Female pitcher is a minor sensation

Posted: April 13, 2010

PITCHER ERI YOSHIDA is living her dream far from her native Japan.

The 18-year-old righthander has signed with the Chico (Calif.) Outlaws, a minor league team that competes in the independent Golden Baseball League.

Her forte?

A 50 mph sidearm knuckleball that is, according to reports, as hard to hit as Muhammad Ali in his prime.

The 5-2, 115-pound Yoshida is the first female to pitch professionally in the United States since Ila Borders retired from minor league ball over 10 years ago. And she is the first female to play pro ball in two countries.

"I am grateful for this opportunity to pitch for the Chico Outlaws," Yoshida told the team's Web site. "This is a dream come true for me."

Yoshida has at least three people pulling for her to succeed: Outlaws president Mike Marshall and manager Garry Templeton, both former major league All-Stars, and her idol - and fellow knuckleballer - Boston pitcher Tim Wakefield, with whom she spent time throwing last month in the Red Sox training facility in Fort Myers, Fla.

"I believe that she is ready for this and has the potential to do very well," Templeton said.

This tiger story a deceptive tale

Those wacky Canadians are at it again. Seems the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League are putting out reports of actual tiger sightings in and around the city. They even set up a Web page - www.phsb.ca - that claims to be the official site of the Public Health and Safety Board and includes video footage of the alleged sightings.

But . . . you knew there was a but . . . it's all a sham perpetrated to garner publicity for the team. There is no PHSB and no tiger sightings.

At least one person was not amused.

"Actually this is the dumbest thing I have seen in a long time. My elderly mother lives on Park Street downtown Hamilton and is now afraid to go outside, afraid to go to church, afraid to do her daily shopping," a person wrote on a local sports blog. "Thanks Tiger-Cats, for making my mother a shut-in with your publicity stunt."

- Tom Mahon

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