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Monday, December 29, 2008

Zelasko Not Campaigning For Dodgers' Broadcast Job — Unless She Is

The Fabulous Forum reports a bizarre story relevant to the equally strange Christmas Day story about Jeanne Zelasko trying to get into the Dodgers' TV broadcast booth:
Zelasko, who is in Dallas preparing for her Cotton Bowl sideline reporter duties, said that while she hadn't meant to sound so much like a candidate giving a stump speech, she has, indeed, sent the Dodgers an audition tape and that she would love to do Dodgers play-by-play on television.

"I wouldn't have applied if I didn't think I'd succeed," Zelasko said from Texas. "I believe a woman could do this job. I'm not big into self-promotion but one of the reasons I tossed my hat into the ring is because I've been around the game a very long time."

"I don't mean to be a self-promoter", she continued, "and that wasn't why I was talking to any reporter. But, really, why not me? Why not now? Especially with this franchise that is known for breaking down barriers. It's not brain surgery." No, not brain surgery. But also it does require a little awareness of what else is going on in baseball, dearie.

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This is starting to feel increasingly like a bad episode of Mad Men to me. There's potentially an open broadcasting job, and a woman who has 15+ years in sports journalism has decided to apply for it. She's got little PBP experience, but she's worked baseball since 1995 as an analyst and news reporter. And for this the "hottie" or "dearie" gets savaged by the bad blogger boys based on what exactly? An anecdotal mid-season dis of the Tampa Bay Rays? A small sin of omission after years of the Rays being non-competitive? There were plenty of male broadcasters who were also expecting to fade down-the-stretch as well, and many 'elite' sportscasters who were short-shrifting them no less.

Be honest. If this were some male journalist with similar experience wanting to make a lateral move into PBP, there wouldn't be half the stink. I have no dog in this fight really, and am not especially overfond of Zelasko. But enough with the sexist baiting of the woman. Let her be judged on her audition tape, and stop the sneering and gendered insults. Dude.
Maxwell, that just doesn't cut it for me. The basis for wanting to fire Joe Morgan is that he consistently says idiotic things that are readily falsifiable. What you're proposing is that because Joe Morgan collects a paycheck, we should therefore encourage equal stupidity from women just to bring up the quotas. I would argue the reverse; if women are going to bring up the quality of discourse, I'm all in favor. I would have no trouble, for example, with Christina Kahrl in a broadcast booth, assuming she can handle live play-by-play otherwise; similarly, Suzyn Waldman, from my limited experience, is at least competent, though I confess to not listening to enough Yankees games to get a good read on her abilities.

As for the "gendered insults" comment, it's hardly an original observation that pretty women have an easier time in this life. That cuts both ways, though, as expectations are often accordingly lowered. The anecdotal evidence against her is pretty compelling (and I didn't even mention her widely-derided interview of Ernie Harwell); how can you claim to be a baseball fan and not know the state of the AL East doesn't include the Yanks or Red Sox atop the division? It's a man-bites-dog story, and a huge tell that she really doesn't know her stuff or care all that much, except superficially.
Did I mention Joe Morgan? How does he relate to Zelasko other than the fact that neither are white dudes?

And now Zelasko is not only a "hottie", a "dearie", but outright stupid? Where have you made this case exactly? You allude to "compelling" "anecdotal" evidence, but all I've seen is a whiny post in a baseball thread about the Rays that got passed around a few blogs and, now, the Harwell dig on her Wiki. What did the Harwell incident even have to do with her baseball acumen? It had more to do with Fox producers badly time-managing the segment, and rushing Harwell off the scene. The Harwell fanboy who wrote the negative opinion piece in Salon didn't single out either Zelasko or Kevin Kennedy, but was attacking Fox specifically for the lack of decorum.

If you want to beat this horse, at least lay out the crimes. I mean, in a matter of a week, you've jumped from being pretty 'meh' about this story to suggesting that the woman is a quota-humping ditz who equals Joe Morgan in windy brainlessness, but you're generally grasping at innuendo and the fact that she has a uterus to make your point.

Zelasko was only the second woman to headline an MLB show in history when she was hired by Fox. If "pretty women" have it easier in this life, why do they still make up barely 10% of sports journalists, and have not achieved pay equity in almost any industry? Do tell, boss.

Sleep on it, Rob. Maybe show this thread to your wife, and let's see what she thinks. I don't call out prejudice often; it rarely yields a positive result for either the aggressor or the target. But you seem like you might be receptive to reasonable criticism, and I'm hoping this Zelasko thrashing is just a casual improvisation that went off the rails a bit.
Joe Morgan is what I would call the platonic ideal of a terrible baseball announcer, and in particular of that subspecies who brings nothing to the game. Feel free to substitute Rex Hudler, Steve Lyons, or any of a half-dozen others if you wish. My point is that I do not wish to see more incompetence from anyone, male or female.

Actual televised statements are not innuendo; they are prima facie evidence of her ignorance. I was pretty neutral on her as a candidate up until I read the BTF poster's comment outlining her earth-shattering ignorance (as someone paid to speak knowledgeably about baseball).
I want to set one thing straight. Jeannie Zelasko is not hot.

On a more serious note, Zelasko's campaigning for the Dodgers broadcasting's job, a major league job with little experience in the booth in general, and no experience at all calling a baseball game. The Dodgers should and will expect more from their field of candidates, because lets be honest. The person who replaces Vin Scully better be the best in the field. You would dishonor Vin Scully if you allow a person with Zelasko's body of work a foot near the door due to her inexperience. It is not prejudice to not want a unqualified candidate to have a job that affects you, even indirectly. If Zelasko truly wants to be considered seriously, she can do one thing and do some actual broadcasting anywhere that would allow her to. College baseball games, or minor league games.

I'll put it more simply, If Jeannie Zelasko was James Zelasko, does this story get any publicity? That we're even talking at all about this shows the ridiculousness of the situation. Zelasko's just not qualified to be considered for a job in the Dodgers' broadcast booth.
If Jeannie Zelasko was James Zelasko, does this story get any publicity?


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