Sorry Ham, you need to find a new rip because 16-year-old female phenom, Melissa Mayeux, playing 2 years up on the French U-18 junior national baseball team is giving, “You play ball like a girl,” a whole new meaning. The shortstop became the first woman on the MLB’s international registration list. This means that she is now eligible to be signed by an MLB team as an international prospect. It is unlikely that she would be signed just because of how young she is. If Melissa gets signed, it’s more probable it would come around when she’s 18. She can definitely play! According to MLB Director of International Game Development, Mike McClellan, she has the talent to stick with the boys. Just watch the video below!
Melissa’s dream is to play in the MLB, but mainly she just wants to play as long as she can at the highest possible level she can. Her love for baseball could have come to an end when she was 15 because there is a rule from the French federation not allowing girls to play with boys past the age of 15. She would then have to switch to softball, but Melissa loved baseball even more and wanted to keep playing baseball. She was able to convince the president of the French federation to let her keep playing ball with the boys by writing him letters. Look at where this is getting her now! Like I always say, persistence pays off!! As my sisters and mom often point out, women get the short end of the stick in sports in terms of support, funding, opportunities and salaries. This is such a cool story and I wish Melissa the best in her baseball career. Hopefully, one day we will see her out at short in front of a crowd of 40,ooo.
Here is a great interview conducted by SB Nation. Her true love of the game shines through.
How did you become interested in baseball? Through your family? How did your family pick up baseball?
I became interested in baseball because my older brother, Dylan, became passionate about the sport when he was five while passing by a field where a game was being played. I went to his practices with the club team for the city of Montigny-Le-Bretonneux (initials MLB!) and, at the age of three-and-a-half, fought with my mother to let me out of the stroller and let me practice with him. The game teaches great values, and my family quickly became passionate about it.
Do you also play typically “French” sports? Why baseball over those?
I don’t know if there is a typically “French” sport. Cycling? Maybe thèque, a distant ancestor to baseball. There is pretty much every sport imaginable in this country. But to have fun or at school, I don’t really play other sports other than baseball and softball. I manage pretty well at soccer, but baseball opened my eyes from the beginning. I didn’t really give much thought to other possibilities.
Is baseball viewed as a “boys” sports like it is in the United States?
In France, the rules are that between ages 12 and 15 girls must be steered towards softball. I think that separation goes back a long time, without any explanation or justification. I was lucky that the president of the Fédération Française de Baseball et Softball and my coaches noticed my potential, which gave me an exemption to play with the boys. Some were deeply opposed to those who just trying to let me pursue my dream. Little by little, the rules were eased back within our national federation, then at the European level. That said, baseball remains, essentially, a male sport.
Was it ever weird to be playing with boys, or has it always felt normal?
I have always liked and found it absolutely normal to play with and against boys. On the field, I’m no longer Melissa Mayeux: I become a baseball player like anyone else. Baseball runs in my veins. It’s the only thing that matters to me.
A lot of people here have already written how cool it is what you’re doing. Is the reaction similar in France? Are you aware that you’re generating attention overseas?
In France, baseball is still under-developed compared to football, rugby, judo, handball or cycling. Even reading newspapers, some still say, “Wait, we also play baseball in France?”, without knowing that the federation was created during the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris and even practiced in Paris since the end of the 19th century. That surprises many on this side of the Atlantic.
I know that it has generated a lot of debate in the United States, but I admit that it seems a little abstract. All I can say is that to be on the eligibility list is a step in the right direction. All the better if it can help this great sport and encourage people to play or help the federation or academy find sponsors for youth programs.
Do you think about being a symbol for women at all?
I’m hesitant to perceive myself as a symbol of anything. Not because of ego, but because I’m just a 16-year-old girl who is still going to high school and who is practicing a sport out of passion. I can easily understand some of the messages one might want to associate with my actions. I’m going forward because of my passion, and if I can help those who would like to take the same route, that would make me happy. I am aware that this could help change attitudes. And why not? I find that a lot of women are true warriors on the field, with minds of steel. Some women, like Eri Yoshida (the first female drafted by a Japanese professional team), who I met in Japan, or Justine Siegal (first woman to throw MLB batting practice and coach a men’s pro baseball team), who held a conference in Paris two years ago, are clearly symbols for me.
What are you goals? Simply play at a high level? Play in the World Baseball Classic?
