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May 19, 2005

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Kristen

I say they should get the hell over it. Because sometimes, it's just about sports. I mean, yes, sports tend to be a male-dominated zone but the times are a-changin' and us girls have something to say. Perhaps I'm biased but the sports blogs I read - and yes, they are SPORTS blogs - are mostly written by women. This is why this weird little community we've developed is so good. Me, you, Sam, Mer, Amy, Marianne, Emma, Holly and most of the folks at SG are all about the girl sports fans. And not in a "oh, ain't that cute? girls liking sports" kind of way. Maybe you're on to something with the code, though.

Iain

Beth, Kristen - I think you're giving us way too much credit. Comments about Foulke's inability to pitch (or whatever) may sometimes be a way of avoiding talking about real issues, but I don't think they are a code or symbolise anything deeper. To be honest, what we mean when we say: "Foulke sucks this season, they ought to let Embree close instead. He's good." is: "Foulke sucks this season, they ought to let Embree close instead. He's good."

However, I do agree with the idea that we guys probably see women expressing an intelligent opinion on sports as some kind of invasion of a territory that we presumed was 'ours'. Since you're writing from a woman's perspective, it feels like a division which is entirely defined by gender, but I would venture to suggest that, although that is clearly part of it, it doesn't cover the whole picture, which is about people inside a select group looking down their noses at people outside of it.

For instance, you could take the passage you quoted, replace "person with ovaries" with "English guy", and suddenly I've been there too. "Wow - you're English AND you know who Bucky F****** Dent is too!" I think that it's just a case of not knowing how to deal with people that don't fit our pre-conceived ideas of them.

Emma

//Should women expect equal treatment as sports fans, or should they be separate? Do men have a right to protect their social refuge? Whaddya say?//

Since Kristen put it much more aptly then I could, I'll just chime in with succinctly, Hell Yes, and Hell NO.

Although, there seem to be two kinds of men in that regard: those who are weirded out and can't get over it, and those are are briefly weirded out, but get over it quickly and strike up a conversation. ( These are also the type of guys who are impressed when I tell the story of my mother dedicating her wedding bouquet to Dennis Eckersley and the '79 Sox rotation.)

Michael

There is a testosterone aspect to sports. But give us some credit -- its better than it used to be.

My mom (nearly 70) was a huge baseball fan in her teen years. Ask her about Sox teams in the late 40's thru mid 50's and she can recite the entire 25-man roster for each year. And those teams sucked!

What changed was that guys became more important to her and challenging guys on their turf wasn't useful in maintaining an active social life. [She eventually returned to sports in her 50's and started dragging my dad to college basketball games. They chose their retirement house based on how far away it was from the Mullen Center in Amherst.]

I have a former female co-worker who follows sports more rabidly than most. Her cube was a shrine to Cam Neely. I've seen guys run in fear when they realize that this girly-girl has season tickets to the Bruins and can recite the up-to-date OPS of every player in the AL East. But for those of us who can handle it, we get to have very intense intelligent conversations about sports. And breasts, too. ;)

I appreciate a woman who is into sports for more than the sight of Tek's "thighs of thunder", or root for a team because they like the color of the uniforms. I specifically avoid the pink baseball cap crowd. Women who are into sports is not new, its that they are willing to express it around guys that has changed. I think it's a change for the better.

Kate

*deep breath*

First, by NO means should women have to be "separate but equal" sports fans. It is tiresome when you say something like "Arroyo's not a punk, he just hits a lot of batters because he's trying to control the inside part of the plate," and a dude's mouth drops open as if you just said "I just landed from Mars and am looking to eat a small child." Guys, we're not aliens.

However - and this is where the worms start slithering out of the can - some of us DO make it difficult to be taken seriously. And by "us," I admit that I was one of the offenders. I don't wear a pink hat, but in all honesty I used to, well, chase ballplayers a bit. I do know the game, but when you see a girl talking to a ballplayer beside the team bus, you're not going to think, "She probably knows the infield fly rule."

OF COURSE people should be flexible about seeing women in more than one role. But I do apologize for being one of the people who has perpetuated the stereotyped image and made it hard for women fans to be taken seriously.

-Kate (kitkat74)

Chops

Beth -

I think this is a relevant issue, but as someone who has grown up around some rabid female baseball fans, I'm used to the idea of girls who know and love sports.

I also think that guys and gals are fans in different ways. My sister and some of my friends live and die with the Red Sox as much as I do, but they express their team affinity in different ways. My brother and I are more likely to know why Nixon sits against lefties; my sister is more likely to know who his kids are and why he has pine tar on his hat. One aspect of being a fan isn't "better", and sometimes guys will get the "I can't believe you know that" look if we mention something about the non-statistical side of the baseball world.

If you want guys to be unsurprised by your knowledge of baseball mechanics and statistics, then learn them. If you surprise us enough times, we'll cease to be surprised. Until then, however, it's not unfair for us to expect that female baseball fans don't know the difference between a two-seam and four-seam fastball. A girl I recently took to a Nationals game is a committed Orioles fan - she checked the schedule to make sure they weren't playing at home at the same time before agreeing to come to the Nats game - but despite her unwavering commitment to the O's, and despite scoring the whole game on her scorecard, she expressed dismay at any technical knowledge of the game, dismissing it as "something the guys on the field should know, not you". And that's OK - she has her way of being a fan; I have mine.

Sammy

I think the issue involves the fact that most men, even rabid fans who truly know the game, once in a while wonder why the hell we spend so much time - watching, analyzing and just knowing the game. So...we depend on you women to be more sensible and prefer that you NOT understand why the hell these games mean so much to us. Of course, that's all theory -- The Beths, Kristens, et al of the world are most welcome to join and contribute to the insanity! You've certainly proven yourselves (not that u had to). I like the Jimmy Key comment. BTW - I don't know how ANY hitter can tell where the F the ball's coming out of Dontrell Willis's 9 arms and 12 legs. If he had Alfonseca's 6 fingered hand, they'd have to ban him.

Boston Fan in Michigan

Yeah, you already read what I said over at my place. By the by, what the heck's the difference between linking to your post and doing trackback? I never know, so usually I just link. It is less fancy.

Brian

I grew up with my mom calling John Elway "John." We would watch Broncos games and when he did something good she'd say "Go, John!" When he did something bad she'd say "Oh, John."

I think she had a crush on him. And it's ABSOLUTELY clear that some of you (cough cough S-A-M) have likewise things about various baseball players (like Red Socks Short Stop Bill Muller). This introduces sex into sports and creeps us out. Because we all have healthy man-crushes on these players and... well. Many men, especially men into sports, are very homophobic.

Also, since you are chicks we feel we should shave and stop feeling our bits and stuff. Personally that's the only thing I mind.

Boston Fan in Michigan

Ah ha. See, I figure it's fine to ogle Bill Mueller, because I also know his batting average and that he was the 2003 batting champ and that his knees are going and this is affecting his defense and that sitting him is good because it gets Youks more playing time and that helps him develop as a player because goddamn that's the closest to a rookie we have on the Red Sox, really.

It's the fangirls who just think he's pretty and know nothing more that piss us off.

Just wanted to, uh, clarify that.

beth

and, as i've said before, if there were women of equivalent attractiveness playing as major a sport, men would be UNREPENTANT in their drooling, ogling and disgusting remarks.

the watergirl

True -- I mean, look how they are with Anna Kournikova. And she wasn't even any good, really.

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