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Tweet of the Day: a pro scouting director goes on record about women playing baseball

Aug 29, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT

Yesterday, in that piece I wrote about women playing major league baseball one day, I linked to a story from a couple of years ago in which an espnW writer couldn’t get anyone from a major league team to go on record to even speculate or talk about the idea of women playing baseball.

Kevin Goldstein, the pro scouting director for the Houston Astros was a bit irked by that, so he went on record:

Nice to hear. And, his old counterparts’ silence notwithstanding, I assume that’s the majority view among MLB talent evaluators. Talent is talent. If a baby elephant were able to play, Looney Tunes-style, some scout would check him out because finding baseball players who will help you win more games is the entire bleedin’ point.

We may not see a woman who can compete at that level any time soon or maybe even ever. But it’s good to know that, if and when we do, someone will watch her and give her a fair shake.

  1. bigmeechy74 - Aug 29, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    There is no way in hell any woman could ever play MLB baseball. This is a dumb topic that doesn’t need to ever be addressed again.

    • senotonom205 - Aug 29, 2014 at 11:46 AM

      There is no way in hell? How could you possibly come to that conclusion?

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Aug 29, 2014 at 11:46 AM

        He’s a troll, it’s better off to just ignore him.

      • largebill - Aug 30, 2014 at 12:41 AM

        That is called opinion wrapped in hyperbole.

    • sophiethegreatdane - Aug 29, 2014 at 11:48 AM
      • lukedunphysscienceproject - Aug 29, 2014 at 1:49 PM

        I love the fact that as of this comment, nine people have given a thumb’s up or down to a comment with no content.

      • Cris E - Aug 29, 2014 at 2:01 PM

        … nine people have given a thumb’s up or down to a comment with no content.

        Me too!

    • clydeserra - Aug 29, 2014 at 12:51 PM

      I like your conviction!

      You are totally wrong, but you are gritty!

    • schlom - Aug 29, 2014 at 12:51 PM

      Again, I find it fascinating that people actually think that a woman will ever play in the MLB (outside of a gimmick, as I don’t think anyone would have ever though a midget would get into a game). Is it simply that people want it to be true? Do they think that life is like the movie Rudy, that if you want something bad enough and try hard enough you can make your dreams come true? Or do people simply refuse to believe the facts because other people will think they are sexist?

    • historiophiliac - Aug 29, 2014 at 6:35 PM

      What if her name was Shana Greene?

  2. sdelmonte - Aug 29, 2014 at 11:36 AM

    Now all we need is a college program for her to play in.

    • jinx21fan - Aug 29, 2014 at 12:14 PM

      Before we need that, we need enough females interested in playing to make it feasible.

      Wendy Parker left an extremely insightful comment this morning on yesterday’s story. It’s too bad most missed it. One of her points seems to be, quite frankly most females have no interest in playing the game of baseball.

      “But the groundswell of interest in sports like soccer and lacrosse in more recent years among young girls, and their greater inclusion in high school and college programs, indicates that girls are choosing the sports they want to play, and baseball is not one of them.”

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 29, 2014 at 3:10 PM

        “…girls are choosing the sports they want to play, and baseball is not one of them.”
        Really?
        Among the things a lot of those girls base their choices on are seeing adult women succeeding in that endeavor, and having other girls with whom to play that sport. As I recall, after the US women’s soccer team did so well in the 1996 Olympics, leagues for girls increased. Same was true for the softball team that year. Same was true, to a lesser extent, with the US women’s hockey team in 1998.
        We currently have no adult women succeeding in baseball. No role models. And when we did have such, back in the 1940s-50s, with the AAGPBL, few girls ever saw them since there was no TV coverage, and even those girls who did had no opportunity themselves as Little League did not allow them in.

      • jinx21fan - Aug 29, 2014 at 5:58 PM

        We, like I said this was simply part of a comment posted from the perspective of a female journalist on this subject. I’m sure it’s not reflective of all females, but it has weight and merit. Her whole comment is in the original story’s comments. So if you take umbrage with her thoughts you should reply to her.

