“…woman is out there, representing ‘points’ to be scored—a trophy to be wooed, captured, seduced, suckered or even smacked over the head with a club. And men who play baseball come standard with a club.”—Dirk Hayhurst, “Minor League Manhood”
The standard narrative when someone finally confesses to witnessing a years-old crime is one of remorse. We expect to see guilt, the regret of doing nothing, and then the subsequent begging for forgiveness that should come with having allowed something horrible—something criminal—to happen. Yesterday, when former major league baseball pitcher Dirk Hayhurst published “Minor League Manhood,” his horrifying account of repeated sexual misconduct, violation, and rape in the minor leagues, we didn’t get that. Instead we were asked to believe, in a flood of social media support, that Hayhurst is courageous for sharing the sordid details, eleven years later.
The piece, “a first-hand account of masculine sports culture run amok” published at Sports on Earth, is a compendium of egregious misogyny—and criminality—on the part of the 2003 Eugene Emeralds minor league team. Hayhurst candidly documents his time with them, focusing on the toxic stew of alpha masculinity that viewed “bagging girls” as the mark of manhood. Women lack identity and agency, becoming nameless, faceless points in a hierarchy system, with the most lays garnered in the most perverse ways earning a player the most respect from his teammates. A majority of Hayhurst’s telling consists of standard asshole behaviour—players sleeping with as many women as possible, grading said women’s performances, and then grotesquely bragging about the details. Women are referred to as “beef” and “tunnels,” when they’re not being called “Cleat Chasers,” “Slump Busters,” “White Buffalos,” “Yard Rats,” “Butter Faces,” and “Promotions.” But at a certain point in the narrative, things veer beyond heinous jock behaviour into something altogether more monstrous, with women being coerced, subjected to surprise group audiences during sex acts, and videotaped without their consent. (Not to mention a reference to one girl who is underage. Her father arrives to rescue her, wielding a two by four, from an unnamed teammate’s clutches.) Most disturbingly of all, women are “tricked” in the dark into sleeping with men other than the one they have agreed to. Rape is justified with the phrase “chicks love ballplayers.”
Full text and comments