Home Culture Late Night Help save softball!

Help save softball!


If you’re are like me, you are watching the Olympics, which is shorthand for bouts of gymnastics interrupted by endless play by play, minutely detailed, microscopic examination of women’s beach volleyball.

Seriously, how is this even a sport? I mean, we all know the answer to that, but why is it a sport that has every single game covered?

Or uncovered as the case may be.

Seriously, I would like to have been at the meeting where they fashioned the regulation decreeing that women in this “sport” must wear bikinis. It’s especially puzzling when men wear baggy shorts and tank tops.

No one is getting fooled here.

Some emotion came with today’s Russia/Georgia game, even if the Georgian players were ringers from Brazil. As you can see from the above, they also have a little jiggle in the caboose, which would totally disqualify them from any other team on earth.

If people are going to be so fascinated by women’s sports, I would like to propose that we find new sweethearts, namely, the softball competitors. (There is no men’s softball in the Olympics.)

The US women have been undefeated for something like 10 years. In fact, softball and baseball are both getting yanked from the Olympics after these games and part of the reason is that the US women’s softball team is just too damned good. If you like the volleyball beach bunnies, how can you not love the softball terminators? They are so wrapped up in pads and braces and bandages that they seem to be more machine than woman.

Ladies and gentlemen, let’s give these hard working athletes the acclaim and attention they deserve! And let’s keep softball in the Olympics! If it’s cheesecake they’re after, this is where it’s at.

Oh, PS: Australia’s softball team has a player named Natalie Titcume. I think that speaks for itself.

  1. Honestly, I think the course of Women’s Softball in 2008 has been one of the great sports stories of the year– from the unrivaled sportsmanship Central Washington players showed to help an opposing player around the bases (and contributing to their own tournament elimination), to the charismatic Arizona State Sun Devils unlikely run through to the championship, and on into the USA team’s bottomless can of whupass. Dare I say it? You go, girls.

    Oh, and– as crazy-fun as the pitching looks on TV, it is something else to behold live and in person.

  2. I think there’s enough room for Beach Volleyball AND Softball. Can’t we all just get along? Or should we scrap it all in favor of women’s wrestling (olympic)?

  3. C’mon, where’s the Shawn Johnson photos?

    My favorite thing to ponder is how these kids in swimming or running train their whole lives and lose by 8/100ths of a second or something like that and that’s it, their lives are over as they know it in less than a second, less than 8/100ths of a second!

  4. I’d personally rather watch softball over beach volleyball also, and I can’t believe it’s being yanked after this olympics. That’s just silly.

    Honestly, though, I’d rather watch the women’s hockey games during the Winter Olympics. The rivalry between USA and Canada is great fun.

  5. Both Baseball and Softball have been eliminated from future Olympics.

    I think the sport missed a perfect storm in 1996. MLB could have suspended the schedule for two weeks, and released players to play on whatever national team they could qualify for. Imagine! The Dominican Republic medalling! Four or five dream teams!

    The current charter limits future Olympiads to 28 sports (35 in Beijing, 26 scheduled for London).

    Other defunct events: Polo, Cricket, Lacrosse, Golf, Roque, Rugby, Tug of War, Pelota, Croquet.

  6. The beach volleyball uniforms are allegedly based on what was/is worn by player when it was an amateur/pick up sport.
    Personally, I think the outfits are bullshit dumb. They’re ridiculously small, and look incredibly uncomfortable.

  7. I could care less about beach volleyball or softball. What I’m in love with is Bella Karolyi. Did you catch when he went off message and started saying that the Chinese female gymnasts were probably 14 or 15? Bob Costas looked like somebody had just taken a dump in his mouth, started trying to shut him up, grabbing his arm then they cut back to Shawn. That shit was priceless. He’s a superstar.

  8. My problem with Beach Volleyball is that it’s too “way cool” (in an 80’s sort of way) to be in the Olympics. Why not just have dudes and dudettes on surfboards playing hackeysack (the rad biathelon)? If it was featured in “Top Gun” it’s not a real sport.

