OT - Grantland on the Girl/Baseball issue from last week

Submitted by JeepinBen on May 15th, 2012 at 9:49 AM


I thought this was extremely well written. Let's try to keep the politics/religion respectful, we did in the last thread.

I think Pierce hits a lot of correct notes here. I thought his "lack of justification" about baseball was quite interesting. And, of course, the kicker:

For all the theological dust they've thrown up to cover their cowardly retreat, Our Lady of Sorrows plainly and simply didn't want to lose to a girl.



May 15th, 2012 at 10:02 AM ^

A lot has been made of it but they didn't demand she not play - they chose not to because of their beliefs. Is that belief silly/stupid/whatever? Just depends on who you are and what you think. I don't have a single problem with what they did because they didn't force their beliefs on others - they elected not to play. The world would be a much better place if people would do that rather than demand someone else change to reflect their views.

Makes me think of Biggest Loser this season - Mark and Buddy thought what they were doing was wrong so they stuck with their beliefs and left. I actually think that's great that people would care about their beliefs more than some temporary glory or money but that's just me and I think they've made a much bigger deal out of this than it really is but that's the way media works these days...


May 15th, 2012 at 10:32 AM ^

And it appears that they believe in holocaust denial, women should not go to college and that the US government caused 9/11 (probably related to some crazy Jewish conspiracy theory).  I can’t really jump on board with the whole “they were just standing up for their beliefs” argument.  Their beliefs are dangerous (see Nazi Germany) and they are educating kids which could be seen as forcing beliefs on others.  I have no problem calling the school out on all this.



May 15th, 2012 at 11:14 AM ^

This isn't Germany so it's not illegal to say the holocaust didn't happen not is any of their other beliefs. Do I think they are stupid? Absolutely but that's part of having a free society - what if you believed something that 99.9% of people think is stupid and you were forced to give that up because of majority rule? It's a slippery slope to be sure but unless we continue to legislate what freedom really means we can't force them to change their views. You don't have to be friends with them, you don't have to agree with them but, ultimately, they haven't broken any laws so..

Just to be clear - I think what they did was stupid and the argument about contact is pushing it as best since its baseball but if they really believe that and they are willing to forfeit to support that they are fully within their rights (as annoying as that may be).


May 15th, 2012 at 3:18 PM ^

That they should have been prevented from forfeiting the game.  They are free to hold, and advocate, their opinions and beliefs. Government does not have the right, nor should it, to stop them.

The media, internet posters and the average citizen have every right to call them out as being wrong however.  They also have the right to dig into the organizations history and previous statements to make arguments demonstrating why they are wrong.  Free speech works both ways.  You can say what you want free from government interference.  Everyone else is also free to comment on your speech and call you out on things they find objectionable.

Freedom of speech, religion and assembly are some of the greatest things about America.  It does allow people to advocate really ugly positions (see the Westboro Babtist Church), but I am more than willing to accept the trade off for freedom.  Since we agree that government should not restrict speech, or determine what is “dangerous”, it is up to the citizens to identify objectionable beliefs and ideas and offer arguments for why the organization or individual is wrong. I think that is what the people who object to the Schools actions are doing.  Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from criticism of your beliefs.



May 15th, 2012 at 12:46 PM ^

I just finished reading some stuff about them, no where did I see anything that you mentioned. Please let me have some links to validate said wild stories.


EDIT: ok, upon further reading, the group does have some Anti-semitic leanings and does not seem to be as nice as you might think. Still I have a tough time not letting them be who they want to be, even if most all of us would disagree with them.


May 15th, 2012 at 4:10 PM ^

First, I am not advocating that they cannot have their beliefs or that government should do something about their beliefs.  I would also agree that governments have used the idea of dangerous beliefs to restrict freedom and advance their agenda for most of history.  This does not however mean that dangerous beliefs don’t exist. Dangerous beliefs become a problem when those who have the beliefs gain power and enforce the beliefs on others.  One way to prevent those with dangerous beliefs from gaining power is to point out the problem with their belief.

Examples of dangerous beliefs

  • Women who have sex out of wedlock should be stoned to death.  This is particularly dangerous if you are an unmarried women in the mid east.
  • All Mexican are drug smugglers.  This is a problem if the law enforcement officer who pulled you over thinks this and you are a Mexican
  • The college bowl system should be eliminated in favor of a NCAA playoff.  This is a problem if you are a bowl director making $500,000 per year and the majority of the school presidents come to believe this.



May 15th, 2012 at 6:16 PM ^

labeling beliefs "dangerous". Are Noam Chomsky's beliefs dangerous because they cast the US in a very negative light? To many Americans they are insofar they aware of who Noam Chomsky is.

