Monday, April 24, 2006

Hernandez' Remarks Challenge Political Correctness, But Has He Got a Point?

Okay, time for honesty. Let's have a show of male hands. How many of you out there think it's cool that a woman was hanging out in the San Diego Padres dugout during Saturday's game against the New York Mets?

Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez was reprimanded for speaking his mind about 33-year-old massage therapist Kelly Calabrese, who is apparently employed full-time by the Padres. After spotting Calabrese high-fiving the Padres' Mike Piazza in the dugout, Hernandez said, "I won't say that women belong in the kitchen, but they don't belong in the dugout."

Typically, everyone went wild. Calabrese was "shocked." Hernandez' media-outlet employers made him apologize the next day for his "inappropriate" remarks. Padres CEO Sandy Alderson issued a statement criticizing Hernandez and vouching for Calabrese's good work. Then a cadre of New Age ESPN Radio jockeys set out to castigate Hernandez' "neanderthal" views.

For once, y'all, let's get past the PC verbiage and look at this episode with perspective and an eye toward the truth.

Next show of hands: How many of you guys out there want to see a time when women are playing major-league baseball, competing fully and regularly against men?

Well, I for one don't ever want to see that. Sorry, call me unenlightened. Whatever. I like baseball and I like men playing against men in the major leagues. Major league baseball is a male domain, and the idea of women in the dugout high-fiving Mike Piazza is just...well, it's wrong. Ironically, it's a little queer, too.

Yet again the feminization of our society rears its ugly bulbous head. I have no doubt that Ms. Calabrese gives excellent massages. Hurray for her. That's not what Hernandez (pictured left, onfield as the Mets' former All-Star first-baseman) is reacting to. Her presence in the dugout is yet another signal of the creeping societal sludge of political correctness, which basically states that women are allowed everywhere, whether men like it or not, and that men furthermore are bound to keep silent even if they have an urge to express an opinion.

Women masseuses in the dugout? Next the head trainer will be a woman. Then the third-base coach. Then the manager. Meanwhile, the minor leagues will be forced legally to put women on the field. Don't doubt that any of this can't happen. In the past 40 years, our society has seen the unmitigated ascendance of women in all social and employment realms. Legislation has been enacted to protect—and also to encourage—their insinuation into once-male-dominated domains. Have you watched television lately? Aside from ESPN, with its mostly (but certainly not all) male talking heads, women are everywhere in places of media prominence. On any given night, a typical local network affiliate will have an all-female team handling anchor, weather and sports duties. What are the men who used to have those jobs doing now? Working at day-care centers?

Is it any wonder the sociologists and pop-psych book authors wonder about the "problem" of males in our society? Men fill our prisons. They are being educated at a slower rate than women, when they are being educated at all. Meanwhile, many of them work in traditionally blue-collar industries that are dying on the economic vine. Female enrollment in American colleges surpasses male enrollment at every level. At many graduate schools, women comprise more than 50% of incoming law and medical classes. But, oh, by the way, it's politically incorrect if you dare to raise your voice even a little in support of male pride.

Hernandez, in a moment of pure and (God love him) thoughtless honesty, was only striking a blow for a bigger cause: Men's right to have their games and to play them in the sanctity of blessed maleness. The dugout is only an extension of the locker room, which is where men change their clothes, shower, scratch, fart, belch, and otherwise act like guys. Is the right to act like a guy in danger of being legislated out too?

Listen, it's not men's fault that the games they play are cool and executed at the highest physical level, and that women want to intrude. There's been such a fuss over Title IX funding for so many years, and women got their way with that. Their opportunities to play sports have increased tremendously, and more than ever women are making livings throughout the sports world. The encroachment of women into American sports is unprecedented. And, no, we shouldn't be surprised that the San Diego Padres have a female massage therapist working out the kinks of a third-baseman's strained hammy.

Does anyone really think that Keith Hernandez, a guy who's been around the block a few times, was making some kind of statement about where women belong in society? I think not. My guess is that Keith has a handle on the big picture. Which is, that men, just like women, are entitled to their own competitive worlds, their own oneness of gender, their own privacy, their own camaraderie, their own right to express themselves at a unique personal level, and, most of all, to behave freely as men. The major league baseball dugout has always been a place where these things have been allowed to happen. Kelly Calabrese's presence raises a potential red flag signaling the end of all that, and yes, men have a right to be concerned.

There isn't a damn thing wrong with Hernandez speaking his mind. It's a free country, isn't it? He''ll have to endure the slings and arrows of outrageous PC fortune, of course, and hell, I don't even care that he had to issue a PC-inspired statement to cover his ass.

The important thing is that, intentionally or not, Hernandez' words give voice to the serious ongoing issue of the inexorable decline of male power in U.S. society.

Years ago, the British rock band Roxy Music's Bryan Ferry wrote a song called "Amazona." It'll be here soon enough if we don't watch out.

Viva la difference! And keep the ladies out of the dugout.


W said...

If Mike Piazza doesn't care, why should you? It's his dugout afterall. And if he's high fiving her then he's probably okay with her presence.

Personally, baseball is about the skill. If a woman can hit for power and get 70 homers a season, then let her play. I don't much care about genitalia so long as they can handle the game.

Anonymous said...

Who the hell cares? Women in the dugout, women on the's all great as long as they are there on merit and not merely as tokens.

I'm a baseball-loving, red-blooded American male, and I say you're full of crap.

Grow the hell up already.

Monica Wells said...

I'm about as liberal as they come, but I agree, major league baseball should stay a men's arena. I like the tradition of it being male.