— SCAR HEAD (@head_scar) August 20, 2014
The Taney Dragons play again in the Little League World Series tonight, with Mo’ne Davis — suddenly America’s most beloved baseball player — taking the mound.
Here’s some of the latest coverage:
Two months after her 13th birthday, Davis has become perhaps the most captivating athlete in the United States. Like a Brazilian soccer player, she needs only one name to be recognized. She is only the 18th girl to have played in 68 years of the Little League World Series and the first female pitcher to have thrown a shutout.
“She’s the most talked-about baseball player on earth right now,” said Mark Hyman, an author and an assistant professor of sports management at George Washington University who has written three books about youth sports. “More people are talking about her than Derek Jeter. That’s a lot for a 13-year-old kid.”
I also know that Mo’ne Davis has been quite open in expressing that all the attention is not fun. Her teammates have been turning down interview requests. And when I asked her if she thought she was prepared to be asked for her autograph when she returns home to Philadelphia next week, she looked at me as if I suggested Instagram was dead.
“Well, people at school know me, so I don’t think they will ask me for my autograph,” she replied. “But if that happens, I’ve known them so long so I’m fine with them.”
When I suggested she might be recognized in the mall by people she didn’t know, her expression was not unlike the one I probably wore watching their game. “If a random person walks up to me, I’ll be like ‘ehh,’ and if I’m by myself, it will probably be even more awkward, so I’ll probably walk around with friends most of the time,” she said.
Stephanie Tuck, a New York media strategist and fitness blogger at TuckTakesOff.com, spent two years as the only girl on her Little League team and the only girl in her league when she was growing up in Newton, Massachusetts.
“I was heckled by the dads: ‘Get that girl off the field,’ ” she said they would scream. “I used to literally pray the ball would not come to me in right field as the pressure was so intense.”
On her Facebook page, along with a clip of a recent interview that Davis did, Tuck gushed, “Love her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
“Her impact is that she will not only inspire other girls to play but she is helping to remove the ‘specialness’ of girls playing on that level,” she said. “Over time people won’t be amazed that a girl is so good. They will simply be amazed that a particular pitcher or catcher or fielder is so good. Gender won’t matter.”
The game is at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN. If the Dragons win … this story is going to get even bigger.