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I went yesterday to Major League Baseball’s All-Star Fanfest here in New York City at the Javits Center.     There were several”attractions”like virtual batting cages (if you didn’t mind waiting on line for over an hour) and the opportunity to record your own play-by-play narration of some of MLB’s greatest games.   Just as I was leaving, I happened to catch one of the”featured”events — an appearance by four former players from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (popularized in the 1992 film”A League of Their Own“starring Geena Davis, Rosie O’Donnell and Madonna and directed by Penny Marshall).  

Yes, MLB acknowledged the history of (white) women in pro baseball.   There also was a small historical exhibit with memorabilia from the (male) Negro League.   But both the appearances by the AAGPBL players and the small historical exhibit seemed so…canned and uninsightful.     The interviewer’s”big”question to the former AAGPBL players was,”Which of you was Madonna [portraying]?”    I would have been very interested in hearing more about the players’ perspective on the continued exclusion of women from so many levels of professional sports.  But “Fanfest” must be code for “let’s pretend,” judging by the number of grown men dressed in baseball caps, baseball shirts and carrying their gloves around the Javits Center.

-Bridget Crawford  

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