    Also, they should add Men’s Softball, and drinking beer should be manditory. (keg at third base, naturally.)

    Plus, while we’re at it, they should give the Gold Medal to the horse in Equestrian. They should also bring back Polo on horses, but it should also be in the water. Oh yeah, and old timey Atlantic City Horse Divin’ too…

  9. IOC members say the reason Softball is out is that the US Team is too dominating. In Athens only one team scored a run against them(I think).

    Of Course the US men’s Basketball was just as dominating until recently.
    And the Women’s B-Ball team is on a 26 game win streak in Olympic play.

    ESPN’s Outside The Lines did a piece on it a while back. Some think the IOC is doing this to punish the US since the Baseball pros don’t play in the Olympics or because they confuse the drug problems in Baseball with Softball.

  10. “My problem with Beach Volleyball is that it’s too “way cool” (in an 80’s sort of way) to be in the Olympics.”

    Heh. That was sort of my feeling when freestyle skiing was added to the Winter Olympics… ;-)

  11. Those outfits are silly, but there’s also plenty of beefcake on display too, especially if you caught the synchronized diving. I haven’t really been watching but couldn’t help but notice that event out of the corner of my eye.

  12. With the heat and humidity of these Olympics, those bikinis are probably cooler–and hence, more comfortable–than many uniforms.

    For the beefcake, there’s always Mike Phelps and his ilk.

    Really, when you get down to the basics, every sport seems kinda silly. I love golf–hitting white balls with a stick in a pasture? Are you kidding me?

  13. Women’s softball may be going away, but women’s soccer is staying and they would seem to be a reasonable substitute to me in balancing athletic talent and sensible uniforms. At least until Brandi Chastain decides to rip off her top in celebration at making her penalty kick or something.

    If I’m going to gawk, I’d rather gawk at the women’s pole vaulters over the women’s beach volleyball.

  14. get your butt out onto the court and try the game. in only seconds you will be wheezing or pulling ball scum from the bridge of your nose. beach volleyball is one seriously intense competition. have you noticed the athletes havent an ounce of fat on them? it takes a lot to play the game.

    as for softball? ever try to hit a pitch flying at you at 105 mph? i guess not. even the local beer leagues are a challenge. we had the olympic team here in williamsport to take on all the local teams. even the pro baseball players were stunned.

    dude try the game first….

    now for a word on some of the gymnastics competition…what the heck is running around with a ribbon good for? vaulting and parallel bars are cool because there is a certain danger involved but a ribbon? cmon!

    Surfing and Skateboarding should be added for the next games…add a few sharks to make the competition more fun too.

  15. I have to say tho’ that I was kinda disgusted by Matt Lauer during the opening ceremonies. He made a comment that made me think he’s looking for some more girl-on-girl action like the last time the American women won. Even our local cable company, Cablevision, encouraged local businesses to advertise during the Olympics by showing the famous flying tackle from the last summer Olympics.

    Seriously, it was almost refreshing to watch Mike Phelps and the male American swim team because the male commentators at least kept their tongues in their mouths.

  16. Plus, there’s that one American pitcher who is, like, Ms. Marvel hot. Or Black Canary. Or whatever blond one you want, but seriously, she should be able to offer herself to the beach volleyball team to save softball, or something.

  17. Those beach volleyball outfits look almost exactly like my blogging uniform.

    The best thing about the Olympics is that weird condoms story that always gets generated, where they report that the Olympians have gone through like 612 condoms per athlete and suggest that the Olympic Village is pretty much the saltiest ten pages from Cynthia Petal’s Really Fantastic Alien Sex Frenzy.

    I like it because I have no idea why it keeps getting reported; it has to be some sort of weird commercial or marketing impulse, because it’s too stupid to be real.

    I think the Olympics should become more like Battle of the Network Stars, with a dunk tank, a big tug of war over a mud pit at the end and Gabe Kaplan runs a special challenge 100 yard dash against Robert Conrad.