What is dangerous very much depends on who is applying the label. For example, some think support for gay marriage is a "dangerous" activity because it threatens(in their view) a pillor of the Christian Civilization.  The use of the word danger implies that the object being labeled so is an imminent  threat to person/country/insitution.  It implicitly encourages the listeners  to "do something" to eliminate that danger.

The only time I would use the word dangerous is if a person makes an explict threat to the safety of a person or place. Otherwise, ideas are just ideas.




May 15th, 2012 at 10:34 AM ^

That sounds wonderful, except for the fact that what it reveals about their views of women.  Refusing to play baseball against a girl reveals an obvious belief in female inferiority.  That's the problem I have with the whole ordeal.

Hardware Sushi

May 15th, 2012 at 10:09 AM ^

The 'kicker' ruins the article for me. I hate when writers can't articulate their point strongly enough and fall back to middle school-style arguments of "well you just didn't want to lose to a girl".

Regardless of how nutty the leaders of this sect of the church are, they're entitled to refuse to play when something doesn't fit their beliefs. They didn't say Paige couldn't play in the baseball league; they said we refuse to play your team based on our beliefs. The majority of people in this country can disagree with it but that's the entire point of protecting freedom of religion.

The whole article seems to miss the primary issue at hand here.

And it's second baseman. Not baseperson. Regardless of sex. There is no baseperson position. Ask Rich Eisen (bottom right).


May 15th, 2012 at 10:17 AM ^

I have to agree... for such a well-written, and clearly well-researched article, the "kicker" is childish at best.  To take so much time to explain this group's ideology and its background, and then to throw it all out the window and suggest they forfeited because they're "scared to lose to a girl" really takes away from any journalistic credibility built up in the first umpteen paragraphs.


May 15th, 2012 at 10:19 AM ^

...last night, substitute some other category of person for girl (race, religion) and you realize how outrageous this is.

This should remind us of the 1934 Willis Ward incident.


May 15th, 2012 at 10:28 AM ^

Valid but...this is a very small (minority opinion) group not accepting the majority group concept. The previous cases were where the majority was forcing the minority into a situation. In this case the minority opted out of the situation. While similar I think it is different enough to be non-threatening.



May 15th, 2012 at 3:01 PM ^

Sure it would. I get the linkage but I still don't see it as the same level of offense. Let me word it two different ways.

1) We hate girls in boys sports and want you to take her off the team.

2) We don't believe in girls and boys engaging in close physical sports together and our team will choose not to participate.


Option 1 really puts the onus on the other team, suggesting that they in fact are wrong and must change. It also seems to come from someone who is used to being in authority.

Option 2 states that they don't think it is correct to have mixed sports and will not participate, it is their choice not to participate.

It makes a difference on how it is stated and communicated. I think the SSPX has some backwards ideas, but we (America) have been known to allow that, see Amish, Hutterite, or any number of minority religious groups. They are not using political muscle to force the rest of us to accept their beliefs or to interfere with anything else. At the end of the day, it was a baseball game, that is all, nothing more, nothing less. One team one and one team lost. It has already been blown up more than it should have.




May 15th, 2012 at 10:27 AM ^

Specifically for sports - are guys allowed to play collge softball? What about women's basketball or in the WNBA. Subtitute their rules (no boys) with a race/religion and every single league, organization, anything that excludes a certain group is outrageous. So, by your argument women's sports that don't allow men are outrageous... The blade swings both ways...

Hardware Sushi

May 15th, 2012 at 10:49 AM ^

Bigmc6000's point is still valid in drawing that parallel, just use a different sport.

How do you feel about letting men participate on women's gymnastics, field hockey, and crew teams at schools that don't offer those for men?

My public high school didn't allow men to participate on our volleyball team but offered no other option for me to participate in volleyball. I suck at volleyball and wouldn't have made the team, but the point still remains that it can be a double-edged sword when you start comparing situations.


May 15th, 2012 at 11:06 AM ^

I said you can't just say if you replace the word "female" with "Jewish" and you realize it's outrageous. She is a legit member of the team and she deserves to play. However, the other is in their right to forfeit because of it - they didn't say she wasn't allowed to play. They know she's allowed to play and they knew they would have to forfeit so they did.

Hardware Sushi

May 15th, 2012 at 12:24 PM ^

You're really missing the point that's being made.

I don't think anyone here has an issue with her playing or said she wasn't part of the team. The point is that there IS a rule for those girls playing boys sports and ISN'T a rule that says boys can play on the women's team (if there isn't a boys team) but people aren't screaming OUTRAGE. The idea is that the logic being tossed around in the arguments above can go both ways - male or female.

I don't know how I can be more direct about this.


