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Coors' Field Of Stifled Dreams


Up Front: FOUL BALL

COORS' FIELD OF STIFLED DREAMS

Take heart, Geena and Madonna: The new all-female professional baseball team started by Coors Brewing and Whittle Communications is being hyped as a woman's chance to break into the majors. The Colorado Silver Bullets will play minor-league teams, guided by Manager Phil Niekro, former Atlanta Braves great--and provide promotional value for Coors Light. There's only one problem: As with the 1940s women's ball clubs in the film A League of Their Own, the odds that a Silver Bullet can make the big time are slim to none.

To hear the Golden (Colo.)-based brewer tell it, the team will shatter sexist traditions. Although no formal ban exists on women players, and though female hopefuls have tried out for pro slots over the years, few if any have made it. Coors, which is backing the Silver Bullets with $7 million, believes that a women's team will help. Says a Coors spokesman: "It makes good marketing sense, and we think it's good for the sport. Why not give [women] a chance?"

The effort to attract female beer drinkers may indeed be smart marketing. But there's a chuckhole in this field of dreams: The Silver Bullets will play teams in the Northern League, outside the majors' farm system. And

the games will be only exhibitions.Maria Mallory


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