  18. They wear about the same amount in the women’s track and field events these days too. What I find interesting is that the few times I’ve seen the beach volleyball competition, there appear to be a huge number of empty seats. What’s sexy in the west isn’t so sexy in Beijing, I guess.

    I can see eliminating a sport that no other country cares enough about to be able to develop a decent contender. It’s not a lot of fun to watch one team repeatedly decimate all comers either. Close games are way more interesting than routs, which is why women’s Olympic hockey is so fun.

  19. I say this is a moot discussion until Curling is taken out of the Olympics. Not saying that curling is great and a joy to watch, but beach volleyball is equal to or exceeds the excitement of curling.

  20. To all: I don’t seriously doubt the strategy and athleticism of beach volleyball. And yes, I have played softball, and even gotten bashed on the noggin playing it. Those balls are not so soft.

  21. The way to tell the differnce between a sport and a mere game is whether it can be played in the rain. Thus volleyball is a sport and softball a game.

    If it gets a little moist the softball players run for cover while the volleyball players just play on. It helps that they’re greased up so well the water just
    beads up and slides off.

  22. Bizarre as it sounds, beach volleyball is apparently one of the only sports in the world where the official rules (including for the Olympics) really do stipulate a MAXIMUM amount of clothing for women competitors. Aside from being inherently tacky, it’s also indirectly racist, as it implicitly disqualifies the entire Arab world from entering on cultural grounds.

  23. As many times as I’ve seen the inane “well, how good could you do it?” argument surface on the nerdosphere, I never thought I would live to see the day it would be used in reference to Beach Volleyball.


    Heidi, would you settle for Beach Softball?

  24. there have been numerous stories this week about the “shocking” amount of empty seats at the games, since all the tickets were apparently sold way before hand and there’s no scalping ‘allowed.’

    Great story on the wapo webpage about the american woman who won the gold in judo who is also a vegan and may go into mma when she’s done.

  25. baseball and softball are eliminated to punish the USOC because it doesn’t want to cut back on the amount of money it receives from the IOC (for a measure: the USA gets more revenue from the Olympics than the rest of the countries combined!)
    And unless the USOC doesn’t comply, the USA will never get another Olympic.
    that’s the reason.

    And btw: USA vs Belgium tomorrow in the beachvolly, where 2 overweight Belgian girls (watch the lovehandles and the wobbly belly) will take on hardbodied athletes.

  26. I like softball, but I don’t like all the infield and dugout chatter you hear when you watch it on TV. Not sure why. Maybe I just want all those womens to shut up and make me breakfast. But it bugs me with the gymnastics, too — both men’s and women’s.

    Oh, and beefcake, yes. http://jezebel.com/5036020/golden-boys-clement-lefert-teammate

    I have never heard the Olympics condom story. But now that I know about it, and have seen this picture… Well.

  27. Heidi is absolutely right. Beach Volleyball, whether played in bikinis or baggy shorts, is just to weirdly irrelevant as a sport to get priority over baseball or anything else. What about real Volleyball, a terrific, complex and exciting sport, that gets relegated to the wee hours. Real Volleyball is a great game. Beach Volleyball is an embarassment.

    And as for softball and baseball, there’s still hope they’ll be reinstated although it looks like they’re both being punished because MLB will not shut down the baseball season and let its players compete in the Olympics. As someone who is a huge baseball fan, I really can’t say I want to see that happen. But I’d support it if the MLB players did–which I don’t think will happen anytme soon. Frankly I like the World Baseball Classic, MLB’s attempt to go global, and they’ll be just fine for me.

    And softball deserves our support. The team is awesome (Kat Osterman no-hit the Aussies) and will certainly take the gold. Another reason for the world dislike the USA. Oh well.

