Wednesday, June 17, 2009

When bad things happen to good people

The first women pitcher in Japan has suffered her first professional loss. I still think it's a publicity stunt more than anything else, and not a serious attempt to actually have a a woman play the game.

But regardless, she is on the team, and she's had to go out and pitch. I've played a game or so of semi-pro recently, and it's still not an easy game. So you have to wonder if the loss was because she's a side-arm knuckleballer or because she just can't physically get it done:

Eri Yoshida, a 17-year-old who throws a sidearm knuckleball, took the mound in the ninth inning with the score tied 2-2.
While she did throw a wild pitch to allow the winning run to score, that's not unusual for a knucleballer. Charlie Hough, Tim Wakefield, and the Niekro's had it happen to them. She also recorded a strikeout, so I would venture this isn't a good indication of whether she's actually a good pitcher.

The reason I think it's a publicity stunt:

The 5-feet, 114-pound Yoshida has appeared in only three of the Cruise 9's 22 games this season.
Of course, her size and her age may very well have something to do with her limited appearances. It will interesting to follow this throughout the season and see what she can do.

One thing to remember, however, is that even if this is a publicity stunt, she's has more professional decisions than most of us do. We're reading about it, she's doing it.

Link courtesy of the Honolulu


Bill said...

I bet the sight of a 5'-tall woman taking the mound against the big boys is quite a draw. It almost always is a publicity stunt--I remember when the St. Paul Saints (who at least back then were all about publicity stunts) signed Ila Borders, who threw about as well as a pretty decent small-conference high school pitcher. Still, good for her. It'd be interesting to see what that "sidearm knuckleball" does.

Ron Rollins said...

I'm kind of curious about that myself.

Her usage is probably due to her age, kind of like a Rule-5 draftee.

But eventually they'll have to give her some work just to show it isn't a stunt. It will be interesting.