Rawlings today decided to reaffirm the meaninglessness of its annual Gold Glove Award, traditionally given annually to the best fielders Major League Baseball, by offering the trophy to women in a professional fast-pitch softball league.
First: Yes, apparently there is a professional fast-pitch softball league. It’s called the National Pro Fastpitch League.
Second: Haha. Come on, Rawlings. You know MLB isn’t a men-only league, right? If women were even remotely good enough at fielding to compete with men for a Gold Glove, they’d be playing for the Braves right now.
This is a shameless reach for the gender warrior consumer dollar.
Here’s the announcement from Rawlings:
Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc. a subsidiary of Newell Brands (NYSE: NWL), today announced that the Rawlings Gold Glove Award®, an established symbol of defensive excellence given to the top position players in Major League Baseball® will also be awarded annually to a female softball player in the National Pro Fastpitch League (NPF).
Similar to the award selection process in baseball, coaches and managers within the NPF organization will vote for a potential winner excluding those on their respective teams.
“We’re thrilled to partner with the National Pro Fastpitch League to celebrate and recognize defense with the introduction of the renowned Rawlings Gold Glove Award,” said Mike Thompson, executive vice-president of marketing at Rawlings. “As we reestablish the Rawlings brand in softball, it makes perfect sense to reward female athletes for their exceptional fielding ability and prowess.”
“It is a tremendous honor for the players of the NPF to now be included in the prestigious roster of Gold Glove Award winners,” said Cheri Kempf, commissioner of the National Pro Fastpitch League. “This is a wonderful statement by Rawlings on the performance value of our athletes.”
The award will be announced at the annual Awards Banquet for National Pro Fastpitch, held in Tuscaloosa on the eve of the 2016 Championship Series, Thursday August 18th at 7:00 p.m.
The Rawlings Gold Glove Award was established in 1957 to recognize super defensive performance at each position in pro baseball. Previous winners include athletes whose careers have been defined by their fielding ability including Ozzie Smith, Brooks Robinson and Derek Jeter. In 2007, in conjunction with the award’s 50thanniversary, the award program expanded to include winners at the collegiate and high school levels.