There’s a video clip on Facebook that really brought a smile to my face. Paige Parker from the national champion Oklahoma Sooners was going to throw out the first pitch a Kansas City Royals game. As we would expect she planned to throw the pitch underhanded and needed to warm up. She goes to the batting cages under the stadium with a couple of the Royal players and the exchange that follows is priceless.
One of the Royals volunteered to catch her as she warms up. The first rise ball almost knocked him off his feet and the catcalls and laughter from his teammates that you hear had to be expected. Then as Paige continued to pitch you hear the admiration and amazement in the baseball players comments. They are blown away by what they are seeing. And they are just trying to catch the ball, not hit it.
Every couple of years, someone raises the question of what is harder to do: hit a baseball thrown overhand or hit a softball pitched underhand? Sexism sometimes rears it’s ugly head among the baseball advocates who just can’t imagine that the softball is really all that hard to hit. ESPN even did a Sports Science episode arguing this very point.
We can also YouTube clips of Jenny Finch and Stacey Nelson striking out professional baseball players and big time men’s slow pitch players, so the evidence is pretty clear. When Jenny was barnstorming around the country she routinely struck out baseball players of all levels. Maybe the ultimate sign respect took place when she was pitching against players in her husband’s professional organization. He had to tip off one of his friends to when she was going to throw her backbreaking change up.
Seeing these examples of why hitting a softball is so difficult are always fun to watch. But nothing is more impressive than to hear the comments of these professional baseball players as they try to catch one of our games best.
About The Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wisconsin and is now working as a professional softball instructor. /p>