why do girls play softball instead of baseball?

Straightforward question.

extra credit: why do grown men play softball instead of baseball?

(Old) grown men play softball because it’s a slower sport, less distance between the bases, there’s often a no sliding rule and the big, slow softball is easier to hit and less likely to hurt if you don’t field it cleanly.

I’m not a PE teacher, but I’d suppose the same logic applies to girls’ softball.

Moving to the Game Room.

General Questions Moderator

  1. Residual sexism.

  2. Easier to hit the ball (for slowpitch; fastpitch seems to be dying out), more runs, etc.

Baseball doesn’t let you keep a keg at 2nd base.

As for women’s softball…have you ever seen the velocity those women can get pitching one of those things? Easier to hit my butt.

Because they haven’t got a league of their own?

I suspect that RealityChuck’s and kunilou’s “easier to hit” statements were related to men’s slow-pitch softball, not girls’ / women’s fast-pitch softball. Fast-pitch and slow-pitch are two significantly different games.

As a player of men’s slow pitch softball, I would say the number one reason that grown men play it is that there are many more options to play. I have (and still do) play adult baseball, but the opportunity is much greater to play softball then baseball. Combine that with the slower speed, easier to hit type aspects and it becomes the thing to do.

I would also like to add that not all adult slow pitch softball is focused around beer and only played by fat old men. I play some pretty high level softball and have traveled all around the country playing. Granted, there is a lot of “beer leagues” around, but there is also some pretty damn high level ball played as well.

I have also played both baseball and slow pitch softball as an adult. The time and practice required to stay competitive in baseball eventually drove me to softball. That and my arm would probably have eventually fallen off.

Maybe to emulate the major leagues boys associate with baseball players and want to play the same game as their hero(s), while not having women in the major leagues, girls don’t have that same motivation and play a game that is, or at least starts out, more kid friendly.

As boys grow up into men they realize that they would rather play a game more suitable to them then the few who are superstars.

Pitching. Hitting a pitched baseball is a very difficult thing to do. A moderately skilled pitcher who can put the ball over the plate with even a minimal ammount of speed, accuracy, and/or movement will eliminate well over 50% of opposing hitters. And I mean eliminate - not marginalize. Decent pitchers will strike out the side more often than not.

Watch a softball team in a batting cage sometime - they will drill the soft pitch tosses all over the place, but when some joker puts the machine on baseball at high speed (really batting practice speed to pros) they can’t even foul off one pitch.

Rather than play a game that is really a recruiting contest over pitchers, softball eliminates that part of the game entirely and makes it a much more fun and egalitarian type of recreation.

Seconded. Softball is what you play if you want to keep playing. There just isn’t that much adult baseball to be had.

There’s really two questions here;

  1. Why do some people play softball and not baseball?
  2. Having said that, why’s the BALL different in softball? You could play the same rules with the smaller baseball, which after all would be easier for people with small hands to gri[ and throw.

As to the first question, many have already answered it. I play slo-pitch instad of baseball simply because baseball would, as Lamar points out, eliminate 80% of potential players. Skilled pitchers would simply wipe out all recreational-level players.

With slo-pitch there’s definitely differences in pitching quality, and certainly in hitting quality, but any reasonably fit guy can play and get some hits. You might not hit 39 homers in a 38-game season the way one guy did this year, but you’ll get a few hits here and there even if you absolutely suck, and if you’re just an OK player like me you’ll bat .500 and pop a homer or two a year.

With a lot of practice I might be tolerable in a baseball league, but to be quite honest I just don’t want to spend all my goddamned time training, and I want to play in a friendly league with a large cross-section of guys, not just super-competitive jocks. (And there’s no drinking allowed at the park, btw. Not all softball leagues are just drunk assholes pretending to play ball.) I’d rather play an easier sport now.

Against skilled baseball pitchers, most of the league would be DOA. We couldn’t fill three teams, much less the whole league.
As to the second question, I imagine the larger ball’s just easier to hit and see.

There was sliding in all the leagues I ever played. The ball is a rocket. It is hit very hard.

There is a small difference in the size of the ball when it comes to mens and womans - typically women play with an 11" ball and men play with a 12" ball. In the coed leagues I have been a part of, the ball is switched out depending on what gender is batting at the time.

I assumed that the advantage to the girls hitting with the 11" ball was it was smaller and harder, thus they could hit the ball harder to help level the playing field.

I always assumed the reason for the big ball is that it doesn’t fly as far when you hit it. I haven’t played baseball seriously since middle school, but I can still easily whack a baseball out of a municipal softball field. Since a softball doesn’t fly as far, you don’t need as much outfield and so the city (or whoever) can put in a lot more softball fields vs. baseball fields. That’s probably one big reason why the casual leagues don’t play baseball-- in most places it’s much easier to find a softball field than a baseball one.

I always found it odd that women, who have smaller hands, use the larger ball (compared to baseball, not men’s softball.)

I mean…I don’t care for softball because I find the ball so fucking hard to throw! It’s like playing catch with a cantaloupe! And I don’t have small hands, or anything, just average sized.

Come play softball in Chicago, where the default ball is this silly 16" behemoth (oh, and they don’t use gloves). Here’s a picture of a Chicago softball, next to a baseball for comparison:

I think you may be partially right here. The ball does not fly as far due to the hardness of the ball not the size (hence "soft"ball). I find that this is more to due with preventing injuries than anything else. The same rule applies to softball bats. Most leagues have bats that are not allowed to be used. This is due to the fact that with some of these bats (and some of the big boys playing) could result in an infielder being seriously injured or killed. Softball fields have a baseline of 60 feet, so the infielder is much closer to the batter then in baseball.

Also, the softball fields that I have played on ranged from 295 feet to 330 feet fences. Most baseball fields are 300 - 400 foot fences so the difference is not a major factor in real estate (at least I wouldn’t think so).

I think it breaks down like this - Softer balls + slower pitching = less people getting hurt and more people being able to play which all equals bigger leagues and more money.

There are many leagues for women who play baseball. Do NOT say softball to my boss. She is a pitcher. And a total badass.


I think the boys = baseball, girls = softball is changing. But I do think it arises out of the oldschool notions that you have to change up the rules to make sure girls don’t hurt themselves, or to make it easier for girls to compete. Kinda like girl pushups. I always thought the difference between girls and boys lacrosse was ridiculous, for instance. I would have loved to wear pads and hit the shit out of people. I can take getting hit, and hitting folks, thank you very much. And I can also do regular pushups.

Times are changing though. Thank God for soccer. A game whose rules are universal. Period.