On Baseball and Boyfriends

So Baseball Boyfriends then.

In our accelerated internet mediascape, this story has already been pored over form every conceivable angle. Part of me believes that something as laughable as Baseball Boyfriends is its own punchline, and that women who feel offended by it don't need me to mansplain or express outrage on their behalf. However, I do feel compelled to write about it briefly anyway, because of two people in my life.

The first is my mom. I would not be a baseball fan were it not for her. My dad couldn't have cared less about spectator sports, save the games his kids played in, but my mom is a huge baseball fan. At her job, where she has email but no web access, I send her detailed in-game updates every time the Mets play a weekday day game. She lives and dies with them, but in a healthy way, if that's possible. She will never miss a game if she can help it and gets very upset when they lose. ("Those STUPID Mets!" was a frequent refrain in our house growing up, particularly during the Jeff Torborg/Dallas Green era.) But once a game is over, she quickly recovers and looks forward to the next one.

She comes from a generation that neither expected nor acknowledged female fanhood. She was not wooed to the game of baseball by any outreach on MLB's part, sexist or otherwise. She simply had the luck of growing up in Queens in the 1960s, when it was nearly impossible to not like the Mets, even when--especially when--they were terrible. But I wonder if something equivalent to Baseball Boyfriends had existed then, if she wouldn't have just said screw this and written off the sport entirely, since it is a game that seems laboratory engineered to annoy her, and millions of other women, I'm sure.

Dscn3074_medium
The second person is my daughter. She likes baseball, loves going to CitiField, and has said more than once this offseason that she misses Jose Reyes. (I'd rather tell her there's no Santa Clause than tell her about what happened to Jose.) She's also told me, "Nobody else on the school bus likes the Mets, but I do," thus indicating a precocious ability to resist school bus peer pressure.

But she also gets constant cues from the outside world that there are boy things and girl things. She definitely does not get these ideas from home. They are simply Out There; finding this out was an early, crushing lesson in how much you as a parent can not control. Personally, I don't want to raise my child to think there are things she can't do, even if it's a boy thing. I'd prefer she believe the sky is the limit and feel free to choose whatever path she wants. Despite me constantly telling her that she can do anything she wants to do, she will still ask me if girls can do Thing X, or that boys can't do Thing Y.

The reason Baseball Boyfriends bothers me is because it says that girls aren't active participants in life. They can't dream of accomplishments of their own. They can only observe the accomplishments of men and judge their cuteness while doing it.

Like any parent, I simply want my daughter to find happiness. I couldn't care less whether she dreams of growing up to be a pretty pretty princess or a shutdown closer. I do care that she might think only of one of those things is possible.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Amazin' Avenue

You must be a member of Amazin' Avenue to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Amazin' Avenue. You should read them.

Join Amazin' Avenue

You must be a member of Amazin' Avenue to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Amazin' Avenue. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker