It’s that time of year again. Baseball season is in full swing (literally), so it was only a matter of time before I had to write something about yet another man making a snarky, idiotic comment about women at the ballpark. (You can read last year’s here!)
Unsurprisingly, it’s a Yankees fan and Barstool writer. Based on my personal experience with Yankees fans, this tweet was actually on the tamer side! But regardless, why does it matter what this woman was doing at a ballgame? Why do you care?
It’s just mind-boggling to me how upset men get when women exist. This woman, who happens to be a gorgeous model who’s graced Vogue, came to the ballpark during a very empty day game, no less, and took some photos. Plenty of room to move if she was blocking your view, which is the only legitimate complaint you could make. Personally, I’m more bothered when drunk, loud, belligerent men make lewd comments to me and about me during baseball games. That’s a bit more invasive and problematic than a woman taking a photo.
Women have been going to baseball games since the 1880s. As the number of women in the workforce increased and men felt threatened, the gender landscape of baseball fandom changed accordingly. In 1909, the National League banned Ladies’ Day, claiming that women were legitimate fans who no longer required a day devoted to them. 110 years later, I’m still made to feel like I’m not a legitimate fan, much less a knowledgeable sportswriter.
In reality, baseball was trying to preserve the male fanbase, which had been vocal about their aversion to Ladies Day. In the 1970s, Men’s Rights Activists actually sued teams over Ladies’ Days, claiming they felt the promotions marketed to women actually were discriminatory to men. The Pittsburgh Pirates even hosted Men’s Night on August 6, 1976; women had to pay, but men could attend the game for free. Several other ball clubs and other sports teams around the country actually followed suit.
When women are targeted by marketing campaigns, it’s often teams offering makeup or jewelry to women as a way to entice them to coming to a game. As if watching the game itself wasn’t reason enough.
I, personally, go to baseball games to watch baseball. To the point that I feel very uncomfortable posing for photos during games, because I don’t want to distract others, or be distracted myself. But that’s my choice. And anyone who wants to make a different choice is free to do so within the rules and confines of the ballpark. That’s kind of the whole point of America: freedoms. Of course, that’s the double-edged sword; she has the freedom to go pose for a photoshoot during the game, and fragile men have the freedom to be incensed by it.
Last fall, Forbes reported that attendance across MLB was below 70 million for the first time in fifteen years, having dropped by 3 million from 2017. Average attendance across the league dropped 4% to 28,830, its lowest since 2003 after 14 consecutive seasons topping 30,000. Ballparks like Miami and Oakland are often photographed looking almost completely empty during games. And you want to mock people who actually choose to spend their time and money at a ballpark instead of doing something productive with your time?
Mocking a beautiful woman whom you’d never have a chance with in a million years only makes you look bad. If you’re that upset by something so trivial, you have more serious issues to work out. If you don’t have anything nice to say, just stay in your lane and watch the game.
Photo courtesy of the Las Vegas Review Journal