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Since When Did Playing Like A Girl Become A Bad Thing?

Jess Walter, Writer

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Softball vs. baseball:  Which is more challenging?   This debate  has been going on for a long time. The games are very similar in the way that they’re played.  Some may even say they go hand-in-hand, but each one is complex in it’s own way.

It is often portrayed that baseball is more difficult because people typically think male sports are more competitive and more difficult.  Even though it is often thought that baseball is harder, I have some insight on why it’s not as it seems.

The dimensions of a softball diamond are different from a baseball diamond, and therefore softball batters must react more quickly.  The distances from home plate to the pitcher’s mound are different.  There is 37 feet from the pitcher’s hand when she releases the ball to home plate on a softball diamond.  While it is 60.5 feet on a baseball field.  This means softball players have less time to react to a pitch.  Some of you may be thinking, “Well, baseball pitchers throw the ball faster.”  You are correct, BUT statistically, if an elite baseball pitcher is throwing a fastball of 100 mph, it will reach the plate in 38 hundredths of a second.  While a softball batter only has 35 hundredths of a second when hitting a fastball thrown 70 mph.  So, a softball batter has less reaction time to make a great hit.  Crazy right?

Pitching is an other aspect of baseball and softball to consider when making comparisons.    Softball pitchers throw underhand while baseball pitchers throw overhand.  Pitching underhand is a very complex skill that only few can master.  Why? The way a baseball pitch is thrown is very similar to the way we all first learned to play catch.  The motions are the same, so all softball players are capable of throwing a baseball pitch down the center of home plate because we’ve been throwing overhand ever since we started playing.  However, it takes years to learn how to throw an underhand pitch down the middle, not to mention the the other different pitches softball pitchers have to learn to do UNDERHANDED–drop in, drop out, rise ball, change up, knuckle change, etc.  A skilled softball pitcher has it tougher than a baseball pitcher when developing skills.

Have you ever wondered why you don’t see someone slap hit in baseball?   A slap hit is typically for left-handed batters.  It allows the batter to side step and run towards the ball when it’s being pitched and SLAP the ball.  Some fielders may identify a slap hitter as a bunter, so the infield begins to creep in and leave gaps.  That’s when the slap hitter should know where to hit, or slap, the ball.  If the hitter hits a gap, she will almost always be able to get to first. Since most slap hitters bat from the left side, that also gives them an advantage when running to first base.  Running at the ball and towards the pitcher when batting also gives them a huge advantage, when in return gives the fielders even less time to get the ball to first base.  Slap hitting is a skill that once again, only a few can grasp because of its complexity and makes it extremely difficult for the fielders to make an out.

Playing like a girl is starting to sound like a good thing, isn’t it?  Not to bash all you baseball players or anything, but softball is just as difficult, if not more, than baseball.  Many times softball gets overlooked because it’s a girl’s sport, but the next time someone tells you that you “play ball like a girl,” take it as a compliment, smile, and say thank you.

So just for kicks and giggles, click the link below to see Jennie Finch, All-American Softball pitcher, strike out Albert Pujols, LA Angel’s first baseman.

Jennie Finch Strikes Out Albert Pujols

 

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