Baseball isn’t just for boys. And MLB wants to make sure everyone knows it.
After the success of 2017’s inaugural Trailblazer Series, which brought girls from all over the country together to play baseball at the MLB Youth Academy in Compton, Calif., MLB and USA Baseball announced Monday that the second annual Trailblazer Series will take place April 12-15. Nearly 100 girls, ages 11 to 13, from 21 states, as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Canada, will gather on Jackie Robinson Weekend and play baseball together. The girls will also receive instruction from top female coaches and players from around the country.
The Trailblazer Series isn’t the only girls baseball event that MLB and USA Baseball are putting on this year. On Monday they also announced an all-new baseball program just for girls: the Girls Baseball Breakthrough Series, which is a development camp specifically for girls to be trained, instructed, and scouted by MLB teams. Girls under 17 will come to the camp, which is being held in Vero Beach, Fla., at Dodgertown, and receive on-field instruction like a mini version of spring training. The Breakthrough Series will be held from May 31-June 2.
As long as baseball has been played by kids in fields and in the streets, girls have been playing it. Little League Baseball officially abolished their boys-only rule in 1974, but that doesn’t mean girls today feel welcome to pick up a glove and a bat and take the field with a team made up of mostly boys. And some girls don’t even know that’s an option. MLB and USA Baseball are trying to rectify that, as USA Baseball executive director Paul Seiler said in a press release.
“USA Baseball has prided itself on providing an avenue for women to play baseball through the inception of our Women’s National Team program in 2004. It is inspiring to witness the tremendous growth in participation and popularity of women’s baseball in our country; and we are honored to work with Major League Baseball to continue providing fruitful opportunities for any young woman who is passionate about playing the game of baseball.”
USA Baseball has also received statements in support of girls playing baseball from many of their member organizations, like the American Amateur Baseball Congress, the Babe Ruth League, and Little League International.
There are still many barriers facing girls who want to play baseball. Part of the battle is recognizing those barriers exist, and then they have to be broken down. MLB and USA Baseball are making strides toward that, and while there’s still a tremendous amount of work to be done, their announcement on Monday is definitely progress.
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