fan.

  10. hammyofdoom - Feb 7, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT MY BASEBALL BOYFRIEND?! He told me he wouldn’t tell anyone that son of a… oh wait, what? Oh! Sexiest fantasy baseball geared towards women…yeah…thats totally what I thought you were talking about

  11. wonkypenguin - Feb 7, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    As a female…who is gay…who plays in fantasy leagues with regularity…I admit that I call Clayton Kershaw my baseball boyfriend. But I’m going usually going for irony with that one.

    Also: my friend Tim, the gayest gay who ever done be gay, enjoys baseball because they wear “capris” and he would be happy to play in this league. :-)

    Still. Horribly sexist all the same. Agreed.

    • contraryguy - Feb 7, 2012 at 11:14 PM

      LOL The players may make it in ‘capri pants’ but envisioning fat old coaches from back in the day, like Lasorda and Zimmer in them…

      I’m hardly a PC person but I have to say, what’s wrong with letting all fans enjoy the game the same way, instead of something condescending like this. Btw, I do know women who wear pink team stuff to the stadium, but only as a change up. If I search my twitter feed for 5 minutes I could probably find a pic or two of them in it. To each his/her own.

      • Alia - Feb 8, 2012 at 1:18 AM

        “To each his/her own.” Couldn’t agree more.

        I’m all about female empowerment but getting upset about fan gear being pink and calling it “sexist” is wayyy over the top. Who cares if girls wanna wear pink and play a dumb game pretending that some dude is her boyfriend? Sheesh, lighten up.

  12. phillyphreak - Feb 7, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    Josh Leuke to go undrafted in these leagues too…..

    • Utley's Hair - Feb 8, 2012 at 1:37 AM

      But what about Jose Contreras?

  13. The Rabbit - Feb 7, 2012 at 9:45 PM

    I had to click on the link because I thought… maybe…. this was a Saturday Night Live sketch. If Eddie Murphy were reading selected excerpts, it could be hilarious.
    My favorite line from the site: “Is it better to keep one man all season, or trade everyday? ” I’ve been wondering that for years.
    If you look at the graphics, you would assume the target is pre-teen. If that wasn’t what the website creator had in mind, he is beyond clueless.

  14. teaspoon1731 - Feb 7, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    The NFL did something like this years ago, where every week you voted for the hottest player. They had a whole bracket system. It’s how I learned that Farrier was hot. Prior to that, I just thought he was a good player. Note that they haven’t done it again though, and football is pretty darn popular. I wonder why…

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve been out of my apron for far too long…

  15. hushbrother - Feb 7, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    What’s wrong with being sexy?

  16. samu0034 - Feb 8, 2012 at 3:37 AM

    “girl” is probably the number one word that I believe a segment of the population has just decided to take offense to. I don’t think there’s a “boy” on the planet who actually gets bent out of shape about being called a boy.

    • IdahoMariner - Feb 8, 2012 at 4:04 PM

      that might be because “boy” is so rarely used as an insult. On the other hand “girl” and several variations thereof (including girly, bitch/bitchy, and the endless translations of the name of any man perceived as weak into a female version of his name, the use of the names of female body parts in the same way…) are regularly deployed, especially in sports, as the ultimate insult. “boy” hasn’t been an insult since the days of overtly racist a-holes using it to put down black men. (at least, I think those days are over. we are mostly in a phase of non-overt racism these days)

      and I’m getting lecture-y, so I am going to try to cut it out now.

  17. Jason @ IIATMS - Feb 8, 2012 at 7:47 AM

    So “The Vagina Monologues” was really about baseball? Dang it.

    • cmutimmah - Feb 8, 2012 at 1:37 PM

      That’s actually my fantasy baseball team name (because my team usually plays like a bunch of women.)

      #whichismoresexist?

  18. rooney24 - Feb 8, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    “this game is stupid, if for no other reason than, as of this writing, it spells the word “triples” with two ps”

    “or two manly for them to enjoy.”

    ——–
    I won’t argue with the content of what you wrote. But, I love it when someone rips someone as not stupid for something like spelling and then uses the entirely wrong version of too a few lines later. And, not even using “to”. I don’t think I have ever seen “two” used in this spot. Love it!

  19. simon94022 - Feb 8, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    Lighten up, Craig.

