New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays FREE LIVE STREAM (5/26/22): Watch MLB online
The New York Yankees, led by right fielder Aaron Judge, face the Tampa Bay Rays in a regular season game on Thursday, May 26, 2022 (5/26/22) at Tropicana Field in Tampa, Florida. Local fans can watch the game for free via a trial of DirectTV Stream -- YES Network for fans in New York, Bally Sports Sun for fans in Tampa. Channel finder: Verizon Fios, Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum/Charter, Optimum/Altice, Cox, DIRECTV,Dish,Hulu, fuboTV, Sling. Get free bets, risk-free bets and enhanced odds offers from the best licensed NJ sports betting sites. As an 8-year-old girl, Beanie Ketcham dreamed of pitching for the New York Yankees. Baseball never got Ketcham to the Bronx, but her playing career did take her far — including nearly 5,000 miles from Yankee Stadium, to a ballpark in paradise. There, the right-hander at least got to pitch against a famous Bronx Bomber. “I would say it’s my claim to fame, I guess,” Ketcham said. This year is turning out to be a big one for women breaking barriers in baseball. It’s an entirely different landscape than nearly 30 years ago, when Ketcham and teammate Julie Croteau are believed to have become the first women to play in a league affiliated with MLB when they were invited to join the Maui Stingrays of the now defunct Hawaiian Winter League. The pair were asked in 1994 to play in Hawaii among Class A and Double-A minor leaguers and pros from Japan and Korea. “I remember thinking, ‘This is the best job I’ll ever have,’” Croteau said of Hawaii.
It was the highest level of baseball either got to play. “It was a fastball right down the middle, and I remember it was a line drive, right above the pitcher, and it fell in before the outfielder came in,” she said. Ketcham recalls working anywhere from 77-84 mph with her fastball, but a bout with dead arm took the zip off everything when she landed in Maui. Her high point was striking out Boone, a third-round draft pick by Cincinnati in 1994. Ketcham punched him out with a breaking ball, and Boone threw a tantrum in the dugout. “Threw my helmet in the trash can,” said Boone, who became New York’s manager in 2018. The moment was captured by a local TV broadcast, and Boone said replays surfaced soon after he reached the big leagues. Ketcham kept an eye Boone’s career, which included one of the most famous home runs in baseball history, a game-ending drive in Game 7 of the 2003 AL Championship Series against the rival Boston Red Sox. “That is a memory that will stick with me for my entire life,” Croteau said of the strikeout, “because it was just validating for her. The experience was affirming for them both, and a high point for their playing days. Ketcham and Croteau had different experiences in the early parts of their lives when it came to playing with the boys. Croteau went on to play Division III college baseball and pro ball against male players.
“I found in my playing career that the more confident players were in themselves, the easier it was for them to accept me on the team or a female in their presence,” Croteau said. Both women went into coaching, and Croteau also became a TV analyst, broadcasting World Series and All-Star Games for MLB’s international feeds. “It’s been really wonderful to see what’s happened in the sport,” Croteau said. Both are sorry to see that growth hasn’t included more venues for women baseball players to compete against each other. Which means that — just like nearly 30 years ago — the only playing career available to women is one that pits them against men. Croteau was frustrated as a player when people asked if she thought she could reach the majors. “It’s not the right question to be asking, and it shouldn’t be the end all, be all,” Croteau said. “I’m confident a woman can compete offensively and defensively at the highest levels of professional baseball. “She shouldn’t have to carry the weight of her gender anymore than anyone representing any group should. Thank you for relying on us to provide the journalism you can trust.
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