SINCE SOFTBALL became an Olympic sport in 1996, the three gold medal games have had two things in common: The U.S. was victorious, and Lisa Fernandez was on the mound. But when the 15-player U.S. roster for Beijing was announced last week, Fernandez wasn't listed, so if the Yanks make it four in a row this summer, they'll have to do it without the 37-year-old Californian. "It's like Michael Jordan getting cut from the basketball team," said catcher Stacey Nuveman.
This is an article from the April 7, 2008 issue
Fernandez took three years off to start a family after the U.S. won gold in Athens (she and her husband, Michael, a special-ed teacher, have a two-year-old son, Antonio), and she never quite regained her form. She has been pitching for the U.S. during its pre-Olympic tour. (The U.S. lost 1--0 to Virginia Tech last Wednesday, as Hokies pitcher Angela Tincher tossed a no-hitter. It was the first loss for the U.S. in a pre-Olympic game since 1996, a span of 185 games in which the U.S. outscored its opponents 1,475--24.) "I have no regrets," Fernandez said. "I know I gave it everything I had. There wasn't a corner cut or a practice missed. I just ran out of time."