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Struck Strikes Out: To each his own...Please!

Monday, June 20, 2005

I must say I was incredibly impressed with the quality and entertainment value of the recently televised Women's College World Series.

In fact, I was riveted to the TV at night whenever I got home from working or coaching a ball game, and was glad that the team I was rooting for (Michigan of the Big Ten) eventually overcame traditional NCAA softball power UCLA to win the 2005 WCWS!

As a former fastpitch player of some standing, I was blown away by the caliber of pitching in the WCWS. I also have long said that the way prep girls who become college women have adapted to the fastpitch game is truly remarkable. In the near future I see women's college softball becoming a major attraction for sports fans throughout the world. And the high school game is just dandy.

What I don't appreciate, however, and will never accept, is the incessant need of so many paranoid women to compare their games, players and achievements with the men's. Stand on your own merit and shut the hell up, ladies.

If I heard it once, I heard it a hundred times from those silly, struggling WCWS women TV announcers - "She throws a 66-mph fastball but that's equivalent to a 95-mph fastball in baseball!"

No, it's not. It's 66-mph, just like the gun says. Not 95-mph. Besides, 66-mph is pretty damn fast for a girlie woman throwing underhanded from 42-45 feet, depending upon point of release.

And 95-mph is pretty damn fast for a guy to fire it overhand from 57-60 feet, depending upon point of release.

To make everyone happy, I guess you can get real gender nerdy and extrapolate the whole thing out. So I did. I contacted my resident mathematician guru, Dr. Z, who told me:

"I would guess they're talking about the time the batter has to react when they compare a 66-mph softball thrown from about 45 feet to a 95-mph baseball thrown from about 60 feet.

"Let's see...uh, 66-mph...95-mph...distance...time...equal velocity...uh, feet per second...divided by...uh,times distance...hum de dum...point of release...conversion...that times that...equals...la di da...remember bread and milk at grocery...go Braves...uh, darn calculator better have conversion...who cares about this stuff anyway...leave it up to Struck...oh, got to keep on givin' cuz I'm workin' for a livin'...uh, that times that, divided by... equals .46 seconds...uh, that times that divided by... equals .43 or .44 seconds...doesn't really matter...close to identical...I hope he doesn't want to visit after this...that fat boy should get out more on the tennis courts...well, here goes...

"Uh, Paul, the time for a batter to react to a 66-mph softball thrown from about 45 feet is equal to a 95-mph baseball thrown from about 60 feet - about .45 seconds. So, basically, they're right."

I thanked Dr. Z profusely and cut him loose. I was tempted to ask him if a softball thrown from two feet was equal to a baseball thrown from 24 inches, but I decided against it. Why put a good friend in the middle of this raging issue?

But, I still maintain a 66-mph softball pitch is 66-MPH! It's not 95-MPH! Do you lame TV babes hear me?

And, come to think of more national media crapola, Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summit DID NOT break fabled North Carolina men's basketball coach Dean Smith's career NCAA win record! She broke her own!

They're two different sports! It's like saying Dale Earnhardt drives faster than a parade fire truck! That a good merlot tastes better than a malt!

It's all apples and oranges, ladies. Don't you get it? Forget all that algebraic mumbo jumbo. You can't and shouldn't compare yourselves to men in the athletic arena. Take a cold shower and drop it or I might have to join a club and then beat you with it.

Perhaps equally enjoyable to watch and follow, women's and men's athletic events are different. A softball is a softball; a baseball is a baseball; they are different size and both are thrown differently from different distances; Pat Summit has never coached or won a men's college basketball game in her decorated life; and Dean Smith has never coached or won a women's college basketball game in his decorated life.

End of story.

One more thing...did you know that in the time it took to read this column I could round the bases and touch them all after hitting one of those 66-mph chuggers over that piddly 180-foot fence?

Left-handed even.



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