That sago is blooming. The round ball you described is what the bloom looks like on a female plant. As it grows and matures the bloom many dozens of seeds will form that are an inch and a half or more in size and bright orange red when ripe. If the plant were male it's bloom would look like a tall (about 1 1/2 feet) cream colored pine cone or pineapple.
The "babies" that you took off of the base of the plant are called "pups" and are simple new shoots growing from the base. They are not a sign of a plant being male or female and both will produce these pups.
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