George Diaz: Mo’ne Davis inspires girls to dream with Little League star-power

Grace and Aubrey aren’t just California Dreaming when it comes to places they’d like to visit on baseball road trips. How about Chicago, Miami, Baltimore or any other destination that has a Major League Baseball team?
Aug 21, 2014

 

Mo’ne Davis throws like a girl.

This is a good thing. Check that; this is awesome.

Her fan base agrees. It is growing exponentially, and it’s awesome, too.

Michelle Obama. Kevin Durant. Ellen DeGeneres. Russell Wilson. Magic Johnson.

And Grace DeVinney and Aubrey Evans.

You’ve probably never heard of them, and understandably so.

They are both 10-year-olds. Grace and Aubrey both attend elementary school in Florida.

And much like Mo’ne Davis, they are the bomb when it comes to baseball.

They recently were chosen to compete in the Baseball For All 10-and-under all-star team made up of 11 girls from eight different states. They won the whole thing, competing as the only all-girls team in the tournament at Brea, Calif.

But Grace and Aubrey aren’t just California Dreaming when it comes to places they’d like to visit on baseball road trips.

How about Chicago, Miami, Baltimore or any other destination that has a Major League Baseball team? They don’t just want to just sit around and ask for autographs and buy popcorn. They want to play.

And that’s awesome, too.

Mo’ne Davis allows them to dream that dream. Grace and Aubrey are cheering for her to succeed, but not with pom-poms. They’ve got bats and balls and gloves and are doing their own thing. That pom-pom thing is so old-school anyway.

Mo’ne Davis, the 13-year-old darling of the 2014 Little League World Series, would concur.

She is the cover girl on Sports Illustrated this week, reflective of her crazy star power. Great things tend to happen when you become the first female to pitch a two-hit shutout in the Little League World Series, as she did last weekend.

Davis will face a powerful Nevada team in Wednesday’s matchup as her momentum builds through social media. All those famous people — and many more — have reached out to her, amazed by her Girl Power.

“When girls succeed, we all succeed,” the First Lady tweeted.

“Who said girls can’t play baseball?” Magic tweeted.

“Mo’ne Davis is straight dominating ... fun to watch!!!” Mike Trout tweeted.

Mo’ne Davis has become a role model for Generation Next. She is at the front door, busting down those girly stereotypes.

“It really makes us proud because all the girls are stepping up and taking charge of the boys sports thing,” said Grace, a first baseman, second baseman and outfielder.

“One day we might want to be like her,” said Aubrey, a pitcher. “I might want to throw 70 [mph] one day.”

A woman playing in MLB? Of course it sounds like crazy talk. But there was a time when the thought of women voting was ludicrous. There was a time when female CEOs were considered a gender-equity lab experiment. And women in space? Oh, please. You’ll see pigs flying first!

Sports is a different realm, but also an evolving one:

Brittney Griner has pushed the thought envelope in the NBA, (see Mark Cuban’s comments that he’d consider drafting her). Danica Patrick has broken through the stereotypical good-old-boy network and made a go of it in NASCAR. Goaltender Manon Rheaume appeared in preseason games for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992 and 1993 in the rough-and-tumble NHL.

And Dan Duquette, the executive vice president of baseball operations for the Baltimore Orioles, has said that a female pitcher would have a shot if she developed a nasty knuckleball or other off-speed pitches.

Never Say Never.

“It takes the right people to have an open mind and aren’t threatened and won’t have their egos affected who are willing to go forward and try it,” said Josh DeVinney, Grace’s father.

And even for the David and Debbie Downers who pooh-pooh those dreams, what about the one that is taking place all across America, where little girls are looking at Mo’ne Davis, and envisioning themselves making a historic charge as well one day?

“I just want to play the sport I love,” Aubrey said.

The word “no” destroys the possibility of hope. It’s best to ask a simple question:

“Why not?”

It’s true that pigs will never fly. But don’t count out the possibility of girls soaring in MLB one day, giddy with boundless potential.

Mo’ne Davis has given them wings.

 

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