Thirty-six year old Justine Siegal has a passion for the game of baseball, and this has allowed her to make great strides in the sport.
No, she's not a player—that would be truly remarkable. What makes this event so special is that, for some reason, it's flown somewhat under the radar.
Siegal has spent the past four years as an assistant baseball coach at Springfield College in Massachusetts. Aside from coaching baseball at the college, she has been working toward her Ph.D. in sports and exercise psychology.
During her time coaching at Springfield, she became the first woman in history to coach a professional baseball team. In 2009 she coached the the Brockton Rox, an independent league team in the Canadian-American Association, to a 56-37 record.
Siegal, a Cleveland native, approached Indians GM Chris Antonetti with a proposal during the Winter Meetings this past December.
She wanted to throw batting practice to the Tribe in spring training.
So yesterday, Siegal threw four-seam fastballs during batting practice to a group of five Minor Leaguers. After watching the session, members of the Cleveland brass were impressed enough to let her face a few Major Leaguers.
With her 13-year old daughter watching, Siegal threw batting practice to catchers Lou Marson, Paul Phillips and Juan Apodaca.
When interviewed after the history-making appearance, Siegal said, "I've been thinking about this almost every hour for the past month. I'm excited to be here and to have done a good job."
Siegal had been notified about the arrangement three weeks prior and was itching to get out there ever since.
Teams around the league were very impressed with the performance. So impressed even, that she will be throwing batting practice for the Athletics on Wednesday.
Justine Siegal's story is one that's certainly good for the game of baseball. Women may never actually see the field but, who knows, women could one day have a much greater impact in the sport.
The involvement of women is integral to the growth and development of the game. When more women participate, more women watch.
With a larger fan base possibly on the horizon, baseball could be entering yet another period of prosperity, success and glory.