Monday, June 8, 2009

This Chick Rox!

Meet 33 year-old Justine Siegal, and as far as anyone can tell, she is the first female coach in men's professional baseball. How cool is that???
Justine is the first base coach for the Brockton Rox, an independent minor league baseball team based in Brockton, MA. Siegal, who joined the team last month, was a former pitcher and third baseman who is also married and the mother of an 11 year-old daughter. According to Brockton Rox bench coach, 50 year baseball veteran Ed Nottle, Sunday's Boston Herald reported him as saying, "People have to be given opportunities," he said. "No matter how this turns out, I think this is going to mean a lot to all the young girls out there. For that reason alone I am behind her."

It would also seem that not everyone thinks this is so cool. Some followers of The Rox have been pondering whether Siegal is a real baseball coach or if this is just a publicity stunt. Siegal was hired by Mike Veeck, part owner in the Rox team, who also owns minor shares in six other independent minor league teams. Veeck is the son of the late Bill Veeck, who at one time was the owner of the old St. Louis Browns. Bill Veeck was the architect of one of the most memorable publicity stunts in sports to date. In 1951, while running the St Louis Browns he signed a midget named Eddie Gaedel who went to bat against Detroit Tigers pitcher Bob Cain, drew a walk and then disappeared, never to be seen again.

The Boston Sunday Herald quoted Mike Veek, "She's an experiment," he admitted. "But some- body's gotta be first. That's all there is to it. It's an idea whose time has come." Siegal herself takes the skeptics criticism in stride.
"I certainly understand that it's unusual," she said. "But I consider it an honor to be a pioneer and a role model to both girls and boys."
Siegal played high school ball and summer league ball, but did not play college ball. She had one tryout with a now defunct professional women's baseball team called the Colorado Silver Bullets and told the Herald's Steve Buckley that she "blew out her arm during the tryout". Since then she has provided instruction for both male and female players and coached on an international level. While working on her Ph. D in sports psychology at Springfield College, she also worked as the assistant coach for the baseball team.

She met Veeck while speaking at a conference last summer and told him,"I want to work for you." Veek told her to send him her resume, which she did and he responded immediately. She told Veeck, "I know enough about baseball to coach and I needed a break."
As for the other coaches, they see Justine as they would any other rookie coach; one who needs to work hard and learn the job. Rox Manager Chris Carmucci reoprts to being skeptical about Siegal's contribution to the team, "The biggest thing for me was: would she be able to help us? And she has helped us." he said.

Publicity stunt or not, the move makes Brockton Rox baseball headlines and gives a deserving woman the chance to prove her worth in a male dominated arena. A bold move that may reverberate through the sport of baseball for years to come, but for now I will watch Justine as she takes her first steps into history. Mr. Veeck, thank you. I concur, it is a great idea whose time has come.

21 comments:

Pop and Ice said...

Go Justine! I sincerely hope she's not a publicity stunt. And just how many more citadels do women need to break into before we're out of firsts? I sincerely hope it's not many....

B.E. Earl said...

The Veeck (as in wreck) family are a bunch of great baseball men. I think this is a great idea.

In addition to Gaedel, Bill Veeck also was the first guy who wanted to integrate the game. He purchased the Philadelphia Phillies in the early 40's and planned on filling it with stars from the Negro Leagues. The sale was vetoed by Mountain Landis, the commissioner at the time and a noted racist.

Veeck got his revenge by becoming the owner of the Cleveland Indians and signing Larry Doby in 1947, thus integrating the American League. He signed Satchel Paige a year later.

Great, great baseball man.

And Mike Veeck is one of the bigger reasons why minor league baseball attendance is up all over. He is truly his father's son.

Chris @ Maugeritaville said...

The question is, was she given the job because she's a woman, or because she's qualified as a coach? The fact that there's a Veeck involved is a red flag, but now that she has the opportunity, it's up to her to prove herself. The problem is, if it turns out to BE just a publicity stunt, it'll actually be a step backwards in the long run.

Good luck to her, though, I hope she has what it takes!

SkylersDad said...

Good luck to her, I hope she is treated fairly.

Furtheron said...

Good luck to her... now is there a female football (soccer) coach in the UK anywhere? I've never heard of one, I know of a couple of football clubs with prominent female chairman or CEOs but not a coach

BamaTrav said...

Does this mean I can now be a Hooters Girl?

Bill Stankus said...

She must know baseball ... in the photo she appears ready to spit.

For a local Seattle story, check out The University of Washington's softball team which just won the NCAA championship. Their star player (a junior I might add), Danielle Lawrie, simply overwhelmed every team. She's an ace pitcher and clean-up batter. BTW, she's being talked about as the greatest athlete, male or female, to ever attend the UW. Go Dawgs!

Just Jules said...

Bama Trav - you can be a hooters girl as long as you fill their qualifications - big boob small tummy and oh yeah, you have to be able to hide your "jewels" enough to fit into those itty bitty orange shorts!

Heff said...

I think she has testicles.

BeckEye said...

Anything that gets men and women closer to the goal of being gender neutral is okay by me. Mostly because there are a LOT of gay men I want to have sex with.

Cora said...

Go Justine!!

Cora said...

HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

I'm not making this up, I swear. Candy, your blog agrees with this post wholeheartedly. The wv it just gave me: "sac cult"

*snicker*

Yes, Candy's Faboo Blog, up until now coaching was a sac cult. Very wise indeed.

Hee hee hee.

Fancy Schmancy said...

Very cool, one more step toward total world domination!

starbender said...

Awesome!!! We do it better, or we don't do it.... ;)

Mad Texter said...

Well, whip me, beat me and call me cream cheese. Woot! for her. Be it a possible publicity stunt or not, at least it's a step in the right direction.

If anything's clear, she certainly knows that if you want something bad enough just go for it and ask for it. The worst anyone can say is 'no'.

20Tauri said...

Justine has been coaching and playing her whole life...this woman KNOWS her stuff! Thanks for writing about her...more people need to know that women can and should have a place in baseball!

Scope said...

JUst because it's a publicity stunt doesn't mean she's not qualified to do the job.

I can promise you she's a lot more qualified for the job than I am.

Just tell me that she's got a load of sunflower seeds in her jaw in the picture.

Wil said...

I have no problem with giving her a shot and seeing what she can do.

Wil Harrison.com

TROLL Y2K said...

Considering most minor-league coaches are grade-school dropouts and this lesbo has Ph.d I think she has a good chance at succeeding.

Scope said...

Lesbo? She looks more Nordic than Greek to me.

And "glysymis" as my word ver. Is that like "Christmas" or "Swiss Miss"?

ric said...

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