      • jinx21fan - Aug 29, 2014 at 6:01 PM

        ** My bad** We = Well

      • illuminancer - Aug 29, 2014 at 6:32 PM

        The problem with that argument is that there are almost no options for girls to play baseball. Softball is a similar, but very different sport, and past college, there’s no avenue in the US for women to play professionally. Much was made of the fact that Mo’ne Davis said she wants to play pro basketball, but the reality is that if she wants to be a professional athlete, baseball is out of the question for her.

      • jinx21fan - Aug 29, 2014 at 6:44 PM

        I think we have reached the chicken vs the egg portion of this particular part of the debate.

        Again, is it a supply or a demand issue? What, if anything, is stopping every NCAA women’s softball program from converting to baseball if that is what the players wish? I don’t know, to be honest I haven’t heard an outcry for it – from actual female athletes that is. Maybe there is, so what is stopping them? I know they have law on there side. They certainly have public opinion … If they want to switch to baseball I’m all for it.

    • Paper Lions - Aug 29, 2014 at 12:16 PM

      Most colleges would allow a woman to try out for their baseball team. A number of women have played NCAA baseball, though usually not for D-I teams. There is a woman pitching for a college in Maine now.

      I agree in premise though, that it is shameful that everyone in the process tries to steer women to play softball even when they would rather play baseball.

      • jinx21fan - Aug 29, 2014 at 12:28 PM

        Agreed, if they have the desire and ability they be able to should play as far as both will take them.

  3. timb12 - Aug 29, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    Dang!!!! What a stand up guy!!!!

    That’s sarcasm. Of course you’ll say it, because there’s a 99% chance it won’t happen in this lifetime outside of a publicity stunt.

  4. asimonetti88 - Aug 29, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    I mean if Air Bud can play for the Angels, I’m sure that a woman could play in the MLB too.

  5. tribester - Aug 29, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    I think I’d be terrified every time I had to watch a baby elephant rush to cover first base… the runner probably would be too.

    • clydeserra - Aug 29, 2014 at 12:52 PM

      OBSTRUCTION!!!!!!

    • slartibartfast4242 - Aug 29, 2014 at 12:53 PM

      It would be adorable to watch though.

      • Paper Lions - Aug 29, 2014 at 1:11 PM

        Not if your the grounds crew.

      • tribester - Aug 29, 2014 at 5:12 PM

        For the first year maybe. How fast do elephants grow?

  6. cubfan531 - Aug 29, 2014 at 11:56 AM

    If we can come to accept that softball and baseball are not the same sport, I really fail to see how there’s not at least a Tony Campana female equivalent out there, and probably something even better than that.

  7. rbts2014 - Aug 29, 2014 at 12:01 PM

    I think a woman might be able to play if she could throw 80mph with excellent spotting of her pitches on a consistent basis. This based on the fact there are a few MLB guys that havne’t thrown hard but found success by being crafty.

    If women want to make in-roads with baseball, they should get rid of softball and play in high school and college baseball women’s leagues so they can work on the baseball-related skills that might give them an opportunity of having success in men’s leagues eventually.

    • 14thinningstretch - Aug 29, 2014 at 12:42 PM

      Jamie Moyer was able to hang around for years throwing like 80 mph, and I think fast-pitch softball pitchers can throw that hard. I also think that a female knuckleballer could probably make it in the big leagues.

      Why are women always shunted off to softball, anyway? I’ve never heard a good explanation for why there are no baseball leagues for women after like Little League.

      • jinx21fan - Aug 29, 2014 at 1:09 PM

        There are a lot of questions about the seemingly lack of supply when it comes to women’s baseball leagues. Maybe we should examine whether or not there is a sufficient demand first.

      • largebill - Aug 30, 2014 at 12:45 AM

        Jamie Moyer wasn’t throwing 80 MPH max when he was scouted. He was down to that after being in the game decade plus and learning how to pitch.

