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As a female sports columnist, I get some very special mail. A comment we recently unapproved on UmpBump is just the beginning:

“go back to the kitchen and make some grilled cheeze sammiches for your 3 kids.. youre the reason why there are gays in this world.”

But this is nothing new. Every columnist gets harsh feedback—I’ve gotten my fair share of hostile “you’re a moron” and “please just quit” letters, along with legitimate corrections and disagreements, and along with, quite frankly, a ton of supportive email from appreciative readers. But I—and every other female columnist out there, I promise you—also get an earful in another, special category of reader mail. Thanks to Gmail, I have an easily searchable archive of all my reader mail. A few simple clicks, and I can bring you this small sampling from that aforementioned special category. Each is a letter I’ve received from a real, live reader of my column in the Boston Metro:

“You shouldn’t be writing about sports, go back to the kitchhen.”

“go back to the kitchen cunt.”

“you’re just a freelance writer who never made it to the big time. Hahaha. Silly bitch.”

Utterly uninsightful, completely devoid of any creativity and extremely poorly written. You girls should stick to something you know better and stop trying to be sports writers. You’re terrible.”

 

“Sarah, Baseball is and always has been a Male sport. The sooner you realize that, the better off you’ll be. I’m not saying woman don’t enjoy the sport, or that they shouldn’t attempt to write about it. They just havent made any impact on the sport. And I hate to say it, but sports in general. Mia Hamm has done great things for female soccer and the USA Hockey team is always very respectable. Beyond that? It doesnt matter how many books you read about baseball, games you attend,stats you comb through. The bottom line is , you can’t play. And don’t think I’m saying you have toplay to make an impact (I’m a big Bill James fan) , but don’t walk around with your hand on your hip like you’ve earned respect. You have not. Good Luck with your Metro career.”

Then there are the backhanded compliments:

“Love your work. Most women sportswriters don’t get stuff.”

And the just plain creepy stuff:

“Sarah Baby, I read your post on the METRO paper… You look so good. So deliciously yummy, with that nice sexy slim body… Mouth Watering..”

But of all the most memorable letters I’ve received, I think this one takes the cake:

Dear Sarah,

I’m a regular reader of the Metro while eating lunch and always pay particular attention to the Sports section. I find your columns to be somwhat entertaining and informed, but really I always seem to end up coming back to the same question- are you hot? I remember a couple of years ago the little picture next your column was just a profile and you definitely appeared to very cute/borderline hot, but now with that full body thing that they have it’s really hard to tell. I’m guessing that full body image scrunches you up a little and adds some lbs- you’re arms seem thin and that’s something of a guage.

Is there any way you could let me know honestly what you’re attractiveness level is? I know this is an odd request, but that’s what you get for putting your email in Metro- this is what you’re readers are thinking about!! If you want throw any other interesting details in there please feel free- height/weight, relationship status, other pics, exercise regimen, etc.

But of course, I can’t talk about any of this. And I certainly can’t write about it. Because the one time I do (in response to Keith Hernandez’s priceless comments), I get stuff like this:

“Another good one today

I have to admit I did not like the one the other day when you made a big

deal about being a woman sports writer

Until that point I had thought of you as an extremely good writer and

that’s it, making a big point about being a woman was a turnoff”

What to say about any of this? People (in this case, men) are jerks? Clearly, when people can post comments and send email in pseudo-anonymity, they say a lot of things they would never dare to say to my face. And apparently, for me to expose them is “a turnoff,” as if I have some sort of innate duty to turn them on.

As for getting back to the kitchen…I think I speak for all of us when I say that if there is one UmpBumper who needs to get back to that room, it’s Nick Kapur. That man makes better chicken soup than my mom. (Sorry, Mom.)

19 Responses to “A day in the email inbox of the female sportswriter”

  1. As a life-long punk rocker born and raised in West Virginia, I can certainly relate to having to deal with all sorts of closed minded people who think the world was a better place when their grandfather was a boy. The people who have a problem with your writing are the same people who are still pissed off at Branch Rickey. Thank you for irritating the ignorant by just doing what you do and doing it well.

  2. Greg Martin says:

    Actually, I really like your posts on here. If I could get over the 2004 World Series, I’d probably love them.

