Graham Hays passes on a quote showing the extra urgency in softball, a sport with an underdog pro league and an uphill fight to get back in the Olympics.
None of us who play in this league know when our last at-bat is going to be. We don’t know when the last time we’ve ever going to play softball again is. So there wasn’t really any time to waste in the sixth inning.
Did anyone sense that urgency about women’s pro soccer from the sport’s stars? Perhaps there’s no reason to feel that way — overseas leagues, the WPSL and the W-League can always provide other options.
National Pro Fastpitch playoffs — Racers force Game 3 against Pride – espnW.
2 thoughts on “Pro softball playoffs: A soccer lesson?”
I think the stars were as much in the dark as the fans as to how bad things had gotten. The assurances from the WPS did nothing to make folding seem imminent. Soccer players do have other options so no, I don’t think they felt the same sense of urgency.
I’m still not sure I’d put this league on the same level as a pro D1 women’s soccer league: past or future. Salaries/budgets, # of teams in existence and possibly a number of other categories put it on par with or below most minor leagues (which are still professional based on the crude definition of paying a salary makes a team professional) so of course they would feel an urgency to keep afloat. Top WPSL Elite and W-League franchises currently in existence that are being sought after for the “new” pro league imo are significantly ahead of softball at the moment.
It is great that softball has had this league for almost a decade, but at the same time to make a fair comparison this business model is closest to modest WPSL franchises and not what WPS and WUSA attempted to accomplish. One would be hard pressed to say that the softball league is doing well for itself either, with only 4 teams currently going. Financially it would logically stand that somewhere between the extravagant numbers of being Division 1 for soccer and a model like softball has would be somewhat of an optimal place to begin this 3rd time around.
In terms of urgency, if we are strictly talking finances, my understanding is that USSF has a pay grade for USWNT players that is decent enough for the stars we are discussing to make a full time living training and playing. This is significantly different than the salaries the 4 softball pro teams are handing out. The urgency then is more about having a league that is strong enough to become mainstream in the US and growing the sport. There are plenty of professional women soccer players in the US on the fringes that did get hurt by not having a pro league and had to scramble to find something. However, since 99 our stars have been more than able to make ends meet both on and off the field of competition which is something a lot of great athletes (like the ones we just saw in London) can’t say.