Pro softball league plays clean as Major League Baseball struggles with scandals

(CBS News) ROSEMONT, Ill. - Unlike some tainted pros in Major League Baseball, a different group of ballplayers are playing clean, doing it for little money, and doing it because they love the game.

A sell-out crowd has descended on Rosemont to see the top two teams battle for first place in the National Pro Fastpitch softball league.

Monica Abbott and Amber Patton play for the home team, the Chicago Bandits.

"I think that what we put on on the field, how we play, and how we carry ourselves, it's very, it's almost, it's really pure," said Abbott. "We play softball with a childlike love for the game, and that's a pureness that only a 12-year-old knows."

It's a sharp contrast to the shadow cast on professional baseball from the recent drug-related suspensions of some of the game's brightest stars.

"It is very unfortunate to see what's happened in baseball," said Jennie Finch, who played in the women's professional league until 2010 and won a gold medal with the U.S. Olympic team in 2004. "My husband's a baseball player. I have two boys along with a daughter, and it concerns me as a parent finding out of all these scandals that are going on in professional sports."

No female softball player on the international level has ever tested positive for banned substances.

"All of us have jobs outside of this three-month season," said Patton, "and I think that, unfortunately, when the big money gets into that and it is their job, that tempts them.

"We're trying to create a great image and see this thing really take off so that one day those young girls can do this for a living," Patton said.

The four-team league has struggled since its start in 1997, but the line for autographs still stretches around the stadium.

"They're just so amazing, and they've worked so hard to get here, and it's just incredible," one young girl said.

They'll sign each one, hoping to inspire the next generation of athletes to play the game the right way.

  • Danielle Nottingham

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