I’ve owned the domain name "redsoxchick.com" for a while. I’ve had the email address "chickie at redsoxchick.com" for years. So I’m not some Johnny come lately. But to be honest, I never realized all that much how many people laugh at women sports fans or just don’t take them seriously at all.
I’ve written about this briefly before…when I was ranting about the "Sports Guy"…and I spoke about it very briefly with MLB radio when I was interviewed back in September…but I’m STILL getting emails from women baseball fans (of all affiliations, I should mention, not just Red Sox fans) wondering how people react to my passion for baseball and the Red Sox.
I was fortunate to be born into a family with as many women sports fans as there are men fans. But I will never forget having drinks with coworkers about ten years ago. The Sox were on tv and one of the men in our group noticed my attention being taken away from the table and focussed on the television.
"Some day we’ll go to a game together, and I’ll teach you how to keep score," he says to me.
This is the way it is for a lot of women. When I told this guy that I knew how to keep score, he was genuinely surprised. See, this is why Bill Simmons makes me so mad. Because he’s married to some stereotypical "ooh sports are icky" woman, he perpetuates the myth that more woman are like her than actually are.
Go to any ballpark and talk to the women who are there. I guarantee you that you’ll find more woman who are there for more reasons than just "well, Jason Varitek is really cute".
But, I must admit, my introduction to baseball came because I was watching with my father and great-grandfather and I caught site of Freddy Lynn. Whoa, baby…he was a hottie! One glance at Freddy and my six year old butt was in front of the television any time the Sox were on!
But appreciating the good looks of the players was only the introduction. Wanting to pay attention to the players made me want to pay attention to the game.
Because, let’s be honest, baseball isn’t always the most exciting sport to watch, so digging on the cute guys was NOT enough to keep me interested.
Whenever anyone asks me about being a woman fan, I always tell them that women enjoy baseball on TWO levels…on the typical fan level, for love of the game itself and on the "chick" level, the "oh my God does Derek Jeter have beautiful eyes" level. (Mind you, that isn’t MY level, I’m trying to relate to ALL the fans here! My level is more, "God, Mike Timlin has the cutest freckles!")
I can rattle off stats as well as many…and I have vivid memories from baseball starting as early as 1975…one of my all-time favorite teams is the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates because that was the first World Series I stayed up for on my own to watch. I rooted for the Pirates when all the boys in my class were rooting for the Orioles just because they were American Leauge. I had "Tanner’s Terrors" and "We are Family" written on all my books. 1975 might be the year I started following the Sox, but 1979 was the year I started to love BASEBALL.
So maybe I do think the guys are cute. I can also call a balk usually before the home plate umpire does and my fantasy baseball teams usually kick butt.
At one of the last games of the season, they showed a tribute to Dennis Eckersley on the scoreboard and they listed all his accomplishments. Out loud, but to no one in particular I said, "I bet they won’t mention that he’s the guy who gave up "the" homerun to Kirk Gibson". A guy behind me leaned over and asked "he was?" – I just nodded and smiled and he says "Wow, you really know your baseball, huh?".
Uh, yes. Yes I do.
I’m at a place in my life when the people who know me also know about my passion for baseball and take it fairly seriously. Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s the fact that I speak fairly intelligently about baseball whenever the subject arises.
Whatever it is, I’m past worrying about being taken seriously by people who don’t know me. I speak (and write) about the sport I love. I know I’m not always right, nor is my opinion always popular, but it’s mine and I don’t ask anyone to subscribe to my point of view or my various beliefs. So there you have it.