Spring training is opening with a bang this year in more ways than one. As our boys get ready for Little League baseball and our girls for Little League softball, Cleveland native Justine Siegal is living a dream.
Siegal, the first woman to coach men’s professional baseball, serving as a first-base coach for the Brockton Rox in 2009, will become the first woman to throw batting practice to a Major League team.
On her blog, she writes:
“I grew up wanting to be a Cleveland Indian. This is a dream come true. I want to show that baseball is a game for all and that both boys and girls love this game. My throwing BP is proof that dreams really can come true.”
A woman who believes on charting new territory, Siegal approached Indians general manager Chris Antonetti about the possibility of throwing batting practice to his club. She will face Minor League hitters and also have the chance to throw to some big league players.
Siegal will head to Phoenix to throw batting practice against the Oakland A’s on February 23. She is throwing both sessions to honor the memory of Christina Taylor Green, the 9-year-old girl killed in the recent Tucson shooting. Siegal will be wearing Green’s Little League memorial patch.
We always tell our girls that they can do anything boys can do but it seems like sports is still a place where gender division is clear. Consider the recent story of Cassy Herkelman, the female high school wrestler and her opponent Joel Northrup who he forfeited the match saying that he would not wrestle a girl.
Siegal was not only the first woman to coach men’s professional baseball, serving as a first-base coach for the Brockton Rox in 2009, she also spent three years as the only woman college baseball coach in the country.
How did she get started?
I was 13, when my baseball coach looked at me and said, I don’t want you here, girls shouldn’t play baseball.’ I didn’t listen. I am now on my 26th year of playing baseball. I have pitched on 5 continents and 3 international championships.
Forget actresses and rock stars, Siegal is one real role model that all girls can genuinely look up to.