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Australia is about to start a professional women's baseball league in about 2 years. In the same news report it said that the US doesn't have one. I am amazed. Why?

  • Arguably, any league (including MLB, if it didn't already exist) would have trouble getting started in the US today. There are too many competing options, and not enough patience from any financial backers for a league to grow organically from a small initial offering. – chepner Oct 27 at 18:25
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Women in the US are usually pushed into softball, for starters. Otherwise, US women professional sports leagues have had a hard time surviving. Women's soccer sees an uptick every time the Women's World Cup rolls around but still trails MLS which fights for its own recognition, the WNBA relies heavily on the NBA propping it up (and even then most players have to also play in Europe to make money) and women's hockey is a mess.

  • That's all true. But for a non contact sport that is such an iconic part of American culture, I still struggle to see why. – Snack_Food_Termite Oct 24 at 12:10
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    Americans generally aren't interested in less than top competition. Baseball's minor leagues for the most part only exist because of their affiliation with a major league team paying the players' salaries. – pboss3010 Oct 24 at 12:20
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    I'm not sure the sport is as iconic (or at least popular) as Major League Baseball (the entity) is. People go to MLB games as much because it is there as because they actually want to watch baseball. – chepner Oct 27 at 18:31
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There is women's baseball. However the answer why it will not be a "paid sport" is that it highlights the disparities in the human body between the two sexes. In simple terms adult women would not only be really really bad compared to men they would be really really bad compared to teenagers. If women could play this sport at a closer level it would have happened (I am not counting one-offs just to watch women).

Some issues:

  • the fastest a woman has ever thrown a baseball is 69 mph. Nolan Ryan was clocked at 108 mph. That is almost double! By the same standards the fastest 400 meter dash by a man is 44.5 seconds and a woman is 47.6 seconds. Pretty close right. But if you extrapolate the throwing speed and use the 400 meter dash a woman's best time would be about 69 seconds! Would anyone take that serious? Just for thought I have a 9 year old that can come pretty damn close to 69 seconds.
  • swinging the bat hard enough. In fast pitch softball they still use metal/composite bats because wood bats would need to be swung harder. This would be multiplied in baseball as you need to hit further distances and would need a bigger bat.
  • throwing to bases. This isn't how hard but how far too. You would have issues with 3B and SS making long throws. Basically you would see issues with slowly hit balls down the line that are routine outs - super easy outs - this would be analogous to 10u kids baseball.

Example: When I was in college (D1 school with bigtime basketball) I played a little bit on the practice team - when they had many players hurt. The summer before my senior year the WNBA had tryouts at our school and the players stayed in the dorms. There was about 25-30. I played pickup ball against them for about 2 months with some stragglers at the rec center - so older guys, decent younger players, and a couple like me that got a little practice team time.

In two months any team I played on never lost a game to the all possible-WNBA players (to 21 by 1s and 2s) - zero games. But there were close games, the girls were rough, and generally kept up. They simply couldn't stop a hard drive. If I put my head down and split two players it was a bucket. But the games were close 21-12ish would be average. These weren't the WNBA stars but your bench is getting beat by college kids but its close.

Baseball however myself and two teammates were throwing mid 80s in high school. Probably threw 69 by freshman year. So the competition level for women's baseball is maybe JV high school boys level. Where the competition level for WNBA (with their best players) is probably close to DIII college. That is a huge huge difference.

  • These are excellent comments. BUT I still struggle with my OP; in other sports that also have long throws, running and power hitting [e,g cricket] there are Professional women's leagues in many countries [e.g big bash cricket league in Australia that has some superstars like Elise Perry who would be able to play OK in a men's league. Perry would make a medium pace men's bowler in cricket and a great batter]. – Snack_Food_Termite Oct 25 at 1:54
  • @Snack_Food_Termite - I disagree with the cricket example. Cricket does not need power hitting nor does it require the women to throw as hard/long. It isn't that the women are bad at these things it is how bad they are compared to other sports where in some they are very equal. If women were at a small college baseball level there would be leagues. They aren't. It is the subtlety in the disparity in baseball compared to other sports as the reason it will never get traction. – Coach-D Oct 25 at 4:35
  • No. Cricket, I can say to you assuredly, having followed cricket since 1980, that it does have power hitting. Indeed, the 20/20 form of the game is ONLY power hitting. The throws also have to be long and accurate. Also, in modern cricket there are cross batted shots such as the hook shot that are similar to baseball. From the youtube videos that I have watched, the main comment bel,ow them is that female baseballers' pitching is much slower. But I have watched the women's baseball world cup and there is complex fielding such as double plays. – Snack_Food_Termite Oct 25 at 13:56
  • @Snack_Food_Termite - yea I don't think you are getting it. I know and have played cricket. Power hitting is great but not needed. Also the comment on double plays... my 9 year olds baseball team turned two double plays last year. It still comes down to a women's baseball team would get beat by a group of select 16 year old boys. – Coach-D Oct 25 at 18:05

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