  28. Beach Volleyball is great!

    How do you find so many things to complain about? This one is just ridiculous. It’s called BEACH volleyball, first of all. The uniform matches what any other woman would be wearing to play volleyball on the frickin’ beach. Well, the ones that aren’t too embarrassed by their bodies to the point of wearing a one-piece and shorts anyway. The men’s uniform also reflects what men would be wearing, except that they might be shirtless, and the shirt probably has more to do with practicality than gender… after all, don’t men sweat a lot more than women? Wouldn’t it make sense to have something to wipe your hands and face on real quick between points? I know they have towels, but there isn’t much time allowed between points. I’m all for the men being required to play shirtless, if that’s what it takes to get past this silly complaint.

    Beach Volleyball belongs in the Olympics, no question. It’s much more physically taxing than indoor volleyball. Ever try running or jumping while barefoot in sand? Compare that to a hardwood floor with shoes on surrounded by 5 other players instead of one, and you get a much more demanding sport.

    “Personally, I think the outfits are bullshit dumb. They’re ridiculously small, and look incredibly uncomfortable. ”

    They’re functional and allow a wide range of motion. So, no, not dumb. Small, yes… They’ve gotten smaller since the last time I watched a match, but not everyone finds form-fitting garments uncomfortable.

    “Are you sure some of those beach volleyball players are even women? Half of them look like dudes wearing bikinis. ”

    That’s mean, and I didn’t see a single woman protest…. makes one wonder what really bothers the women out there. Maybe you were watching women’s body building instead. Seriously though, no problem with a fellow woman being called mannish, but those bikinis, how insulting!!!

    “What’s sexy in the west isn’t so sexy in Beijing, I guess.”

    Did you mean sexy as in sexy or sexy as in popular? Popular, I agree with, but sexy is irrelevant. Keep in mind that it has been raining in Beijing, and Beach Volleyball is an outside sport that doesn’t have rain delays.

    “Aside from being inherently tacky, it’s also indirectly racist, as it implicitly disqualifies the entire Arab world from entering on cultural grounds. ”

    That’s an incorrect assumption. “A.J. Martin, director of the FiVB said: “The International Volleyball Association has a rule that allows us to change the dress code respecting the religious, cultural and ethical sentiments of countries.”” However, would YOU want to play Beach Volleyball in a burqa?

    “Real Volleyball is a great game. Beach Volleyball is an embarassment. ”

    See above comment as to the superiority of Beach Volleyball.

    Also, I think it’s sad that they want to pull Softball from the Olympics. It’s not the fault of the USA that they’re better than everybody else. The rest of the world won’t get better if there’s no support for the sport, especially in the Olympics. These other countries put a team together and compete… if they didn’t want to play, then they shouldn’t enter a team. The domination of one team shouldn’t be grounds for dismissal from Olympic consideration. After all, isn’t beating the typically superior atheletes one of the great joys of Olympic competition… when it does happen, it’s headline news. That team which would eventually beat the USA deserves that opportunity to make their country proud by beating the best.

  29. women’s beach volleyball uni’s are a bit out of control in their skimpiness, but I love the sport. It deserves to be in there.

    eliminating women softball is silly. titcume, lol. Frank, you are a perv. China’s gymnasts, we all know they train ’em young.

    the only sports I don’t like are the synchronized ones.

  30. I grew up playing beach vollyball. It very much belongs in the Olympics, if you doub’t that go play a game in the sand and get back to us.

    I never heard anything about the required uniforms, but they don’t look any different than the non-pros I see at the beach. In fact I think they wear more at the Olympics. :-p

    The should add tug-of-war back to the Olympics & then dodgeball too. Every country could field teams in those sports!

  31. Complaints about the women’s volleyball uniforms from a blogger who runs shots of shirtless men about nine times a day? Pull the other one.

  32. Ahhh….these comments are a lively diversion from the usual comics news.

    And Heidi? You know I love you, but John Smith might’ve got you there.

    (And yes, I know the whole “complaining” about beach volleyball was a casual jest. Really. It was, wasn’t it?)

