Patty Gasso isn’t taking her championship and going quietly into the night.
Oklahoma’s softball appeared on the ESPNPlus show “Stephen A’s World” with host Stephen A. Smith and expounded on her thoughts about the ongoing inequities between men’s sports and women’s sports.
“As much as people enjoy watching us — and there’s a lot of revenue and a lot of eyes on this championship, it’s the fastest growing sport that America is watching, and the numbers show it — and yet, we’re still not being treated or have the same opportunities, amenities that others do. And it’s sad for me.”
Whether she wants to or not, Gasso with her five national championships has become a voice for the game of softball. During the Sooners’ 2021 run to the title, she was asked about the practicality of Oklahoma State and Florida State playing a Women’s College World Series game until well past 2 in the morning because of rain delays. She was also asked, after the Sooners overcame a handful of bad calls, about the viability of video review in the WCWS, where ESPN boasts more than 40 cameras.
She's taken every topic by the horns, and Monday brought up some new ones.
“I’m not really one that is a huge advocate,” Gasso told Smith. “I’m not one that speaks up. I usually let others do that. But I’m being brave and trying to stand up more for this sport, to say these players and this coaches and these teams deserve more.
“We deserve a better bracket, better timing, we deserve instant replay."
USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium last year completed a $30 million renovation and expansion, including an upper deck with more than 4,000 new seats and four times the number of toilets.
But there's much more to do for the WCWS and its eight-team tournament format, Gasso said.
"We deserve locker rooms. We deserve showers. We deserve batting cages," Gasso said. "We have to go find our own cages, otherwise our teams are gonna stand out in the hot sun taking batting practice in one cage and on an open field. That’s unheard of. That is absolutely unheard of.
“So there’s a lot of things that we have to do on our own to make it happen, to make the experience better for our athletes, versus it being given to us or handed to us. It’s kind of shameful, it really is, and I am committed to help this change.”