Category Archives: baseball

Marketing to Women: You Are So Doing It Wrong

For all the substantial progress of feminism, the larger culture is still awash in portrayals of women that hew closely to the long-standing stereotypes, that push us to think about ourselves in terms of our attractiveness, our sexual appeal, our fashion sense, our youth, etc etc. These issues intrude, one way or another, into almost every facet of life- into our work and the beers after, into our family life and our relationships, into our education. There is always someone critiquing our bodies or our style. There is always someone trying to sell us a miracle skin cream or a pair of shoes or fucking yogurt or whatever on the grounds that it will make us more acceptably and attractively feminine. Now, we’re adults and we can handle it, but sometimes, frankly, the cultural stereotypes of heteronormative femininity are a pain in the ass. Sometimes one gets pretty fucking tired of being appreciated, shamed, warned, and appealed to ‘as a woman’.

This is a fantastically written piece, and while it’s specifically about hockey and the CBC’s new (and shamefully sexist) “While the Men Watch” broadcasts, it sums up how I feel about things like Baseball Boyfriend and the Victoria’s Secret cross-branding with MLB to a tee. People like Greg Papa have jobs and get to make face noise at me on my television on the regular, but Jaymee Sire and Susan Slusser barely get any attention. I can buy this or this but not a shirt or jersey of any past Giants great in women’s sizes. Meanwhile I can take my pick of Bonds, Clark, Mays, McCovey, Cepeda, Marichal, Snow, Kent, Aurilia (and probably more I’m forgetting) if I’m willing to buy a men’s size that will never quite fit the way I want to because hey, sorry, I do have tits and am not 6’ tall. Continue reading



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Intimate Baseball Confessions (And No, Not Like That)

I have a confession to make. It’s a confession that no one who is reading this on tumblr, and relatively few people who follow me on Twitter, will be surprised by, but I think it’s time I said it plainly and on the record.

I’m a baseball polyamorist.

You see, I’ve been baseball married to the Giants for pretty much my whole life. Certainly my whole life as a baseball fan, which is roughly twenty-two years and some change, if we’re dating it back to the 1989 World Series and my first clear memories of baseball. I won’t say it’s been a perfect marriage, but every relationship has its flaws, and we’ve learned to live with ours (and in this case by flaws I mean the Giants inability to have pitching and offense at the same time for most of my life and my inability to not scream profanities at the television and curse every one of their souls* at least 40-50 games a season). For better or worse, I swear on my Noah Lowry game used jersey, I will never leave them. Continue reading

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Call me a fan. Go right ahead. Say it to my face.

I was reminded today, for god knows what reason, of a conversation I had as a freshman in college, curled up late one night with dorm room coffee and too many books on French history and Shakespeare interpretation and web design and music theory, in the cozy but miss-matched lounge of my 1960s brick dorm, one of the ones mostly full of first years and sophomores because it didn’t have the allure of the gorgeous 19th C. column and stone step adorned ones on the main green. Somehow the snippets of conversation being tossed back and forth between bouts of reading and note taking had turned to baseball. It was early 2001, and here I was, a displaced California girl and Giants fan sharing threadbare but once lovely couches with a Yankee fan, a Red Sox fan, and her equally Bostonian boyfriend (as is entirely unsurprising, given that I went to college in New England). Now, I have to point out here that I am older than the hills in internet years, I realize, so you have to remember that this was back when the Red Sox were still cursed and the Yankees were a total juggernaut that seemed like it might never be stopped, which I felt like put me pretty squarely in the middle of the pack. The Giants had Barry Bonds and a shiny new ballpark, they had just won the division (and then gotten pretty roughed up by the Mets, but we can ignore that), and the pitching wasn’t yet a complete joke, so I mean, sure, I couldn’t really talk much shit to a anybody rooting for the navy pinstripes, but I could hold my own in this discussion.

