Mo’Ne Davis was the first girl to pitch a shutout in Little League World Series history. She was also the first Little Leaguer (boy or girl) to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. She even has her own Wikipedia page.
She generated excitement for the game, with more viewers than ever before, and a positive note in baseball’s scandal-ridden recent past. She captured the imagination of other girls who long to step into her cleats. She surprised everyone when she said that basketball was really her sport.
What was most surprising, however, was the reaction of some male columnists who wrote she was receiving too much attention, that it would ruin her sports career, and that she should be in eighth grade not on tour. Really? Would they be writing the same words about a boy who had caused this much commotion?
Did they think about why she might have generated so much excitement? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that, in the 67-year history of the Little League World Series, in which over 9,000 children have participated, girls have been almost invisible. In 1972 Maria Pepe, the first girl to make it to the series, was thrown out because the other teams objected to her presence. Only 18 girls have played in the series and, of those, only 4 were from the United States. In fact, there were only two girls from the United States until this unprecedented year, the first in which 2 girls played the series.
Mo’Ne’s responses to reporters show that she is a level-headed young woman as well as a talented athlete. It strikes me that she is, at fourteen, probably more mature than some of the men who are writing about her. I can’t wait to see what she does next.