  33. Oh, pish posh, John Smith. I give everyone equal time here at SBM. If the beach volleyball male squads were compelled to play in speedos you’d get no complaints from me.

  34. This is how the men’s beach volleyball celebrates: http://jezebel.com/5037150/golden-boys-eric-koreng-david-klemperer

    They certainly wear too much clothing. Er, if we’re talking in terms of comparison to to the women’s volleyball players, of course.

    There have been so images of attractive men at the Olympics and it’s kind of mind-boggling. And then the minute a woman says, “Wow” over one of those tanned Apollos, men are like, “You would get so upset if it were a man saying that about a woman.”

    This is one time every four years when beautiful men are on display the way beautiful women are all the damned time. And at least they’re getting attention because of their accomplishments, too, not just because of their hotness.

  35. Jeez, Unpopular, sorry for not hanging around this blog post all day and finding every objectionable comment and protesting. For the record, I also don’t think it’s cool to insult a woman by saying she looks like a man.

  36. With the Olympics taking out softball and for the reason that it is, is absolutly ridculous. They say softball is only a American sport wich is not true Canada and Japan have a very hard to beat team. And For me it has been my dream since i was alittle girl to once play in the olympics on the USA team to represent the sport and country i love.

  37. With the Olympics taking out softball and for the reason that it is, is absolutly ridculous. They say softball is only a American sport wich is not true Canada and Japan have a very hard to beat team. And For me it has been my dream since i was alittle girl to once play in the olympics on the USA team to represent the sport and country i love.

  38. With the Olympics taking out softball and for the reason that it is, is absolutly ridculous. They say softball is only a American sport wich is not true Canada and Japan have a very hard to beat team. And For me it has been my dream since i was alittle girl to once play in the olympics on the USA team to represent the sport and country i love.

  39. MLB (actually, the players union) will not allow its players to compete in the Olympics because the players would be subject to IOC drug testing. And we all know how sterling Major League Baseball has been in combatting drug abuse… (So sterling it looks like bronze.)

    As for teams monopolizing a sport, howabout table tennis (China and South Korea) or Men’s Basketball (USA)?

  40. Holy cow, Jennifer, that Clement pic is HO-YAY!

    BTW, a great deal of my disgust with the differences in uniform is laid out well here:
    “Tigtog said it before, but I’ll say it again: minute increases in performance cannot account for this difference, otherwise the men would be in skintight clothing also.”

  41. That lastg link is fascinating, Lea. I had no idea that the evolutionary trend of uniforms was so, well, uniform.

    The track and field bikinis are especially amusing. I guess it’s those hot pole vaulters.

  42. OH and PS: I have always wondered why they don’t show more fencing on TV, and I guess that’s why — bulky, asexual uniforms.

  43. Sex appeal just distracts us from what the olympics are really about: determining once and for all which is the best county in the world.

  44. Ah yes, Allison Stokke who eventually had to seek protection from internet stalkers.

    >>>Early this month, 18-year-old Allison Stokke walked into her high school track coach’s office and asked if he knew any reliable media consultants. Stokke had tired of constant phone calls, of relentless Internet attention, of interview requests from Boston to Brazil. In her high school track and field career, Stokke had won a 2004 California state pole vaulting title, broken five national records and earned a scholarship to the University of California, yet only track devotees had noticed. Then, in early May, she received e-mails from friends who warned that a year-old picture of Stokke idly adjusting her hair at a track meet in New York had been plastered across the Internet. She had more than 1,000 new messages on her MySpace page. A three-minute video of Stokke standing against a wall and analyzing her performance at another meet had been posted on YouTube and viewed 150,000 times.

  45. I wouldn’t say Lea’s link is fascinating. The content on that page is pretty much of the same caliber as The Beat’s original blog post. It fails to consider whether these individuals WANT to wear these clothes. When I see some regular woman running for her health on the side of the road, she’s not wearing a huge baggy shirt and shorts.. she’s wearing a a sporty tank top thing (I have no idea what those things are actually called) with really short shorts… just like those track and field competitors!

