Monday, April 24, 2006

Women Belong In The Dug Out

SAINT PAUL, Minn.- Recently the debate ensued about whether or not women should be in the dugout after Keith Hernandez made some very biased comments during a broadcast of a game with the Mets and Padres.

Kelly Calabrese, full-time massage therapist for the San Diego Padres, is a recognized part of the team and on Saturday happened to be one of three people the Padres were allowed, of both men and women to have present during the game in the dugout.

If the underlined issue is strictly with people besides player personal present in the dugout, shouldn’t that have been brought up off the air with a Padres representative or in a concerned letter to the MLB office who already set rules in place about the number of player personal, numbering three, allowed in the dugout. I believe Keith Hernandez was way off the mark on his comments.

As a woman, a freelance photojournalist, journalism student and baseball fan I am appalled by the ignorance Keith Hernandez showed in regards to his attitude toward women, society and baseball.

I have a history lesson for you Mr. Hernandez, women are and always will be capable of playing and supporting this game in every capacity and if you need to understand this better I suggest you go back and take another look at the history books, Title IX, the 19th amendment and the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) for starters.

Americas early ideals were expressed by Thomas Jefferson’s first draft of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 which eloquently and controversially stated, “We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness…” Everyone should have a chance to pursue their dreams in America and the world; this ideal is why the United Colonies absconded from the King of Great Britain before this country became the United States of America.

A second lesson, a woman with the same first name as Mr. Hernandez’s mother Jackie made history in 1931. The 17 year old female ball player, left-hander Jackie Mitchell struck out two of baseball legends greatest, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame records, specifically the article titled, “The Day a Girl Struck out Ruth and Gehrig,” has the exact details of Miss Mitchell’s talents when she took the two players out of the inning. Today countless numbers of women playing in women’s professional baseball leagues still dream about one day playing in the big leagues and are more than capable of playing this game.

We live in a society where women hold respected positions such as soldiers serving their country during war time. America today is a society where we turn out countless doctors, lawyers, politicians and outstanding, extraordinary women who lead this country past the sexist ideals of a few.

I don’t feel Hernandez’s poor attempt at an apology merits any weight. He did a disservice to women, broadcast journalists and baseball not to mention his own sex. I think that women should not only be in the dug out, but on the field. If there were more girls encouraged to play baseball and more women allowed to play in the minors who are as talented as Jackie Mitchell, it might well have been a woman in the dugout sharing congratulations, high-fiving her team mates after a home run against the Mets.

For anyone interested in the issue of women in baseball I suggest reading the book, Breaking Into Baseball: Women and the National Pastime by Jean Hastings Ardell not to mention checking out a history book or two on women in American history. Life is too short to devalue other human beings, we need to respect one another no matter the profession and Mr. Hernandez you need to remember one of the first rules in journalism, check your facts first.