Vinson: Can Mo'ne win the Cy Young Award?

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The cover page of the August 25, 2014 edition of Sports Illustrated magazine featured a photo of a determined-looking Mo’ne Davis, a 13-year-old black girl playing for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, hurling a pitch during the 2014 Little League World Series, which started on August 14, 2014 and ended on August 24, 2014.

 After throwing a “complete-game, two-hit shutout against an all-boys team from Nashville,” Mo’ne “received tweets from Michelle Obama to Billie Jean King . . .  and TV invites from Jimmy Fallon, Ellen [Degeneres] and Queen Latifah.”
(NOTE: Seoul Little League of Seoul, South Korea, defeated Jackie Robinson West Little League of Chicago, Illinois, 8–4 to win the 2014 Little League World Series championship.)

Mo’ne Davis is the first Little League baseball player to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated/SI as a Little League player, and, as SI noted, she “has owned sports conversation since her shutout of Tennessee [Nashville team] last Friday.”

Interestingly enough, however, is that Mo’ne Davis is not the first girl to play in the Little League World Series. By all accounts, she is the eighteenth girl, overall, to play, and the fourth American girl to play (since the Little League World Series began in 1947).

Over the past century, women have come a long way in terms of equality, more Gloria Steinem in 2014 than Ma Kettle in 1914. My personal opinion is that women are as intelligent and capable as men—even superior in some cases!

When it comes to sports, though, it is a scientifically-based, anatomical-physiological fact that men are bigger, stronger, and faster than women. Does this mean, then, that women should be excluded from playing men’s sports at the high school, college, and professional levels? Yes and no.

Concerning contact sports such as football, basketball, soccer, and hockey, and combative sports such as boxing, wrestling, and Mixed Martial Arts/MMA, I don’t think women should compete with men. Sure, from a perspective of physicality, there might be that rare female specimen every now-and-then who could compete, but generally speaking, “no.” And my reasons are simple: It would be too easy for women to suffer serious, life-threatening injuries. Also, most men would be reluctant to be as aggressive and hard-hitting against women as they would be against other men, thus taking away from the competiveness of the particular sport.

However, when it comes to golf, tennis, swimming, track & field, and baseball—more “skill” sports than contact sports—what would be the argument against women competing with men, if the women desire to compete and are physically up to par?

Hold onto the above question while I go back to Mo’ne Davis.

In addition to baseball, Davis also plays center midfielder on her school’s boys’ soccer team. Still, regarding her baseball prowess, the SI article reported “she’s five times better at basketball” and “her dream is to play point guard at UConn.”

For the sake of making a point here, let’s say Mo’ne Davis totally devotes the next few years to developing her baseball skills. At 13-years-old, she is listed as being 5 ft. 4 in. in height and weighing approximately 110 lbs. She already throws “a 70-mph fastball and the most talked-about curve east of Clayton Kershaw.”

Project seven years into the future, 2021: Mo’ne is 6 ft. tall, weighs 170 lbs., throws a 100-mph fastball, and has a curve that defies the laws of basis physics. Simply put, she is the best baseball pitcher on the planet. She could easily play in the Majors, be an all-star, and even win the Cy Young Award, given to the best pitcher in each the American League and the National League of Major League Baseball.

Major League Baseball/MLB is known as “America’s Favorite Pastime.” If the opportunity presented itself, would it “help” or “hurt” MLB, and society in general, to allow a woman to dominate men in a sport that has always been dominated by men?
Is this a sports issue?
Or is it more a chauvinism vs. feminism issue . . . the oldest issue in the history of the human race?

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Mike Vinson
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