Ultimately, my goal was that someone lets me play baseball for as long as possible. Today, when I achieve one goal, I create a new one. That’s how I function. I work hard each day at the baseball academy in Toulouse. I do the most that I can to keep getting better. It’s not easy to balance this daily discipline with my school work, especially while boarding very far from my parents. Fortunately, I have very attentive coaches and great friends. Baseball here is like a big family. To wear the colors of Team France during the next World Baseball Classic qualifier with Eric Gagné as manager, to play in MLB, to join a minor league team, all that seems so far … but it still makes me smile to think about it. If I could earn a scholarship at an American college or university after I finish high school, that would be awesome. When I stop playing, I would like it to be my personal decision and not because someone told me no.
Have you given thought to playing softball, or is it important to you to stick with baseball?
I am playing on the French softball team at the same time, and I enjoy that, too. We have a lot of fun. But all the same, I prefer the little ball.
You’re actually the second female baseball player to cause a lot of attention in the United States recently. Have you heard of Mo’ne Davis?
I heard about Mo’ne Davis’ performances through the news, and obviously I loved her story. I was really impressed, having been on the mound for so long. During that time, a lot of my friends told me “Look, you’re not alone!” and that idea was comforting. I can’t imagine one day getting that much media attention. I simply hope that a day will come that we no longer look at girls like extra-terrestrials.
Who is your favorite player? Favorite shortstop, past and present?
My favorite player is Derek Jeter. Well, it was. I’m having trouble with this answer since he retired. But if he has a little time now, I would love if he comes to France one day, to the Toulouse academy, to give us some advice. (Please, Captain!)
Who would you like to style your game after?
I’m not looking to imitate anyone. Each plays according to his style and his ability. I think the most important thing, is to be one’s self. What matters to me is to be confident on the diamond.
Do you follow MLB? How?
I follow a lot of the news on social networks and the site of MLB. When I was younger, I could pass hours on the Internet watching and breaking down videos on hitting and game techniques. I also watch TV when games are being retransmitted. It’s a real treat but it’s difficult with the time difference, especially when there is only one channel that broadcasts in France.
How do you feel about the designated hitter in the AL?
I have been a pitcher and I would never let someone hit in my place. I think that answers the question.
How do you feel about players who like to have fun on the field, like Yasiel Puig, against how many people think baseball should “traditionally” be played?
I’ve had the chance to meet and play with or against players from a lot of different places, to be trained by a lot of different coaches, and to go experience baseball in Japan or Cuba. I sincerely think there isn’t one right way to play baseball. Some make it a little more of a spectacle, add a little spice. Each culture appropriates the sport in its manner.
For now, we are sharing the influences of Americans, Canadians (a lot of Quebecois come to play in France), the Japanese (under the influence of Yoshio Yoshida — manager of the French national team from 1989-1995) and Latin Americans. It’s not simple but I’m convinced that if baseball continues to grow in France, we would be capable of developing our proper style of game, like we have, for example, with rugby.
Anabolic steroids are heard about everywhere in the sports world. They are thought to give you superior strength incredibly fast. Athletes feel that taking steroids gives them an edge at beating the competition. They think they can rise to be number one in their sport. This may be true, but there are consequences that can change your life forever in very negative ways. Although steroids strengthen you in the short-term, it will deteriorate your body over time. The negative effects, physically, as well as mentally, are staggering.
The proper name for anabolic steroids are anabolic-androgenic steroids. The word anabolic means building or growing. So your muscles are growing and building in this case (Crane). Testosterone is the main chemical on your body that anabolic steroids imitate (Taylor). Testosterone is an androgen and thought of as the “male hormone,” but it is actually found in women as well. An androgen is a male sex hormone. Ninety five percent of testosterone in men is produced in the testicles. Testosterone in men is responsible for a man’s muscular build. Womens’ testosterone is eighty-five percent produced by the ovaries and fifteen percent produced by the adrenal glands. The testosterone produced in women is much less than in men. A deep voice, beard, and slim hips are all caused by testosterone in a man. Muscle protein building, and the formation of red blood cells are promoted by androgens. Also, they increase your appetite (Silverstein). When people work out, they create micro tears in their muscle fibers. A muscle then regrows, like scar tissue and comes back larger than before. If you use anabolic steroids, this cycle gets faster and better. People can work out more often, as well as get stronger quicker (Taylor).
There are various techniques of taking steroids. Steroids can be ingested by a pill, injected with a needle, and also can be rubbed on your skin with a cream. Most people take a hundred times the amount that is prescribed normally. Another method is
called cycling. Cycling is most commonly used with body builders. This form has the individual taking the drug in certain time cycles. Most commonly, they are taken in 6 to 12 week cycles. Another way is called stacking. You put the substance into your body by both pill and injection. This isn’t scientifically proven to work, but is meant to double muscle growth. Pyramiding is a common way to take steroids. It is just like cycling, but slightly different. In your first cycle you take a low base dosage. Then each cycle you keep increasing your dosage until you hit a peak. Then you gradually decrease (Anabolic Steroid Abuse).
