RIGHT NOW, at least in Philadelphia, people who would normally get really mad if you told them “you throw like a girl” are taking it as a compliment instead.
That’s because the hottest pitcher in the city is a 13-year-old girl named Mo’ne Davis.
Davis, who became the first Little Leaguer to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated, is the ace of the Taney Dragons, a team that’s managed to unite a city of neighborhoods as it moves through the Little League World Series in Williamsport.
Though the Dragons lost to Chicago on Thursday, and were eliminated from contention in the Little League World Series, which ultimately was won by a team from Seoul, South Korea, Philadelphia will give the team a parade this week.
Mo’Ne Davis and the Dragons represent
The Taney Dragons are the first team from Philly to make it this far, which is kind of cool considering that Taney has only been a member of the Little League family since 2013.
The Dragons began their run for the U.S. Championship on Friday, August 15 … That’s the same day Superintendent William Hite announced that schools would open on time Sept. 8 despite the $81 million hole in the district’s budget.
There’s a lot of things that I’ve found interesting about this Dragons team. I find it interesting that they’re a multicultural group that plays like a wave, meaning they flow together seamlessly.
It’s also a team made up of kids from all walks of life. Some of them go to private schools like Springside and Germantown Academy. Some of them go to charter schools here in the city. Others go to School District of Philadelphia Schools.
It’s those last two sentences that made me write this column.
The Dragons began their run for the U.S. Championship on Friday, August 15.
For those of you who have been paying attention to what’s been going on in the School District of Philadelphia this summer, that was the day that Superintendent William Hite announced that schools would open on time Sept. 8 despite the $81 million hole in the district’s budget.
This means that the district had to make some cuts in advance. If you’re a student that lives less than two miles from your school, no SEPTA transpass for you! Students in need of alternative education services will have fewer of them to choose from, and if you were hoping for more school police, forget about it.
Tom Corbett is a Mo’Ne Davis fan
Meanwhile, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett made his way to Williamsburg to root for Mo’ne and the Dragons in their shutout win against Nashville.
Dressed in Taney gear from top to bottom, he marveled at the squad’s female flamethrower.
“She’s out there pitching and she’s doing a great job,” Corbett told ComcastSportsnet. “And I’m thinking, is she going to go into professional baseball? I don’t know. She’s playing as well as any of the kids right now.”
But according to a reporter friend of mine that was covering the game, the Governor’s presence made some in attendance want to give him a serious side-eye.
You see, it wasn’t that they weren’t glad to see the Governor show these young baseball players some love.
It’s just that they wished he would show them some love in the classroom.
The reason why Superintendent Hite had district parents waiting with bated breath to see if schools would open on time is because of some business that the Pennsylvania Legislature didn’t take care of before going on its summer vacation.
If only Mo’Ne Davis ran the schools
The latest rug designed to cover the $81 million hole in the School District’s budget is a $2 a pack cigarette tax that would be applied to every pack of cigarettes sold in the city. If it’s passed, cigarettes would go up to almost $10 a pack and the district, in theory, would get anywhere from $40-$45 million in new revenue.
While the cigarette tax will bring some new funding to the district to go along with Corbett’s $256 million advance, or as I like to call it, the mother of all payday loans, it’s the equivalent of kicking an educational can down the road.
Because the House and Senate passed two different versions of the bill, Corbett, and district officials, tried to get the House to come back on August 4 to pass the bill. But the Republican leadership of the House, a group that is among those rooting for the Taney Dragons, couldn’t get its people back to decide the measure.
While the cigarette tax will bring some new funding to the district to go along with Corbett’s $256 million advance, or as I like to call it, the mother of all payday loans, it’s the equivalent of kicking an educational can down the road. All that this additional money does is get the district back to where it was last year.
That wasn’t necessarily a good place. Teacher’s aides were cut. Nurses were cut. Students got short changed.
And this was after the district had closed 24 schools.
I spoke to Tim Eller, spokesman for the Commonwealth’s Department of Education a while ago, and he said that Corbett was putting together a panel to look at ways to stabilize school funding. The panel is expected to start its work soon.
The Taney parents, and parents all over the District, are hoping that they’re serious.
It would be nice if the Commonwealth would start to hit home runs when it comes to funding schools… and leave the strikeouts to Mo’ne…
Denise Clay is a veteran journalist who is active in the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists.