It’s Wednesday, February 2, 2022. 

— Yes, it’s 2-2-22. My guess is that you’re in a state that has some kind of Pick Four lottery, that’s the combination that a lot of people will play today. 

By the way, to celebrate, I got today’s Wordle in two guesses.

What else is today?

Well, of course, it’s Groundhog Day. But unless you’re waxing rhapsodic about one of the best comedy films of my lifetime, who cares? 

If the groundhog that keeps burrowing under my house shows up to see her or his shadow, I’d like to be there to stun it and take it somewhere far away.

In addition, from what I see on social media, it’s National Girls and Women in Sports Day. A day that, I should be embarrassed to say, I didn’t know existed.

But I have thought a lot about girls and women in sports. In particular, my favorite sport, baseball.

So, let me get to my point:

— Today would have been a really good day to announce a women’s professional baseball league for North America.

There’s something strange about the fact that this doesn’t really exist. 

If you do a Google search, you will easily find current professional leagues in four other major sports: basketball, hockey, soccer (I hate soccer, but for argument’s sake, I’ll include it) and, yes, football. 

But do a Google search on women’s professional baseball and you get at least a full page of references to the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

You know what that is – unless you’re one of the five people who didn’t see “A League of Their Own.” The AAGPBL was formed during World War II in case men’s baseball had to be suspended due to the war effort. It inspired the Geena Davis-Madonna-Tom Hanks movie that has some of the best baseball action scenes to grace big and small screens.

But the league hasn’t existed since the 1950s. And despite the strides made in women’s sports since the adoption of the Title IX amendments for education in 1972, no sustained effort has been made to create a women’s baseball league.

Yes, there is a women’s national team – and that’s great. But it doesn’t feed into anything that pays athletes real money and creates nationwide fan interest. At least nothing a somewhat knowledgeable baseball is aware of.

Also, yes, women play softball. And the women who play softball are tremendous athletes. But softball is not baseball – it is just not as much fun to watch and its skillset is a little different.

I’m not privy to the rigors of training to play baseball. I played when I was a kid and I wasn’t very good – although the game-tying, bases-loaded, two-out in-the-bottom-of-the-final-inning, 3-2 pitch double I hit at age 12 has sustained me for more than 55 years.

— But I suspect women who play softball would be the best candidates to play pro baseball. In fact, I wonder if women would love the chance to prove their skills with a baseball.

I’m also confident that women’s athleticism has vastly improved in the 50 years since Title IX just because of the additional opportunity.

A successful women’s baseball league doesn’t need stupid gimmicks, although it could certainly use some of the promotions employed by men’s professional baseball. It could create rules that encourage and promote contact, playmaking and strategy – a different strike zone, the double base at first base are two things I’m thinking about right away. Since there’s not much precedent, tinkering with the game to make it better won’t have the sense of blasphemy of rule changes in men’s competition.

And success in a women’s game wouldn’t be defined as filling 40,000-plus-seat stadiums in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles at $100 a ticket. Start modestly – there are plenty of 3,000-10,000 seat stadiums in major metro areas or places unserved by Major League Baseball and its minor leagues.

Off the top of my head, in the New York area, there are good parks on Staten Island and where I live in Rockland County. I have no doubt that families will make the trip once in a while to see a professional game at a reasonable price.

The WNBA is a success – I think the games are more fun to watch than the NBA and the level of competition is outstanding. Two words: Sue Bird.

The National Women’s Hockey League and National Women’s Soccer League are growing. The Women’s Football Association will have its championship game televised on ESPN2 in July.

A women’s major league is worth a try. At the very least, as the men dawdle over labor negotiations and put the 2022 season at risk, it would be nice to pass a winter’s day mulling the prospects of the New York Warriors or the Los Angeles Battlers.

Announcing a women’s pro baseball league on National Girls and Women in Sports Day would have been an appropriate double play on 2-2-22.


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