May 15th, 2012 at 1:37 PM ^

If you think there is a lack of opportunities for boys to play sports you are kidding yourself.  The rule was put in place to allow a girl to play on the boys team in situations where tere weren't enough girls to field a team.  The school in question barely has enough boys to field a team.  They only have 11 players including the girl.

The idea that boys are somehow being held back because they aren't allowed to play women's volleyball or women's field hocky is ridiculous.




Hardware Sushi

May 15th, 2012 at 2:00 PM ^


That was you missing the point for a second time. You're disagreeing with something I didn't even say. No one has said boys are held back because they aren't allowed to play women's sports. We both agree that is ridiculous. I am trying my best here - the point is a response to MWolv: It sounds ridiculous to substitute another group (religion, race, etc.) for the girl in this situation. How does this sound:

"New Berlin Little Hitlers refused to play Troy Athens because Troy has a Jewish shortstop and the Little Hitlers don't believe in inter-race sports."

That's pretty bad. Now how do you feel when you read this:

"The Marian volleyball team refused to play Seaholm because they have a boy on their team and their faith doesn't believe in boys playing womens' sports."

Id bet there's a lot less outrage and more "why is the boy on the girls' volleyball team" but it's still the same situation - a team is refusing to play an opponent because of an individual's characteristics. I'm not arguing anything boys or girls or religion or race. I'm just showing an example from a contrarian viewpoint and how a similar situation elicits different responses. If this doesn't work, I give up. MWolv already gave the TL;DR version.


May 15th, 2012 at 7:01 PM ^

How do I feel about that?  Well I think the Martians are pretty stupid that they need something as complicated as religion to tell them something as basic and obivous as "boys aren't allowed to play women's sports", That's what I think.

 Your whole substitution point works fine when you are substituting another race/religion in for the girl.  It breaks down in the case of a boy on a girls team because you are talking about someone who may have a built-in physical/biological advantage over all other contestants.  There is a difference between being discriminated against because someone is trying to "keep you down" and being kept  out of a league because you are too good for the league.  It's similar to the age limit in Little League--you are trying to restrict the league to a certain skill set, and allowing men in a women's league kind of upsets the apple cart.  How do you feel when I say

"The Marian volleyball team refused to play Seaholm because they have a girl on their team who is too old to qualify under league rules."?

Does that upset you?  Leagues have rules to promote certain levels of competition.  I think restricting the league to only women is a perfectly reasonable thing for a league to do. 

That being said, I do feel for that boy that loves field hockey, as there are just no men's leagues that play that. in the US.  I don't know what the answer is.


May 29th, 2012 at 7:24 PM ^

Perhaps more to the point: college football eligibility rules that prevent professionals from coming in and beating the crap out of college students.

All sports are meant to be conducted in competitive atmosphere; it just so happens that the one this blog covers most closely does one of the worst jobs of creating a generally level competitive environment.

This whole argument really comes down to a violation of the spirit of athleticism, not prejudice. That the esprit du sport was violated because of prejudicial beliefs is what makes it so outrageous. But come back to the core of the problem here and it's that the championship game for the entire league of schools had to be canceled over one school's prejudicial beliefs.

The reason the Olympics are an international peace mission unto themselves, the reason college sports have conferences, the reason that privately owned professional sports franchises are organized by leagues with almost limitless powers of direction over those sports, all comes down to the most basic and essential thing about sports: It's a fucking game! 

You don't play Monopoly against someone who says Ventor Ave. doesn't count when they land there. You don't play baseball against a team who decides they can change up their lineup any time they want. And if your league says a girl who can hack it with the boys and has no like-sport offered at her school wants to play, you either leave the game because you don't want to play by those rules, or you play the game.

The world and its rules and animosities and prejudices and everything else is suspended and replaced by the game. When you step on that field, you are bound by the agreed upon rules of the game. You compete to win the game. It is an escape, and any animosities from outside that you bring to it must be handled within the context of the game itself. This extends to the organization. If you join a league, you are agreeing to compete by the game's laws, in the game's world. That means if you have a problem with the gender of the other team's 2nd baseman, you must handle it within the context of the game.

This school violated the very foundation of athletic competition because they believed their personal beliefs are more important than the rules of the game that they previously agreed to. We neither need to justify nor condemn those beliefs, because their approach to sports is quite simply chickenshit enough to condemn them out of the league.


May 29th, 2012 at 8:21 PM ^

have a headache.  This is such a 1970s issue.  I remember when girls first started to nplay on my Little League team.  Oh the outrage from the Old timers.  Thank God my coach was a level-headed person.  He saw the raw talent and this girl not only could play, she was our starting pitcher on a championship team.  I just loved to tease the other guys.

This situation is just a way for the coach to protect his boys from humiliation.  I get it.  Just dont hide behind Jesus.  Im sure He had His popcorn and waiting to watch a good game.  It is  game and only a game.  What is wrong with playing the game?