    • uwsptke - Aug 29, 2014 at 12:43 PM

      I was sort of thinking the same thing, that the most logical position would be knuckleball pitcher who mixed in a decent fastball on the corners.

  8. clydeserra - Aug 29, 2014 at 12:13 PM

    so, now everyone that yesterday said that GMs wouldn’t talk about it because its a controversial subject are going to apologize?

    [Checks watch]

    • Paper Lions - Aug 29, 2014 at 1:14 PM

      Goldstein isn’t a GM.

      I didn’t say that, but it really isn’t a controversial position that a FO person is likely to not give a particularly honest answer to such a question….all of the answers would sound just like Goldstein’s, whether they were being honest or not….because everyone knows what they are supposed to say.

      • clydeserra - Aug 29, 2014 at 1:17 PM

        right, I was typing quickly because i had to get kids to school

        But yeah, that was the point. its not controversial to say, yet yesterday there were many commentors saying that it was a controversial thing to say.

      • largebill - Aug 30, 2014 at 12:46 AM

        Gm’s won’t respond because it is a stupid hypothetical question.

  9. jss1330 - Aug 29, 2014 at 12:29 PM

    The Astros should concentrate on not screwing the current players they are scouting.

  10. jlovenotjlo - Aug 29, 2014 at 12:53 PM

    I can’t believe there is all this talk about a woman playing major league baseball when, to the best of my knowledge, one hasn’t even touched the diamond in low A ball.

    First things first, it would be huge news if a female made it to rookie ball. Making the MLB is non-issue at this point.

    • rbts2014 - Aug 29, 2014 at 1:14 PM

      and there is your next baseball-themed reality show.

      Female women’s baseball league pitchers and fast-pitch softballers who think they might want to convert to baseball are put through their paces with the winner guaranteed an invite to spring training on the minor league backlots and consideration but no guarantee to be sent to that team’s rookie-level club.

      • jinx21fan - Aug 29, 2014 at 1:26 PM

        I’d check it out. Couldn’t be worse than some of the other crap out there. I actually got into “The Big Break” for golf.

      • jlovenotjlo - Aug 29, 2014 at 1:29 PM

        I like it!

        Also, if I’m GM of an Indy ball team, I’m definitely holding a women-only tryout with a guaranteed roster spot available to the best performer. Talk about (good) publicity for your little Indy ball team.

  11. mpops86 - Aug 29, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    You should have reached out to the league for comment rather than rely on no-comments from an article dates three years ago, one which has already undergone one layer of journalistic spin.

  12. pbastille - Aug 29, 2014 at 1:10 PM

    Monica Abbott can fast pitch a softball at 77 mph:

    http://monicaabbott.com/monica-abbott-blog-new-speed-record-womens-fastpitch-77mph/

    Dan Quisenberry threw in the low 80s, a little less than Darren O’Day http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1159429-mlb-the-30-quirkiest-pitching-deliveries-in-baseball-history/page/13

    Stu Miller reportedly never threw much over 60 mph

  13. schlom - Aug 29, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    Apparently I forgot a 3rd option on why people think a woman could play in the MLB, basic ignorance:

    Do people seriously not understand just how good and physically gifted all major league players are? Adam Dunn might be the slowest non-catcher in the majors but he’s still an incredibly gifted athlete – he played QB at the University of Texas. Yes he’s older and bigger now but I’ll bet he’s still above average in speed compared to the normal male. Another example people bring up is Jose Altuve – he’s short at 5’6″ but do you know he’s listed at 175 lbs? Do you realize how big that is for his height?

    All these players were the best athletes in their league at some point – maybe for some of them it was as early as Little League but most of them it was later. You can tell that by just looking at the positions they played when they were younger – Matt Stairs (who everyone joked looked like a softball player) played SS and 2B his first minor league years. Mark McGwire played 3B his first season in the majors.