Steroids are very addictive. When usage is stopped, severe migraines, depression, and fatigue commonly occur. They have effects on the body that would encourage usage. Steroids increase muscle mass while lowering body fat with the increase of testosterone. It also increases the concentration of hemoglobin in your blood and your blood volume. Hemoglobin is in your blood and it carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Steroids will also escalate bone strength and the mineral density in your bones. Your pain tolerance heightens. Steroids accelerate your recovery from muscle injuries and injuries caused from overuse. A sense of euphoria is felt by steroid use making you feel on top of the world (Taylor). In other words, steroids give you a sense of well-being and strengthen you abnormally quickly.
Anabolic steroid use is commonly found in many sports and most commonly associated with Major League Baseball. Athletes believe that using steroids will enhance their performance and give them an edge over the competition. Steroids, also known as performance enhancing drugs, are banned in sports for that very reason of giving them an edge over everyone else and to protect the health of the athletes.
People with a psychiatric condition known as muscle dysmorphia often abuse steroids. Muscle dysmorphia is the disorder of being absolutely obsessed with your body image. If someone is built and strong, they believe that they appear weak and skinny. There is no believing that you look good enough ever. Nothing is good enough for them concerning their body. This causes people with muscle dysmorphia to abuse anabolic steroids to improve their body image (Rohman). A common misconception among anabolic steroids is that they treat and prevent injury (Taylor). This has some truth, but can severely destroy the body in the long run.
Steroids will destroy your body physically. Specifically, men experience the development of breasts. The testicles also shrink (Crane). As a result of this, a reduced sperm count and temporary impotence also occurs. At first, using anabolic steroids increases the sex drive rapidly, but it eventually decreases. When the body experiences another source of testosterone, artificially introduced, the body may stop or slow the production altogether. This may actually make a man appear more feminine (Silverstein).
Women who take steroids appear to be more masculine. This is result of the increased testosterone. Another result is the deepening of the voice and breast size decreasing (Silverstein). Women lose their hair on their scalp, but it rapidly grows on their body. The hair lossage on the scalp is called male-pattern baldness (Anabolic Steroid Use). Menstrual irregularities often develop as well (Crane). Horrific side effects in women are the degeneration of the uterus and an enlarged clitoris (Silverstein).
Adolescents who take anabolic steroids usually do it to build muscle to improve in athletics and to attract women they are interested in. Sometimes boys take them to start puberty if it has not been reached at an older age. Adolescents using steroids may have premature baldness and may even have stunted growth. The stunting of growth happens because instead of bones and muscles growing, the bones become fused together. This makes no room for the bone to grow, just the muscle (Silverstein).
There are many side effects that develop in both men and women. The most common are severe acne and tendon and ligament damage. Tendons and ligaments become damaged because muscles are strengthened so fast that they can’t keep up. This could also cause a bone breakage (Crane). Users get a very oily scalp. Steroids also alter the level of lipoproteins which carry cholesterol through the bloodstream. Atherosclerosis can then occur. Atherosclerosis causes the arteries to have deposits of fatty substances within them. This can confound blood flow. If this arises, then the risk for heart attacks and strokes are greatly increased (Anabolic Steroid Use).
Anabolic steroids can destroy the body’s liver. Painful cysts will develop on the liver. Tumors can build up too and blood filled sacs can form. These blood sacs, cysts, and tumors can end up rupturing resulting in hemorrhaging and internal bleeding (Silverstein). Jaundice is also terrible side effect. It is a dysfunctional kidney condition that results in the yellowing of the skin and/or eyes (Crane). Another severe side effect is the possibility of infertility (Anabolic Steroid Abuse).
There are many personality and psychological effects. Users can end up experiencing suicidal feelings (Crane). Commonly people become delusional and experience mania. You may hallucinate and hear voices in your head. This is commonly referred to as ‘bodybuilders psychosis’ (Stein). Most often it is expressed as severe rage and aggression.
‘‘Roid rage” is the term for the behavioral side effects of severe rage and aggression. Increased testosterone has been linked with increased aggression. It has been reported that users would burst out raging. Some examples are beating a spouse for no reason and smashing in a car window in front of you because the blinker was left on. In the worst cases, ‘roid rage has resulted in murder. “It made me feel real moody, violent. I wanted to kill someone,” football player, Dan Steinkuhler said (Silverstein).
Anabolic steroids absolutely destroy your body. There are virtually zero positive outcomes from taking this drug because of the harmful side effects. Physically, your body will destroyed and deteriorate. Psychologically, they will change your personality and not for the better. The short-term enhanced performance, resulting from steroids, is in no way worth the risks of the detrimental effects on the mind and body.