It seems all those Gold Gloves he won as a first baseman never came with a manuscript on the importance of present-day respect. It seems ol' Keith is a few back-door sliders short of reality. He needed just minutes while commenting as part of SportsNet New York's broadcast team to remind us sexism is alive and pitiful, openly questioning the presence of a woman in San Diego's dugout.
The victim of his insensitive remarks was Kelly Calabrese, in her third season as the Padres' massage therapist and the first female to be employed full time in a major league training room. There isn't a person more respected in San Diego's clubhouse, confirmed yesterday as players and coaches charged to her defense. Players who often would not have seen the field if not for her skill.
Here is what viewers then heard from Hernandez and play-by-play announcer Gary Cohen:
Hernandez: “Who's the girl in the dugout with the long hair? What's going on here? You gotta' be kidding me.”
Cohen: “She's excited. Got a fist bump and everything.”
Hernandez: “We'll get back to her. I'm not through with her.”
A minute later, cameras again showed Calabrese.Hernandez: “I thought she was Morganna (referring to the woman who for more than two decades became baseball's unofficial mascot by jumping onto fields and kissing unsuspecting players) for a minute, but she wasn't a blonde. . . . I won't say women belong in the kitchen, but they don't belong in the dugout.”
Calabrese was raised believing that if she studied and worked hard enough, nothing was unattainable. For those women who wrestled for equality in the workplace years ago, she regards her position as one that can continue enacting essential universal change. The kind Hernandez likely couldn't fathom.
“Hopefully, if anything, we can turn what is obviously a negative into a positive,” said Calabrese, who learned of the comments from her parents, who were watching off a Major League Baseball feed in Cleveland. “If I can be a role model for young girls who aspire to hold positions not typically held by women, I'm happy to be that person.[...]
Chris Young is in his first year as a pitcher for the Padres. His wife was also watching the telecast.
“It was offensive to her and the other women she was watching with and I'm sure to a lot of other viewers,” said Young. “(Calabrese) handles herself in a completely professional manner and all the guys in here handle it with professionalism. She makes each and every one of us better.
“It's 2006. Wake up. We have women fighting on our front lines in Iraq. I think they can be in a baseball clubhouse. My wife is in law school. Imagine that. Women can be lawyers, too.”
Hernandez has apologized and I'm sure will soon be exonerated by fellow sportscaster, Rush Limbaugh.