Time for a League of Their Own

Things To Do

Pictured: 2022 All-American Women's Baseball Classic

Baseball has long been hailed as America’s pastime. And it’s true, baseball is the United States’ oldest, original, organized sport. However, America’s pastime hasn’t always been for everybody. As the sport exploded in popularity in the late 1800s, an alternative sport, softball, was constructed for women to play, with larger balls and smaller fields. While softball is an exciting, fast and truly original sport, with a large and passionate fan base of its own, the distinction between baseball and softball has inherently left a specific group of people out of luck: the women who love to play baseball.

On November 17, Sarasota’s Ed Smith Stadium will host the 2nd Annual All-American Women’s Baseball Classic Tournament, a three day event hosted by American Girls Baseball. The tournament, which includes 52 female baseball players from across the country–many of which were recently selected to be on USA Baseball’s 2023 National Team–will feature four teams with eight professional coaches as well as a free skills clinic hosted by the tournament players on Monday, November 20 for girls up to 16 years old.

American Girls Baseball is an affiliate of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Players Association. The AAGPBL, popularized by the 1992 film A League of Their Own, was a professional women’s baseball league that ran from 1943 to 1954, originally started by Major League Baseball executives to provide the public with baseball while many of their players were serving in World War II. Sue Zipay, Founder and President of American Girls Baseball and the organizer of the tournament, was a member of the AAPGPBL’s most successful team, the Rockford Peaches from 1953 to 1954. “The initial idea for the tournament was for me to get the public to see how well these women can play baseball. Not many people in this country have ever seen high level girls play,” says Zipay. “I’ve had girls who are 13, 14, 15 years old come crying to me about how now that they’re out of Little League they have to switch to softball and that they don’t like softball and I think to myself, that was me some 80 odd years ago, having to play softball while I looked over at the boys baseball team in school and knew that I could play as well as they could.”

Zipay’s mission with American Girls Baseball is to build enough momentum and excitement so that a women’s professional baseball league can once again be alive and well. “It’s the right thing to do. The time is now for another league of our own,” says Zipay.

November 17 to 19, Ed Smith Stadium, 2700 12th St, Sarasota.

Pictured: 2022 All-American Women's Baseball Classic

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