    • Cris E - Aug 29, 2014 at 2:10 PM

      All totally true. But the point that a lot of people are balancing their arguments on is that there are literally billions of women on the planet. There are crazy strong ones, tall ones, fast ones, all sorts of women. At some point there will be someone from the far end of the bell curve who takes a passionate interest in baseball and makes a serious run at being the first woman in the upper levels of the game. Just like the guys did when they were growing up.

      The hardest part will be numbers: there are millions of boys playing in grade school, many passionately. A tiny fraction make it past high school ball. There’s a tiny fraction of those numbers that are girls, but the same competition for spots. It could be a long wait.

      • schlom - Aug 29, 2014 at 2:17 PM

        Yes, there are literally billions of women on the planet. But of course there are also billions of men on the planet who are, on average, more physically gifted than those women. I think that’s the point that everyone is missing – sure there could be a woman that is physically gifted enough to get to the majors. The problem is that there are thousands of men that are simply better than the best woman. So the real chances of a woman making it are zero.

      • American of African Descent - Aug 29, 2014 at 3:14 PM

        And there are binders full of them!

      • wjarvis - Aug 29, 2014 at 3:33 PM

        Schlom, I think you are overestimating how important the physical skills are to be a MLB player. Yes Matt Stairs was a gifted athlete at one point, but he played until he was 43, for years there were thousands (maybe tens of thousands) of better pure athletes playing competitive baseball, yet he still was able to earn a roster spot. There is a minimum level of fitness that a professional baseball player must have, and it’s a pretty high level. However, once you reach that level of fitness there are a lot of other factors that become more important than being slightly stronger, faster or more agile than another player. All things being equal, being more athletic is better. All things are never equal though, and overall physical gifts are just a part of what make a baseball player better or worse than one of their peers.

      • Paper Lions - Aug 29, 2014 at 7:55 PM

        The problem is that the end of that tail doesn’t come anywhere close the end of the tail for men that compete at elite levels. Again, that is why the worlds fastest woman couldn’t win an NCAA men’s track event, why the best women at basketball, soccer, or hockey wouldn’t be able to make a second division men’s pro team. There is really no overlap between pro performance for men and women….being better than 99.5% of men is fantastically impressive, but when only .0001% of men are good enough to do something, it is still far short of the requirements.

    • jinx21fan - Aug 29, 2014 at 8:37 PM

      Here’s a study from Columbia that might shed some light on the subject. There are a lot of aspects to being an “elite” level athlete – Eye/Hand etc.

      An Excerpt:

      (Men)
      “They have a better hand-eye coordination and more precise control of large muscle movement. They have poor peripheral vision but better sight in bright light and a better sense of perspective”

      http://www.columbia.edu/itc/anthropology/v1007/jakabovics/mf2.html

  14. ejheim62 - Aug 29, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    sure they can play if they have the ability, but the first time a woman pitcher wins a game and gets the post-game fanny pat from all her teammates, it’s all over….

  15. doctorofsmuganomics - Aug 29, 2014 at 2:17 PM

    Of course woman can play baseball. Heck, if Moose Moustakas and Andrew Romine could both hold down positions on a major league squad, I can’t see why a woman couldn’t.

    • lalocrawford503 - Aug 29, 2014 at 3:25 PM

      David Eckstein, seriously, David Eckstein and theses clowns say a woman can’t play, smh

  16. historiophiliac - Aug 29, 2014 at 6:25 PM

    Craig, does that mean he scouted Tiffany Brooks, or no? Did he have reasons for not scouting her, if not? Can he give you names of any female players they may have considered and why they didn’t scout them? Have they checked out any of the women from that Canadian baseball league? It’s not like *no* women have played in independent leagues in the last ten years. I’d find his claim more credible if it came with a little action/details to back it up. I guess we’ll see.

  17. thisdamnbox - Aug 29, 2014 at 11:10 PM

    I can’t help thinking that some girl will make it at least to AAA with a sweet knuckleball and an 85 mph fastball (basically Jamie Moyer’s repertoire). Problem seems to be that, when puberty hits, girls move on to other types of distractions. And the lack of baseball options don’t make it any easier to stay in the game.

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