May 15th, 2012 at 1:49 PM ^

No matter how much he simplifies it. He's not saying it's a grave injustice that boys aren't allowed to play (and dominate) a women's field hockey team. He's saying that comparing that, or the opposite, to race or religion or whatever, is a false comparison, because there are legit reasons to separate boys and girls from playing, and there aren't any for people of different races, etc.

Your example actually illustrates it perfectly. The girl is allowed to play because they're not able to field a softball team full of girls.  But likewise a boy isn't allowed to join a field hockey team because a school doesn't offer boys field hockey (and a lot of high schools don't have ice hockey teams either). It's exactly the same thing, with different results. Your answer that "a boy who can't play those volleyball can go play baseball or football" while at the same time saying "a girl HAS to play baseball, because she can't play softball" rather than saying she should go play volleyball or field hockey is the only ridiculous contradiction here.


May 15th, 2012 at 6:58 PM ^

Do you really think there are just tons of guys out there clamoring to join women's sports teams that are being denied the opportunity?  Really?  Yeah I know there is that one guy who wants to play field hockey and seems pretty sincere about it.  Outside of him and a handful of other guys over the years, what guys are really being denied sporting opportunities by saying they can't play on the girls team?

These things have to be handled on a sport-by-sport basis.  I think this one makes sense. The preferred solution is to field a softball team.  If you can't do that, then you let the girls play on the baseball team.  I can't believe that solution is causing people to whine about guys not being allowed to play women's volleyball.


May 15th, 2012 at 10:58 AM ^

It gets tough.  I'm very sympathetic to the young man who's not being allowed to play field hockey (link below).  The problem arises when you imagine a world in which a bunch of boys try out for field hockey and eventually dominate that sport and most other girls sports (I don't think they would dominate gymnastics, FWIW), leaving little room for girls to be involved in athletics...I suppose if I was running a school that I wouldn't prohibit either gender from playing any particular sport unless and until I was running the risk of having something other than a 50/50 split in terms of overall participation (I realize that balancing that would be difficult). 

I know you asked about the general idea, but it's worth remembering here that Mesa did not have a rule against the young woman playing.  She tried out for and made the team.  It was Sorrows who declined to fulfill their commitment to the league by pulling out of the championship game. 




May 15th, 2012 at 11:07 AM ^

There is a HS in central Ohio that has allowed boys to play on the girls field hockey team in the past (the school name escapes me, it was featured on ESPN a few years ago) bc there is no boys team. Title IX does work both ways...odd I know, but this particular story bothers me bc if a girl/woman has the fortitude to play organized sports with boys/men more power to them. I've played football against a team that had a girl playing for them, just treated her like any other player, and that's how it should be. Between the lines, an athlete is an athlete regardless of anatomy.


May 15th, 2012 at 10:19 AM ^

I feel bad for both teams here... I suspect you have two teams of kids who just want to get on the field and play ball for the championship.  Leave it to the adults to screw it up for everyone.


May 15th, 2012 at 10:29 AM ^

Why did Sorrows already play them in the regular season, but then chose not to play them in the championship?

To me, it does sound like they didn't want get their asses handed to them again.


May 15th, 2012 at 10:49 AM ^

This entire story is disturbing on many levels. I have many thoughts, but I will just outline them & keep this brief.

  1. From my perspective, Our Lady of Sorrows is loony and out of touch. It particularly bugs me that they in some way suggest their position is based on the Bible. I appreciate and agree with the Grantland article on this point.
  2. At the same time, I respect their right to forfeit the game. They are being ridiculed for standing up for their convictions. I actually applaud them for their consistency in this regard.
  3. I don't much care for the Grantland article. The author (Pierce) is patronizing at best and mean-spirited and manipulative at worst.
  4. As for his argument that Our Lady didn't want to be beat by a girl, it would help if he provided support for this. As in, how many games did they actually play previously (two or four?) Did Paige actually play against them previously? If so, what was her batting average against Our Lady?
  5. This whole incident highlights something in our culture I don't much care for. Namely, under the guise of tolerance and broad-mindedness, there is quite often a complete lack of tolerance for those whom the general culture disagrees with. As stated above, I don't agree with the position taken by Our Lady of Sorrows, or the schismatic organization behind it. Nonetheless, I respect their right to take an unpopular position and to follow it through consistently.


May 15th, 2012 at 11:03 AM ^

If they were sitting out because they refused to play against a black or a Hisplanic player, would you still respect it?


Their position is bigoted and mysogynistic.  Since they are a private school I suppose they have the right to behave this way (as long as they actually provide teams for their girls to play on), but they really should find a sports league that consists of like-minded neanderthals to play with rather than ruining the league for everyone else.