Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Dibble's Drivel

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I’m from a family where the women outnumber the men.  My only sibling is a sister so there were three women versus just my dad growing up.  I have more aunts than uncles, more female cousins than male and more nieces than nephews.  Because of this, I grew up with an apparently skewed view of how women are not only treated but looked upon.  There was equality all around.  The only instance of gender bias toward the girls that I can recall is when I was in grammar school my grandfather telling his granddaughters to clean the table after dinner while his grandsons did nothing.  This was met with my fellow female cousins forming a kind of sit in that was encouraged by my mother and aunts.  After that, the boys helped too.  So it always boggles my mind a bit when I come across misogyny in any form because I’ve lived a life where I haven’t had to deal with it too often.

It’s odd to me that the place I face it more than any other is in my fandom for baseball.  Watching a child’s game brings out the worst in some people.  I’ve received emails in the hundreds from men who couldn’t voice their displeasure with me or what I wrote without bringing in my gender and how that somehow negates my opinions on baseball (I feel the need to point out that the majority of the anti-woman emails came when I was at WEEI.com.  Read into that what you will).  But, really, I’ve never felt self-conscious about being a woman AND being a knowledgeable baseball fan.  Sadly, there are too many women who have been made to feel this way and it doesn’t help when someone you’re supposed to trust, the person calling the game you love, comes out and shows his dislike of women and their appearances at baseball games.  Rob Dibble, the schmuck who calls the Washington Nationals games, is one such person.

Now, I’ve always thought Dibble was on the schmucky side.  I thought it when he played, I thought it when he would make appearances on misogynistic tripe like “The Best Damn Sports Show Period” and I think it now.  But he proved it to everyone else the other night.  (Well, not everyone else.  Read some of the comments on the piece I linked above.  Many people thought he was just being funny or that he was…right.)

“Those ladies right behind there, they haven’t stopped talking the whole game,” Rob Dibble said in the sixth inning of Wednesday night’s Nats broadcast. “They have some conversation going on. Right here,” he said, circling the offenders. “There must be a sale tomorrow going on here or something….Their husbands are going man, don’t bring your wife next time.”

If Dibble wanted to comment on people in general going to games, sitting in the good seats and not paying attention to the game, have at it. Jerry Remy points out many times the folks sitting in the private boxes who have no idea what is going on in the game until a foul ball almost kills one of them.  But I take two issues with Dibble and his blathering.  The lesser issue is that plenty of people talk during a baseball game…about baseball.  Makes sense, doesn’t it?  Baseball games are long and, more often than not, slow.  Gives folks long periods of time where they can fill it in by discussing what is going on without missing any action.  Talking while watching the game, so easy even Rob Dibble can do it.

My bigger issue, as you can guess, is the obvious disdain for women sitting in the park.  “…don’t bring your wife next time”?  Really??  How about don’t bring your business associate so the two of you can spill beer on the people in front of you while you go on and on and on about your last fishing trip or how hot the woman in Human Resources in loudly enough so no one can hear Carl Beane announce the pitching change?  How about THAT?

I’ve been to more games than I care to admit where there were people around me being loud and, usually, obnoxious throughout the game and their actions had nothing to do with baseball.  Once in a while it’s a woman but more often than not it’s a man, usually more than one man, using the baseball game as an excuse to sit with a buddy or two, get drunk and be an ass.  This kind of behavior is not specific to men just as what Dibble thought he witnessed the other night isn’t specific to women.  The real kicker is that Dibble’s broadcast partner tried to give him an out by pointing out women are fans too, even telling him to “Tread carefully” yet Dibble ignored him and went on about the silly, gabbing women.

“I was just thinking, those women, there’s a new series Real Housewives of D.C. that just came out, he said. “Maybe they’re filming an episode?”

Women wouldn’t actually go to a game to see the game!!!! How silly for anyone to suggest they would!

