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Two women just made modern baseball history.

Women are playing ball with men, and it's about time.

Kelsie Whitmore and Stacy Piagno are incredible baseball players.


They played on the same team during the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto when Piagno threw a no-hitter. Whitmore's only 17, and already well-known nationwide.

Therefore, what I'm about to say next shouldn't come as a surprise:

They're so good that professional minor league baseball team the Sonoma Stompers is signing both of them to the team.


But it is surprising.

This is a huge step forward for women in professional baseball.

Whitmore and Piagno will be the first women to play on a professional baseball team alongside men since Toni Stone, Mamie Johnson, and Constance Morgan played in the Negro leagues in the 1950s.

So how did this come to pass? Two reasons:

1. The Stompers are champs when it comes to taking that first step into uncharted modern professional baseball territory.


Last year Stompers pitcher Sean Conroy became the first openly gay professional baseball player.

2. Francis Ford Coppola, who used the power of his Sonoma-based winery to help recruit the women to the team:

“When watching Major League Baseball, I always wondered why there couldn’t be a co-ed team. It’s the one major sport in which weight and strength come less into play. So when my Sonoma winery became involved with the Stompers, I had the opportunity to turn this thought into a reality and recruit these amazing women capable of playing alongside men."

While Whitmore and Piagno's recruitment is notable, they won't be the first women to appear on a professional (read: men's) baseball team.

Back in the 1920s Lizzie "The Queen of Baseball" Murphy shattered that glass ceiling.

Photo via Wikipedia.

Murphy was actually the first person (not woman, person) to play for both baseball's National League and the American All-Star League. She was even inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Of course in the 1940s, America saw the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League become popular, but instances of co-ed ball-playing remained few and far between.

GIF from "A League of Their Own."

There's still a lot more work to be done before we see women playing in the major leagues.

“While many believe it’s only a matter of time before we see a woman playing in MLB, I’ve learned over the past several months that there are many steps in between where we are and where we should be in terms of women in this sport,” Sonoma GM Theo Fightmaster said in a statement.

“We hope this sends a message to the rest of the baseball world that there is room for women and girls in this game — from Little League to the Major Leagues.”

It's worth noting, too, that there aren't any rules preventing women from playing Major League Baseball. Several women are eligible, but so far, none have been signed. It's about time that changed.

As the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League song goes (emphasis mine):

Batter up! Hear that call!

The time has come for one and all

To play ball.


Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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