I came across an article that I found intersting. The Japan Times online reported that Yoshida signs with GBL team. This got me thinking on two fronts: Who was Yoshida and what is the GBL. Upon further review, here is what I found out. Yoshida is an 18-year old female sidearm knuckleballer called Eri Yoshida. To continue with her dream to play Baseball professionally, he decided to sign with the Chico (California) Outlaws of the Golden Baseball League (GBL). The GBL is a 10-team independent league that plays a 90 game season in 100 days, the league stretches from western Canada to Hawaii, through California and northern Mexico and into Arizona and Utah. (Photo Credit http://www.goldenbaseball.com/)
Yoshida opted to play in the GBL rather than playing for the Mie Three Arrows of the new independent Japan-Future League. According to the GBL website:
Yoshida had already pitched in the Arizona Winter League in February of this year, where she had good success in the top winter development league for pro players in the U.S., including throwing 4 and 2/3 innings of shutout ball against Team Canada. She went on to spend some time at the Boston Red Sox spring training facility in Fort Myers, Florida in March and had a chance to throw with Wakefield, who gave her instruction and was very positive regarding her knuckleball
Yoshida will be the first female to pitch for a pro team in the U.S. since Ila Borders retired over 10 years ago (Ms. Borders played for played for the St. Paul Saints, the Duluth-Superior Dukes, the Madison Black Wolf, and the Zion Pioneerzz) and the only female to ever pitch in pro leagues in two countries. Good luck to Ms. Yoshida in her quest to play professional baseball. I've always said that Baseball is probably the professional sport where women and men can play as equals. She may not be as strong as the men in terms of velocity of her pitches, but if a pitcher like Tim Wakefield can have an almost 20-year career (Wakefield's debut came in 1992 with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a power pitcher winning two complete games as a rookie in the 1992 postseason. Go figure) why can't Ms. Yoshida succeed. More power to her. I'll keep an eye on her and keep you guys posted.
For Further Reading:
- Click Here for Ms. Yoshida's personal blog page in Japanese
- Click Here for the Golden Baseball League's Webpage
- Click Here for the Chico Outlaws page on the GBL site