New TV show inspires female baseball players
Part of the all-new Fall lineup on FOX, Pitch is the inspirational story of Ginny Baker, a tough, gritty pitcher who makes history as she becomes the first woman to play Major League Baseball.
The show follows Baker (Kylie Bunbury) on her ascent to the Big Leagues and her journey paving the way for females in a male-dominated sport. Mark-Paul Gosselaar co-stars as Mike Lawson, Baker’s catcher and team captain who mentors Ginny along her dramatic and inspirational road to greatness.
Photo Credit: FOX Television, fox.com/pitch
Though Pitch is a fictional story, the game of baseball has been iconic among professional sports when it comes to inclusion beginning in the 1940’s with Jackie Robinson. Across the country today, many girls share the dream realized by Ginny Baker. Their passion, like their male peers, is the game of baseball.
In Sunrise, Florida, 13-year old Grace DeVinney plays for Girls Travel Baseball, a professionally run baseball organization devoted to providing the female athlete who wants to play baseball with an opportunity to do so and to succeed at it.
“As a former player, baseball to me is like a religion,” said Josh DeVinney, Grace’s dad, coach, and Director of Operations for GTB. “The game is dynamic in every aspect and will never be perfected by anyone but should be enjoyed by everyone regardless of race or gender or social status. We give these girls opportunities to play the game that have the same belief that we as coaches do. These girls are no dog and pony show though, and we have a track record to prove it.” GTB not only competes in major national tournaments against all-boy teams, but they do so successfully as the 12U team finished in third place this summer at the Baseball Youth Majors tournament.
GTB’s success and the tireless efforts of Josh and the entire organization has led to bigger opportunities. Earlier this month GTB hosted a national tryout at Marlins Park in Miami and got to take batting practice, run through drills, and enjoy the game in a Big League stadium.
Photo credit: Girls Travel Baseball Twitter @GirlsTravelBall
Travis Aldrich brought his 10-year old daughter Chloe from Cypress, Texas to the GTB tryout in Miami. Chloe plays on an all-boys team in Cypress, but being the only girl doesn’t deter her at all.
“For her, it’s about doing something she loves with her friends; plain and simple,” Travis said of Chloe. “Pretending to be an MLB player and acting out scenarios with her crazy dad is something she will always have when I am long gone. Baseball has always been a way for us to bond and to compete. Hopefully the game treats her well and she can pass that love onto her family someday.”
Anyone can be inspired by Pitch’s message, but for many young girls living out their baseball dreams on diamonds across the country, it’s much more than that.
“The game of baseball has always been there for me,” said Travis. “What I learned about being part of something with a team and how to handle adversity is what I hope resonates with my daughter as even today it keeps me grounded. I can’t think of anything else where you can fail most of the time and still be a winner. I know she is too young to realize it but that is what it is about. Having my person be a better person when she grows up.”
“As not only a coach but also as a father, Pitch shows these girls that play baseball that there is always a possibility of them being able to pursue their dreams,” said Josh. ”We have always relied on Jackie Robinson’s story but now there is a character closer to home regardless of if it’s only a television show.
It gives my daughter and her teammates motivation to keep moving forward and it shows the world that the notion of a female playing baseball at the higher levels is slowly but surely becoming more acceptable.”
To learn more about GTB, visit girlstravelbaseball.com or follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @GirlsTravelBall, and be sure to catch Pitch every Thursday at 9 PM ET/8 PM CT this fall on FOX.
“The show Pitch is exciting because it shows another female playing in a male dominated sport much like my teammates and I do with GTB,” Grace said. “It shows me that dreams are possible.”