Hello, Kitty: Japanese Teen Girl to Pitch in Arizona

December 16, 2009
I saw this on the Facebook feed of Ballpark Digest: the Yuma Scorpions of the Arizona Winter League have signed Japan's first professional female baseball player to sling a few stateside. Eri Yoshida is a 17-year-old sidearm pitcher with a knuckleball so slow it makes clocks run backward. She's 5'1" and Tim Wakefield (natch) is her hero.

"We are really looking forward to having Eri in the league and as a member of the Yuma Scorpions in the upcoming AWL," said Yuma Scorpions manager Mike Marshall. "It's an intense month of baseball, a great showcase, and an exceptional opportunity for any player to improve their game and move to the next level. Having played in Japan with Nippon Ham Fighters in the 1990s, I'm thrilled to be able to return the wonderful hospitality that I received and help Eri further her dream."

[Our Sports Central]

Overseas branding opportunity for Eri? Publicity stunt for the Scorpions? Legitimate interest? Maybe a little bit of all three. But there's something enjoyable about watching this guy whiff as this ball drifts across the plate like a seed from a cottonwood tree. I also like how she makes a hand motion in her follow-through that actually looks like she's pulling a string. Video courtesy of FanDome That, and I always get a really trippy feeling when I see Japanese mascots. It's a natural narcotic.

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2 Responses to Hello, Kitty: Japanese Teen Girl to Pitch in Arizona

  1. Tiffany Brooks on December 16, 2009 at 11:13 PM

    Well, actually, there will be two female ballplayers at the AWL. I’m the other one, and I am also a pitcher and play 1B as well. Eri is slated to be my roommate, and I’m looking forward to meeting her.

    I have no illusions of throwing a fastball by these guys (my top speed so far is 82 on a Jugs gun), but I do hope to work in short relief and maybe get some 1B time. I will obviously be in a media shadow on this one, but I hope to do well, and even if I don’t get a contract, I hope to help pave the way for girls and women who dream of playing pro baseball as I always have. If I do get a contract, I want it to be for the right reasons… that I could help my team and play the game the way it is meant to be played — not as a publicity stunt. Wish me luck!

  2. Perry on December 25, 2009 at 7:51 AM

    Luck is the least of what will be in your arsenal, Tiffany. As log as you and Eri stay focused and injury-free, you’ll be fantastic. With your talent and drive, you will go far in baseball and in life.

    Your fellow women in baseball have your back!

    Warm regards,
    Perry Barber

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