Opinion: Alderson Needs to Apologize for Letting Ladies in the Dugout
Sandy Alderson, Mets GM, ducks another tough question.
Only a day in to his new job, and new Met GM Sandy Alderson is already knee deep in controversy.
Sure, Alderson may have risked his life for his country, made himself a wildly successful major league executive, and been a founding father of the sabermetric set that revolutionized baseball. But already there is another Bernie Madoff-size hole the size of in Alderson's creditability. After refusing to apologize for the steroid era, Alderson would seem to be on thin ice already as he faces the second stunning controversy of his brief tenure. This time the scandal takes the form of a clash with Met culture itself; specifically, a growing disagreement with one of the greatest living Mets, SNY broadcaster Keith Hernandez.
Keith Hernandez, shown reacting to announcement of new Met GM.
The controversy started in 2006 when Hernandez noted the presence of a female trainer, Kelly Calabrese, in the dugout of Alderson-controlled San Diego Padres. "Who is the girl in the dugout, with the long hair?" Hernandez said. "What's going on here? You have got to be kidding me. Only player personnel in the dugout."
Hernandez later tried to back step and defuse the controversy, saying "You know I am only teasing. I love you gals out there -- always have." No doubt this was done in order to spare the San Diego organization the loss of face that comes with such a transgression of America's past time.
But as Hernandez knows, the damage was done. Gals were hanging off of the top step railing. Chicks were getting players ready to play ballgames. All of this slowly destroying the game that, along with Jazz, country music, and nuclear weapons, stands among America's greatest contributions to world civilization. And this destruction was done on Sandy Alderson's watch.
In this space, I can only modestly (pre-) echo the (no doubt forthcoming) demands of noble scribes and keepers of the baseball flame like Ian O'Connor, who work for great defenders of the integrity of the game of baseball like the website and 24 hour news channel ESPN, and make the following demand: Alderson must say he's sorry for being an enabler at a time when baseball desperately needed a whistle-blower and a leader on the issue of ladies in the dugout.
If Sandy Alderson gets his way, horrifying scenes like this will be an everyday occurrence. What's next, equal pay for equal work?
Alderson no doubt disappointed millions when he stepped to the microphone on Friday to take questions, yet refused to address the issue of babes on the bench. But the Mets organization as a whole needs to take a stronger stand. Where is team president and architect of the entire past four years of unmitigated failure, Saul Katz on this issue? Since we now know that Katz makes most of the decisions in this organization, Katz needs to address the media and set the record straight immediately, if the Alderson rebuilding project is to have any hope of succeeding. I demand an apology from Saul Katz as well.
If Alderson and Katz are going to preach accountability with the sad sack Mets, that's fine. But they would make that pitch credible if they started with themselves, and took a few minutes to apologize for an opportunity lost, an opportunity to keep the fair sex out of our fair game.