    I think fantasy baseball is stupid for a lot of reasons, but these people aren’t claiming that players’ looks are the main reason women watch baseball.

    YOU, however, are asserting that it is “sexist” to believe this is a motivator behind the interest that some females have in the game. In doing so, you are rejecting the reality of human nature in favor of PC ideology.

  20. El Bravo - Feb 8, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    boobs

  21. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 8, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    FINALLY, a reason to draft Vicente Padilla.

  22. hughhansen - Feb 8, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    I’m completely missing the outrage on this. I don’t see how this game is a statement about ALL women any more than romance novels are. If some women like to read them (or play fantasy boyfriend), more power to them. To give it broader gender inequality implications is to miss that different people like different things.

    Being up in arms about the fantasy boyfriend game is also belittling any woman that wants to play it.

    I’m sure an analogue directed at men with women’s tennis players could find an audience (if it was more visually oriented). If someone created that game I wouldn’t be offended for all of manhood by it.

    I think everyone could lighten up a little about this.

    • badmamainphilliesjamas - Feb 8, 2012 at 11:47 AM

      I don’t think most of the commenters here are outraged or up in arms.

      IMO, life is too short to waste it being offended by silly stuff.
      But can’t I say it’s just a stupid idea?

      • hughhansen - Feb 8, 2012 at 12:25 PM

        My comment wasn’t directed at the commenters. The title of Craig’s post was “Great Moments in Sexism.”

        As far at the commenters go, the outrage at pink clothing being sexist is kinda nuts.

        1: the pink clothing doesn’t say “for women.” Anyone can buy them.
        2: Are people really arguing that a lot of women don’t like pink clothes?

      • hughhansen - Feb 8, 2012 at 12:31 PM

        Strike my #1 point below. Clothing is often gender-specific.

      • badmamainphilliesjamas - Feb 8, 2012 at 1:05 PM

        @hughhansen – I love pink. I’m wearing a pink sweater as we speak.

        Regarding Craig’s headline . . . it may not be sexism–just simplistic thinking (or no thinking)–and it’s not specific to baseball. I’ve seen many businesses go after the “women’s market” with no real understanding of what women want.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Feb 8, 2012 at 3:57 PM

      I’m sure an analogue directed at men with women’s tennis players could find an audience (if it was more visually oriented). If someone created that game I wouldn’t be offended for all of manhood by it.

      It would be considered a trashy soft porn site and couldn’t get through the content filter at my job.

      • hughhansen - Feb 8, 2012 at 4:30 PM

        Would you be offended because it implies that men are more interested in porn than women’s tennis?

  23. seanthegreatest - Feb 8, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    Top flight security of the world Craig. Of the world.

  24. cshearing - Feb 9, 2012 at 8:22 AM

    I agree that the game has a sexist bias. It also has a stupid bias.

    However, as for the other bit?
    Some women like pink clothes. News at 11. I cannot fathom how this is sexist.

  25. baseballboyfriend - Feb 11, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    Craig, why are you giving me the silent treatment?

    I call shenanigans.

    You overlooked.
    – The 1st step to playing this “Fantasy” game is to join or create a H2H or Roto league. You can’t get the game unless you are already paying in a serious league.
    – This wasn’t created by some corporation. It was created by a women for her & her friends, then turned into an app by her husband so statistics could be automated.
    – It wasn’t marketed to just women. It wasn’t marketed at all. It was however picked up by a gossip rag. Now I know where you get your stories from Craig.

    It might help if you get yourself an android or iphone. They’re really cool and you’ll learn what an app store is and how they work. Angry birds doesn’t replace your phone. It’s just a game you can play on it. Farmville isn’t a Facebook replacement for farmers, it’s a fantasy game you can play while you’re chatting with friends.

    One of the wonderful things about baseball is that it can be enjoyed in a myriad of ways. It’s a game with a long, rich history, enjoyed by men & women alike, the young and old, it’s even brought down racial barriers. The way you choose to enjoy the game isn’t the way everyone chooses to enjoy it.

    If your offended by a couple creating their own version of “fantasy” baseball, you should consider just playing baseball. It’s a cool game, you might enjoy it.

    @baseballbf

    Take back my offer for an interview. It’s been 4 days and you still haven’t written back. We’re breaking up.

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