    Chances are beach volleyball players WANT to wear those uniforms. If it really bugs you so much, ask Kerri Walsh if she would prefer to wear more clothing and see what she says.

    There’s a reason for each uniform choice, and that reason isn’t the titillation of male viewership. So, get over it.

    I watched the USA women’s fencing competition, and I found it as enjoyable as beach volleyball. Those women that swept the individual sabre were awesome. Fencing is pretty boring though… the points don’t last very long.

    There’s nothing to be disgusted about. I will admit that the women’s uniforms are a bit too small as soon as you admit that it’s perfectly reasonable to have them wear bikinis because that’s what they wear on the bloody beach. However, I wouldn’t mind if they wore bigger bikinis or one-pieces, but I don’t think it’s a giant woman-exploiting conspiracy that female uniforms are tighter and utilize less material than the men’s. It’s actually reflective of normal clothing differences. Women should really lighten up.

  46. >>>It’s actually reflective of normal clothing differences. Women should really lighten up.

    And you should really stop being such a prat.

  47. I don’t see how that’s evidence of “internet stalking”. Lots of people found someone they think is attractive and tried to open up a dialog. No big deal.

    Those people who posted their sexual fantasies… what were they thinking? That she would read it and be so flattered she would call them up for a date? Telling your buddy you had a sex dream about some celebrity is one thing, but detailing it on your “space” for all to see is dumb and pathetic.

    By the way, if you’re trying to imply her track uniform caused this unwanted attention, then you’re seriously deluded. If she was pole vaulting in a burqa people would be going nuts over her ankles. That’s just the way it is.

    I sometimes feel bad for celebrities and all that media attention, but they can always choose a different line of work. It’s a fine line… I wouldn’t want her to feel like she has to quit track because so many people think she’s hot, but what’s wrong with thinking she’s hot and talking about it? She can always just ignore those websites and restrict messages on her myspace page. Have a lawyer contact the really icky ones and just appreciate the attention of the rest. It’s better than being actively DISLIKED for your appearance or for any other reason. I feel bad for her, but she should get over it as well.

  48. “And you should really stop being such a prat.”

    I thought there was no more name-calling allowed on here. You just don’t like it when I’m right, which is most of the time. I present reasonable arguments I get called a prat. Such a mature rebuttal of my argument, that was.

    I can see now that bringing reason and intelligence to an internet blog is a hopeless endeavor.

  49. Unpopular, you are a troll and you know it. Your screen name is a goal not a label.

    You see women by the side of the street and base all standards for what women should feel and think on that? How is that logical?

    My big question for you is whether babies should be allowed at beach volleyball games.

  50. It isn’t reason and intelligence. It’s provocative opinion presented as if it were the truth,…that everyone but you,…is somehow missing. The Beat is right to call you on it. It’s argument for the sake of argument.

  51. So I went to the rules and regulations…

    Men are required to wear a tank top and shorts and eventual accessories.

    For women, it is a “top and briefs” or a “one piece uniform.” So, they are not required to wear bikinis…there is an element of choice (and at least one female Olympian *did* say the smaller outfits are more comfortable to play in and keeps them from getting to much sand in uncomfortable places on NPR). While I agree with the general question of “why the sexualization”, it appears the athletes are part of the decision…

    As to the question of beach volleyball in the Olympics…the one night I watched, I only saw a men’s beach volleyball competition up against men and women’s swimming. And the volleyball game was ten time more exciting and compelling than watching the swimming. It’s pretty much watching people go back and forth in the water. Even the Phelps competition was only interesting because of the outside drama and the split moment of a second tie. Watching them swim for five minutes was boring.

  52. Taking softball out of the Olympics is complete nonesense! What good is it doing anybody? Yeah baseball isn’t that big of a deal because they have MLB and others but Olympic softball is all the girls have. We dont have Pro Softball

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