Stacey over at Camden Chat and Caryn at Metsgrrl nail down the reasons this is offensive, upsetting and should be dealt with by MASN with Stacey hitting a home run (see what I did there?) with this:

But I’d never really talked baseball with anyone other than my family and few friends who cared enough to listen to me. Everything I’d ever seen or heard about baseball in any type of media was presented by men. I never saw anything from SC or the community members here that would lead me to believe it would be any kind of issue, but there is always that fear of that one person, the Rob Dibble of the group, casting judgement and making assumptions based on my gender. And that fear kept me quiet.

The Dibbles of the world shouldn’t have the power and MASN is in a great position to do something about it.   As Caryn points out, 45% of baseball fans are women.  Dibble insulted almost half of the fans of the game that pays his salary.  This isn’t something they should ignore.  Let’s be honest, many Nats fans could easily become (or go back to being) Orioles fans in a heartbeat.  Why antagonize the people who actually show up for the games and support the team?

It’s 2010.   Women shouldn’t have to fight to get the same respect men do in any area but especially in one called the National Pastime.  Women enjoying sports isn’t new.  Hell, one of my aunts brought my grandfather to the 1946 World Series.  She brought him, not the other way around.  Over 60 years since that time, and Rob Dibble either thinks women are some kind of anomaly at the game or that they should be.  You can do better, MASN, you can do much better.

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August 14, 2010 - Posted by | 2010 | , ,

5 Comments »

  1. Exactly so, Cyn. Exactly so.

    Comment by Elaine Apthorp | August 14, 2010 | Reply

  2. As much as I agree… I am much more bothered by the folks who consistently use “Nancy Drew” to denigrate J.D. (because we all know women aren’t tough, don’t keep going through pain, etc.) and consistently find ways to equate being female or having female anatomy with not being up to the task at hand. Yeah, Dibble has a position of greater prominence, but even on TV he’s just a drop in the bucket of sports-related commercials that present women as uninterested or uninformed eye candy.

    Comment by KellyO | August 14, 2010 | Reply

    • Of course you’re right. It’s everywhere. Hell, Peter Abraham’s response to a woman calling him out on his insulting Jacoby Ellsbury was to tell her he’d buy her a pink hat. I could write an entry a day about the beer commercials, other websites and day to day internet coverage that make women out to be less than equal to our male counterparts. I’ve stopped visiting a lot of blogs I used to enjoy for just that reason. Maybe you’ve just helped me give myself an idea for another blog? Like Dan Shaughnessy Watch only pointing out the daily, piss-poor treatment and/or representation of women. I’m unemployed; I could find the time. 😉

      As far as Dibble goes…everyone knows (or should have known) that he’s an idiot. The fact that MASN has been quiet about what he said and the reaction to it disturbs me because I equal their silence to their consent.

      Comment by Cyn | August 14, 2010 | Reply

  3. Very well said!

    Comment by Kristen | August 14, 2010 | Reply

  4. Brava! I want to stand up and cheer. You are absolutely right on point here, Cyn. I applaud your integrity and courage. I’ll support you every time on this front and if you put up a paypal button, I’ll support that too and gladly. You have a wonderful voice and are very level-headed.

    There was no good reason for this man to single out gender as justification for ridiculing fan behavior. If he had been honest enough to point out that two people were occupying high-priced seats without ever watching the game at all, there would have been no objection; it might even have been funny; we would probably all have agreed that was a noisy and expensive place for them to go just to have a conversation. It was considered a joke precisely because it is misogynistic. That is what is wrong with it.

    And no, he did not apologize. Saying “I’m sorry if you were offended” is not saying “I’m sorry I said that.”
    Worlds apart. First is blaming your listener’s delicate sensibilities and second is owning your own offense. Different.

    He thought it was funny because he knows it is condoned in our society to ridicule women. The people who raised him did him no favors by allowing him to grow up with this impression. This is the same level of humor every well-brought up person is taught to avoid: no making fun of people just because they are different. As long as mothers, fathers, ministers, teachers, employers and people in general make an exception for “jokes” about women, this particular form of sexism and the host of evils that ride in on its coattails will continue. It is not just one idle “joke” on air during some down time. It is the tip of a huge iceberg. You can’t indulge yourself in just a little bit of it without keeping the whole thing afloat.

    Comment by Anita | August 16, 2010 | Reply


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