Back in February when our blog was three days old, Sara wrote about the inherent gender bias present in Major League Baseball’s new media dress code. Unfortunately that’s not the only adversity female journalists face covering America’s favorite pastime.
Yesterday Jessica Quiroli, a long-time minor league reporter for the Yankees organization, wrote a piece on her blog “High Heels on the Field” about her experiences being denied access to the clubhouse after minor league and independent league games, and specifically about an incident that happened at a Staten Island Yankees game. Anyone who watches baseball knows that clubhouse coverage is critical to post-game analysis and provides insight into a team or player’s mindset, win or lose. Her reflection is thoughtful, diplomatic and right on the mark. Go read the whole thing, but I’ll reproduce part of it here:
“Women are not allowed in the clubhouse,” the team employee answered.I don’t remember the first words out of my mouth. I couldn’t tell you what I said for the next five minutes that I argued with his explanation. I just remember the faces and reactions of the three gentlemen. There was agreement with my anger and reasoning, helplessness, some obvious and understandable discomfort, and, from the employee, his own mix of helplessness and steadfastness. This, he said, is what he was told. He couldn’t go against the orders given to him and no one could blame him. I didn’t and still don’t.I was then told it was in the media guidelines. I knew for damn sure it wasn’t, but, this I remember. I asked to see the guidelines in writing. We went to the empty office and we skimmed through the guidelines. Of course, there was nothing stating women weren’t allowed.We headed down to speak to the manager, carefully avoiding the clubhouse, but all of us getting what we needed.The conversation continued after the incident, but with no resolution. That night I stayed up until four in the morning writing an e-mail to MiLB president Pat O’Conner and MiLB VP Tina Gust. I forwarded it to the Staten Island Yankees GM. Jane Rogers. I was positive that her reaction, and that of O’Conner and Gust, who I’d come to know professionally and highly respect, would be similar to mine.I was correct. I received an early morning e-mail from Steve Densa saying he’d spoken to Jane Rogers, who was upset and apologetic. According to him, she was also insistent that I was given incorrect information. She told him she wanted my phone number to speak directly to me.The next day, I spoke to the warm and wonderful Jane Rogers and she could not have been more professional, supportive, and also fiercely adamant that no such policy existed.. . .[A few days later] I returned to Richmond County Ballpark and the employee that told me no women were allowed in the clubhouse apologized several times. He was doing his job. I knew that. He’d done the right [thing] that night and then by coming to me after the storm settled.Post-game I was granted access to the clubhouse along with all of my male colleagues. I marched down that hall with just a little bit of cockiness in my step. This was my job and my rights weren’t going to be questioned. I later thought about the women before me who’d be proud I never backed down.