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Rhea Butcher talks about Anti-Trans Legislation in Arkansas and How Maria Pepe Became the First Girl To Play in the Little League

Last Played: April 05, 2021
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Rhea Butcher, the host of Three Swings, focuses on the forgotten history of baseball in women's and minorities' leagues. In this episode, they talk about Arkansas' new anti-trans legislation, including barring trans teens from playing in their chosen leagues, and how the first girl to play Little League Baseball defeats any argument against letting kids play.
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legislation to kick 1234 people off of a team. And also, I just want to point out I have not seen a bill yet that does not focus solely on trans girls. Uh and so I just want to present to you that that is misogyny towards the Trans Girls. And it's also misogyny towards trans boys that, like nobody really seems to give a shit about trans boys playing on sis Boys teams now, do they? Which is interesting to me and not lost on me, that people don't think there's an advantage to that. And so that also points to an essential nature that we're getting at, which is the privilege of being born. And I do mean born a boy in our culture. There are many things that you are afforded as opportunity possibility from the moment it is decided that you were a boy, Um and they also don't want anybody getting anywhere near that, but also don't seem to think that they have anything to worry about. And I think that's interesting. So to get to that, Uh, the source on this is Maria Pepe, the New Jersey girl who sued to play baseball with the boys by a friend of the show, Britney de la Prieta, Uh, from the Guardian. So I'm just gonna give you a quick rundown of the story. Maria Pepe may not be a household name, but hundreds of thousands of girls around the country have her to thank for the right to play baseball. In 1972 12 year old Maria decided to try out for a new Little League team with her friends in Hoboken, New Jersey She'd grown up playing ball in the streets with boys in her neighborhood. And so when the Hoboken young Democrats held a tryout, it seemed only naturally that people would show up. My friends all went in and signed their name, and I stood at the door. But my coach came out and he asked why I wasn't signing up. I looked at him and said, You think you would take a chance and let me sign up? My name is Maria, and he said, Can you play? And I was like, Yeah, there's no question I could play. Pepe made the team and batted over 300 in her first two games, The Bridgewater, New Jersey career news observed. Maria played right field and third base for the team when she wasn't at her primary position. The pitcher's mound. Her fastball is rated at at least equal to her teammates. But Word had gotten back to Little League headquarters in Pennsylvania, and they were not happy. After Kathryn Tubby Johnson played one season of Little League in 1950 the rules were changed to state that girls were not eligible under any circumstances. The league threatened to pull the city of Hoboken Charter, jeopardizing hundreds of boys access to baseball if Pepe wasn't removed from the team. So you can see that this is the same thing, right? Like the binary may have changed. The words may have changed, but this is exactly the same thing. It's exactly the same fear. It's exactly the same hate. It's exactly the same actions Her coaches were some of her biggest advocates. She plays for us because she's a good hitter in an outstanding fielder, the young Democrats manager Carmine Rhonda said at the time. If the National Office says, drop her or lose Little League in Hoboken will drop her, but it would be unfair. But after three games. That's just what they had to do. Pepe says that she was offered the opportunity to be the team's scorekeeper, which she did for one game. But that said that being out of the uniform and just keeping score was so extremely frustrating that I knew I couldn't do that anymore. How heartbreaking. How offensive? Um The news quickly escalated, catching the attention of the National Organization for Women who filed a gender discrimination lawsuit on her behalf. Little League brought in experts to testify why girls should be excluded from playing baseball with boys. Creighton Hale, a physiologist and executive of Little League, testified that a study from Japan showed that female bones can take less twisting. Let's wait before being crushed and bend less before snapping and male muscles are stronger. Men have a quicker reaction time and move quicker. Um, Creighton went on to conclude that a girl batter standing 46 ft from the picture the distance uh, in Little League baseball would be slower in getting away from a beanball than a boy, and an injury to the face would be disastrous for girls from a cosmetic point of view and then two years later, after a series of contentious court cases and appeals and appellate court ruled in Pepe's favor, making it illegal for Little League baseball to dismiss girls from teams based on their gender despite being ineligible to play in her hometown league because of her age after the ruling, Maria Pepe is now the reason why girls can play in youth leagues all across the country. So she herself did not get to benefit from a ruling in her favor. And so that is also something that pops out to me at this, which is you ban these kids from their teams and that's it. Like we're talking about kids, they're not going to be kids for much longer. And I don't I just don't you know, I just I just beg of anybody who's on the fence about this, um, to just open your mind to the fact that, like you might think that there's some inherent advantage, uh, to, you know, being assigned male at birth, um, and then transitioning to the gender that you actually are. Um and I would just I would just ask you to investigate. Why? You think that is whether that's true and that there might also be other reasons why kids play sports. And also ask yourself when there has ever been a time that telling people they are not allowed in has ever been a good thing. Just ask yourself that. Sit with that for a little bit. Just sit with. Just sit with the wondering when a sign on a door that says whites only has ever been a good thing. When a sign on a door that says You're not welcome here has ever been a good thing, let me know if you can think of a time that it's ever been a good thing, something that's coming to my mind. That I feel like somebody would bring up is like not allowing Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame. Well, that's because of his actions. So set that aside, I'm not talking about actions I'm talking about. You are not welcome here because of who you are, not what you've done but who you are. So just consider that and also bring that up to people who say they disagree, and they think you know these. These are the ways that we talk to people about these things it's not. You truly cannot yell at people and call them stupid. It just doesn't or hateful or whatever. No one will listen to that. And I'm I'm not. You know, it's just like nobody will listen to it and then they use it as an excuse and tell you you're the bigot and it's like, Okay and so feel free to do that. But they will keep doing that. People are more bound to listen when you say, like, when has it ever worked out well, to discriminate against people and keep them out of something? In my estimation, it never has. So if you guys want to stick around for another a couple minutes, I'm going to talk about men's baseball for a couple minutes. Here, Um, we've got a couple of teams that have everything on the line in 2021 this is from MLB dot com, which is the source for men's major league baseball. That's a joke. Here are five teams that are poised to have pivotal seasons in 2021 on the verge of either a successful era or a reevaluation rebuilding phase, which it seems like nearly every game in Major League Baseball. We got to rebuild. Um, which way do you think these teams will go this season? Rebuilding phases to me is let's read some profits and not spend any money. Um, so number one and this. This might actually be my number one, simply because the L. A Angels have Mike Trout, and it always feels like as long as my Mike Trout is in his prime, the Angels have as much pressure on them as any team in baseball. So this year is my year that I say the Angels must do something. Trout will turn 30 in August, and the Angels lineup editions this offseason have been helpful but minor. They got Dexter Fowler, Fowler and Jose Iglesias, which I did not even realize. And the rotation adds Jose Quintana and Alex Cobb, and those guys are serviceable at best. I think you know Rendon still on the hot corner, like, let's see, but I would love. I mean, I'm not like an Angels fan or anything, but I would love to see Mike Trout in October. My God, it's like getting silly at this point. Don't we all want to see Mike Trout in October. I think so. And then we got the Washington Nationals. The Nats are now a year removed from the world's World Series title over the Astros, and the rest of the National League East has risen up around them. Atlanta is the three time defending MLS champ. The Mets are aggressive in a way they haven't been in a decade, and the Marlins reached the NL division series last year. The Nats have a strong lineup core in one, Soto and trade.
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