BREAKING NEWS: I think Chase Utley is attractive. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Last week during the Baseball Boyfriend kerfuffle, I had a knee jerk reaction. I thought the app was stupid and pandering; a reflection of the things I dislike most about the way female baseball fans are treated. I resolved to forget about the whole thing and pretend that it didn't exist.
But it kept gnawing at me. I thought about it more over the next few days, and slowly my opinion began to change. I read some good pieces about the whole dustup -- reasoned and well-thought -- but it started to seem a little bit like female baseball fans weren't allowed to enjoy attractive men. The app still bothered me, but I started to wonder why I couldn't be a baseball fan and a woman at the same time. Couldn't I find Chase Utley attractive while also knowing his OBP and SLG? And even knowing what those abbreviations meant?
And then last night I read a piece on Jezebel -- an interview with the creator of Baseball Boyfriend, Missy Wedig. It wasn't created by CBS Sports in an effort to woo female fans. Wedig's husband created the app for her fantasy baseball league when keeping track of their baseball boyfriends became too cumbersome to do by hand. After reading it, I realized that I agreed with her. Not only did I agree with her, but I wanted to start a league so I could actually use Baseball Boyfriend. And I'm not shy to admit that at all. I'm attracted to men, and I know other women who are also attracted to men. It's not a secret, and it's not a bad thing. It's part of who I am. I shouldn't have to abandon my womanhood to be a baseball fan. There is more than enough room in my brain to enjoy the game, enjoy the stats, and enjoy the men playing it.
In fact, I suspect there's room in every woman's brain for all that and more. Women are a vocal and growing part of baseball fandom, and it's foolish to think that they're only drawn to the game because Chase Utley has a cute ass. If Baseball Boyfriends was a standalone game where you picked the cutest baseball player and watched how he performed against your friends' cutest baseball players, then yeah, that would be pretty stupid. And real baseball fans would need not apply. But you have to have a fantasy baseball team to even use Baseball Boyfriends. It's for people who find men attractive AND who like baseball enough to have a fantasy baseball team. It's like someone built an app just for me!
I can completely understand if a person -- man or woman -- doesn't want to mix their fantasy baseball with hot guys. They certainly don't have to. But that doesn't mean that it shouldn't exist. And while I hate the selection of pink, glittery, bejeweled baseball merchandise, they wouldn't sell it unless there was a market for it. It exists for a reason. There are female fans of every stripe for every sport ever invented. We are all different. There is no one size fits all. Just because I don't like rhinestones on my hat doesn't mean I don't want my Baseball Boyfriend Chase Utley to beat everyone else's lesser Baseball Boyfriend.
In the end, I have a bigger problem with the girly design of the page than with Baseball Boyfriend. And actually, the site has been redesigned to get rid of the infantile doodles (but you can still see them in the screenshots here). So now I have zero problems with Baseball Boyfriend. Really, it's just another way for me to beat everyone in my fantasy league.