KYOTO — The professional baseball players were warming up for an evening game at Wakasa Stadium in Kyoto: One was hitting grounders to some infielders, a few were tossing a ball around, and the home team was in a huddle. Pretty typical but for one detail: all the players were female, members of the Girls Professional Baseball League, which started up two years ago.
While softball is still more popular than baseball among women worldwide, the latter sport is gradually growing, both here and in other parts of the globe. According to the International Baseball Federation, the sport’s governing body, 17 countries have women’s programs, most of which emerged after the first Women’s World Series in 2001. (In comparison, the International Softball Federation said 95 nations had women’s softball programs.) This August, at the fifth Women’s Baseball World Cup in Edmonton, Alberta, eight national teams will compete. But despite hitting some important milestones, women’s baseball still has a long way to go before becoming a full-fledged international sport. Read the complete article at www.nytimes.com