In this very special episode of the ASL Podcast, Rebecca Feferman, Mandy Brooks, Bree Blaha, and Buffy Foxfire, aka The Hardist, aka Jessica Ardis, have a sewing circle sitdown about the League’s policy on women on the field, game etiquette, umping, and various other lady bits. Listen/download here.
Mike Crissey was unable to attend the recording, but below you’ll find his take on girls in the ASL.
GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS!
The South remains winless over the North. They’ve been beaten 12 times in a row. And there may be another reason besides the 43 homers they’ve allowed so far this season – Girls. Girls. Girls.
In the past two seasons, teams with the best women — specifically, the best hitters – more often than not have made the playoffs. Of the eight teams to make the play-offs, only three have gotten past the regular season with some of the lowest female batting averages. Only teams with the highest female batting averages have made it to the championship.
The Chronicle won the 2008 championship by beating BookPeople. BookPeople’s women collaborated for the best collective average – .370 – while The Chronicle’s women were second with a combined .306 batting average. Last year, the championship game featured the two teams with the highest female batting averages in their divisions – C3 Presents and South-by.
Over the past two years, the women in the League have gotten steadily better or teams have been recruiting better women. Both the average woman’s batting average and slugging percentage have climbed since 2008.
In the inaugural A-S-L season, the average woman batted for a .301 average. Women batted for a .321 average last year and so far this year, the average woman is batting for a .334 average.
Women in the North this year have been more consistent and hit the ball harder than their southern counterparts. The North’s women have a combined .385 average to the southern women’s .278 batting average.
Why are batting averages so important? You win ballgames by minimizing outs and creating base runners.
There are only 27 outs in a nine-inning game. Teams in the League have to play at least three women in their batting order. These three players could cause a third of the outs a team hits into. Women on average account for 9 outs per game.
In the first 12 games this season, women in the South have accounted for an average of about 10 outs per game. Women in the North hit into 7 and 1/2 put-outs per game on average.
In our League, batting average is the same statistic as on-base-percentage.
If these women aren’t outs, then they become base runners and runs. Why does BookPeople have the best offense in the League, scoring an ungodly average of 31 runs per game? It may have something to do with their women hitting for a collective .489 batting average.
They get on base half the time and also score about half the time with the help of extra-base hits by their men. Home runs hurt, but do even more damage when they drive in two or three runs. BookPeople’s women have scored 14 runs, that’s almost more than the South division combined.
Wheatsville is second in offense, scoring an average of 23 runs a game. Their women have the second highest combined batting average in the League. They have also have scored the second highest number of runs.
Perhaps it’s no surprise, but BookPeople and Wheatsville have scored 42 percent of the runs in the League this season.
Only one team in the South – Emo’s Lounge – has women hitting above the League batting average for ladies. Emo’s Lounge is also the only team in the South to score more than 20 runs in a game this season.
Black Star Co-op’s and Waterloo Records’ women have among lowest combined batting averages in the League. The two teams have also scored the fewest runs per game this season.
Waterloo’s women are last in the League with a combined .179 batting average and Waterloo has scored an average of 9 runs a game, second lowest in the league.
Black Star’s ladies are hitting for a collective .283 average and the Bootlegger’s have scored an average 7.5 runs per game, last in the League.
Women on both teams have accounted for a third or more of the total outs for the teams. Waterloo’s women have hit into 40% of their teams’ put-outs.
I’m not trying to point fingers or lionize any teams with this commentary. I’m trying to highlight what may be a hidden facet of the game often overlooked. Teams are only as strong as their weakest players. Chances are, unfortunately, that women will be the weakest players on a team.
Instead of viewing women as balls-and-chains or holes in line-ups we should all realize the key role they play in the success of a ball team. Women: You can win with them, you can’t win without them.