Point being, things got a little heated as we eventually closed our books and shoved things aside to more accurately talk with our hands (including one memorable impression of Jason Varitek done by my Tino Martinez t-shirt wearing dorm mate in front of the fire place for extra “flames of hell” flavor (1)), finally ending with the Red Sox boyfriend, who was a pitcher at a nearby large university, shouting “you’re just fans!” before leaving to get a snack or smoke a cigarette or piece his fragile, barely post-adolescent masculinity back together, I’ll never know which (I admit I was better friends with the New Yorker, so we may have sort of ganged up on him a bit). In his world, calling us “just fans” was the heaviest insult he could level while within the confines of our exclusive women’s college that wouldn’t get him summarily beaten up and tossed off campus, possibly never to return. “Fans” was only one rung down, in the grand scale of insulting language, from things I would never, ever allow anyone to say to me. This guy would have called me a bitch before he told me I was “just a fan“, and at the time? Well, it was an oddity. A young guy who took his career as a D-1 middle reliever with no likelihood of being drafted too seriously for my already over-educated, eighteen year old taste.

It’s hard to say how the brain works, but I think maybe my sub-conscious drug this up from the annals of my random past because I’ve seen so many people denouncing the title of “fan” lately. Analysts who are loathe to admit they ever had any strong team loyalties to begin with, people who I would consider fans in a positive way riling at being referred to as such and demanding the title of analyst or at the very least blogger, balking I suppose at some connotation of fan as an overgrown man-child homer who yells puerile insults at the opposing team in between slugs of mass-produced domestic beer (2). That fan exists, sure as anything, but I know far more fans that aren’t that guy than who are. Being a fan means that you have a deep affection and attachment to something, no more and no less. That affection and attachment is a lifeline for so many of us, a touchstone through good and bad times in our lives and a connection point to form a larger community of people who entertain and support and educate us, who make us think and feel and love that much more. The fact that I keep seeing people want to disown that, as if there is some Hobson’s choice of intelligence and analytical ability or nothing, is disappointing to say the least.

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In which I dig female fans out from under the bus that’s been thrown on us again.

“Women fans only talk about looks.”

“Don’t be such a cleat chaser!”

“So you like baseball because of some guy, right?”

“You just think that/like that player/like that team because he/they are cute!”

Over the weekend I found myself, yet again, in the middle of having to defend the honor of female baseball fans against claims that we only want to talk about looks and derail the conversation to go to superficial places, only this time I was given the oh-so-fun challenge of doing so to another woman. Yep, this was not an unfortunately clueless male this time but in fact multiple women who were quick to throw our entire gender under the proverbial bus.

I sat there somewhat dumbfounded for a few minutes as I tried to process just where this type of “eat your own young” behavior could come from. Most of the female fans I’ve become friends with over the years have had to fight that sort of crap from men often enough, why would someone who has had to contradict that attitude then perpetuate the same kind of misogyny that makes everyone look bad (and, for the record, isn’t representative of the majority of fans of whatever gender, in my experience)? The more I thought about it, the more I kept coming back to one thing — that maybe one way to not get accused of being one of “those” female fans is to engage in the rhetorical equivalent of jumping up and down and yelling about how much all the other fans aren’t cool. Sort of a “no no no, don’t look over here, look over THERE!”, social media misdirection move. And well, I suppose I can see it. “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”, and all that.

But really? The kind of fans of whatever gender who would engage in making blanket statements about other groups of fans are precisely the ones that I’m disinclined to pay much heed. If I just wanted to be liked or blindly listened to in the baseball community, I’ve figured out ways I could do it. I could pull out every straw man and argumentative fallacy I could find and do a constant song and dance of “East Coast bias”, “traditional metrics suck”, “listen to the narrative”, “SABR geeks live in their mothers’ basements”, “Red Sox don’t want it”, and “Yankees buy championships” and probably have exponentially more Twitter followers and be at least marginally tumblr famous if I wanted to. But it would require pandering of the most gross and unappealing nature and alienating the fans and analysts whose opinions I respect and whose friendship I value. Continue reading

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