    …but heartbreak is beside the point…

    …and 2006 made up for it.

    When folks have nothing to add to the conversation and no clear or cogent point to make, they’ll always devolve to the ad hominem attacks. Sorry that you have to deal with that.

    Keep writing! …’cause this ol’ boy wants to keep reading.

  3. I’m glad you responded to that comment. Personally I like reading your articles here. So good luck and keep writing!

  4. I really like your writing style content, but what is the point of this post? Guys are douchebags, and I don’t think that is a shocker to anybody. Girls definitely fight an uphill battle in sports journalism, especially if they want anything more than the “Erin Andrews” flavor of the week eye candy sideline reporter.

    The only way this is going to change is to show that female sportswriters are just as good, (and much better than the Plaschke-esque writers out there now) is to continue to write good columns, and not let this crap get to you. I think this column weakens your cause.

  5. Proof reading would’ve been my friend, but you get the point. Apologies.

  6. Sarah Green says:

    Hi gej, the main point of this post was just to make use of these unintentionally hilarious emails. I think there is a difference between letting crap get to you, and making public the crap in question for the entertainment of others. I sort of feel like you’re asking me to pretend that misogyny doesn’t exist. But it does. And as long as it does, we should at least be able to laugh about it.

  7. Sorry to hear of this, Sarah. When I first visited the sports blogging scene, I naively thought that being a female and a sports writer was always a great benefit, because it provided a different perspective. Spending some time talking to female bloggers taught me that unfortunately mine may be a minority opinion.

  8. You should immediately disregard hate mail from those who fail to capitalize any of the words in said email.

  9. I’ve always enjoyed reading your stuff Sarah.

    Should we make a Sarah Green fan club like I did for Amalie Benjamin?

  10. Sarah, I hope that Tim Hardaway doesn’t find out that the gays are your fault. These emails illustrate the ignorance of the goofs sending them. Thanks for the laughs and all of the great work you put out. The pictures and captions with this post are priceless as well.

  11. Sarah Green says:

    Thanks for all the love. I feel like I don’t really need a fan club (I’m blushing!). But I do love those Anne Taintor magnets. “Ta da! Now let’s have a cocktail…” is what I say to myself every day when I get home from work.

  12. “Go back to the kitchen! And fetch me some mustache dye while you’re at it!”

  13. Don’t you think that a lot of these are people trying to be funny?

  14. Great post, as always. I recently posted a similar article on my blog. It’s from a man’s perspective (and therefore less weighty and legitimate, I understand that) and it’s about female athletes more than sportswriters but I would hope it hits the same chord. I wouldn’t be presume to announce that “I get it” or “Look, somebody’s looking out for you,” but I figured if there’s a dialogue opened up about this, I’ll throw my two cents in to the well…I think I just invented a phrase there. Anyway, here it is; http://isntso.blogspot.com/2008/02/womans-place-in-sports.html

  15. Sarah Green says:

    Tom, no, I think they were all too serious. Even the guy who asked, in detail, if I was hot—I thought he was kidding. He had to be, right? It’s so preposterous! So I wrote back, “Haha, yeah, I’m a ‘ten’” and he responded with a 1,000 word treatise explaining, in minute detail, the fine distinctions between 10s, 9s, 8s, and 7s, and how it was physically impossible for me to actually be a “ten.”

    I deduce from this that he lives in his parents’ basement and has a lint collection.

    And Nick, that was a nicely done post. I hadn’t even *heard* that story about the female ref. Shows how much traction it got, eh?

  16. Just when I think my state has hit rockbottom, I can always rely on good old Kansas. The nutjobs there always find a way to be slightly more prehistoric than the crazies in Georgia.

    BTW, here is a direct link the AP report on SI.com:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/highschool/02/13/female.official.ap/index.html

  17. For the record, I’m a female sports fan, and I have sent you hate mail over your Metro column because it’s TERRIBLE. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

  18. Sarah Green says:

    Kelly, your email came up when I did my gmail search for reader hate mail. I didn’t include it because yeah—it’s just typical hate mail. Not sexist hate mail.

    Plus, I thought you were a guy named Kelly—there are so many of them in Boston! So it’s not like I was giving you points for being a woman.

    Anyway, it’s good to see you crop up on my blog even though you hate my writing.

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