AJ Andrews

A.J. Andrews becomes first woman to win a Gold Glove, but is it progress?


Does Andrews’ historic win make woman closer to playing baseball or was it just to keep the status quo?

No, it wasn’t on FOX’s new show “Pitch.” No, this time the woman who was recognized, she wasn’t a coach or a commentator, and no I didn’t have a weird dream but Friday night Rawlings gave away a Gold Glove Award to a GIRL. Her name? A.J. Andrews.

Andrews

A.J. Andrews makes a spectacular catch in the outfield. Getty Images.

Funnily enough, no I don’t watch “Pitch” and obviously she didn’t win it playing in the major leagues but A.J. Andrews does play in the only professional softball league in the United States, the National Pro Fastpitch League. I’ll  bet you didn’t know there was such a thing. To be honest, neither did I and in some ways that bugs me. Softball is just that … it’s softball and not baseball, and they games that are different.

In the literal sense fastpitch softball is not that much easier than playing baseball, but we are all indoctrinated to see it as far inferior to major league baseball. Now, I won’t lie. I agree that baseball is a harder game to excel at than softball. So what does that say about Andrews winning the award? 

She most certainly deserved the award. After watching several highlights, it was obvious that she is extremely talented. Check out this catch courtesy of the first female Gold Glove winner:

 

This was not even the first catch I saw by Ms. Andrews but they were all just as good. The only problem here, while Rawlings appears (and I am sure that is what they were truly trying to do) to have made great strides including women in the GG Awards, is that there are still reasons to believe that this was simply a way to maintain the status quo.

For example, why not give out one Gold Glove Award to each position player in the league the way they do with major league baseball? 

Jessica Mendoza. Getty Images.

Jessica Mendoza. Getty Images.

With woman creeping, slowly making progress in a male dominated area – from Sunday Night Baseball commentator Jessica Mendoza, to the first female coach in the majors Justine Siegal, to having a new t.v. show about a female pitcher in the bigs, to A.J. Andrews winning a Gold Glove Award – women are definitely making progress in sports.

 Does giving out the one award, instead of the 18 that are given out in the major leagues continue to pigeonhole woman into playing only softball?

Is awarding Andrews with a Gold Glove Award actually making progress for women to actually earning more respect in sports or is it in reality holding them back? To be honest and this may be odd but I don’t think that women should be playing baseball with the men in the majors.

However, there should be a professional women’s baseball league, not softball but baseball. It worked during World War II and think about what Mo’ne Davis did to the sport as just a girl playing ball with the boys. One day women will likely play with the men but that time is a long way off.

Still, is there anything wrong with letting women play baseball professionally? Of course not. And that is something that needs to happen, but probably in a women’s league. Women play basketball professionally and have for quite some time. It’s not really a crazy idea. 

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Mo’ne Davis. Sports Illustrated.

Women like A.J. Andrews, Jessica Mendoza, Justine Siegal and even young Mo’ne Davis are making huge strides for women in the game of baseball.

The fact that Rawlings gave a Gold Glove to a woman who plays professional softball is both a good and bad move. It still pigeonholes women into softball and not in baseball but at the same time, recognizing women’s athletic abilities is a step forward.

It will be decades before or if women are ever allowed in the big leagues but it shouldn’t be that long to make a women’s professional – baseball – NOT -softball league. Although even though it has happened before there’s a nagging feeling that it won’t happen. 

Whether it does or not, I congratulate A.J. Andrews for her athletic accomplishments. Her award was well deserved – but the fact that it is almost 2017, makes me think, “it’s about time” as well as “they’re making it appear we’ve come so far yet really it’s not quite as far as most of us would like to think.”