Monday, April 24, 2006

Political Correctness has reached the dugout

During the 1970's, it became common for female reporters to have access to baseball's clubhouses. It took a court order, but it happened and quite frankly, we all got used to changing in front of our lockers and walking to the shower while there were women present. So at some point baseball was bound to take the next step.
When Mike Piazza homered Saturday night, I'm sure there was more than one person who was surprised to see a female face in the Padres dugout. Count Keith Hernandez among them. His comments and what happened afterwards are covered in Bob Raissman's piece this morning in the NY Daily News.
After I left baseball I had the priveledge of working with students from the University of South Carolina Athletic Training Department. Half were female. So in that number I knew eventually women would find thier way into the highest levels of professional sports. It's here.
Kelly Calabrese is a Certified Massage Therapist and is considered part of the Padres medical staff. Acceptance of her or another professional like her is not actually formal, but is accepteSo d practice. Its true that MLB rules allow for only a head and assistant trainer to be in the dugout during the game. But for some time nowclubs have had strength coaches and physical therapists and they have been in the dugout, too. This argument that she shouldn't be there base on this unenforced rule doesn't apply.
At any rate, Keith Hernandez made his comments in a manner which some may have found offensive, he was called on the carpet and subsequenly apologized. I feel that I know Hernandez well, and feel his comments were based on the fact he indeed has respect for women. A baseball dugout is a harsh place with rough language and men say things and do things that in my opinion can never change. I believe Hernandez is indeed a gentleman and doesn't feel women should be exposed to this. I agree and feel that here is a place where baseball cannot be feminized.
Having said this, from here on as women are clearly going to be part of clubs, they are going to have to accept the natural male competitive nature of the game. And they must realize they cannot and should not attempt to change it.
Kelly Calabrese did not react well in her indignation, making it a gender issue in the manner she chose. She's not off to a good start. And neither are the rest of us.

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