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Back when he was a minor leaguer, David Ortiz called his teammates out on poor treatment of a female reporter

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In an article for the Deseret News in Utah, Amy Donaldson recalled a story involving retired slugger David Ortiz. Back in the late 1990’s, Ortiz was in the Twins’ minor league system playing for the Triple-A Salt Lake Buzz. Donaldson had transitioned from news reporting to sports reporting, covering the Buzz.

Clubhouses were — and still are, to some extent — breeding grounds for sexist behavior. With few (and sometimes zero) women around, sexist behavior and comments were rarely called out and dealt with. Behavior that was taught in high school was reinforced in college and through the minor leagues on into the majors.

Donaldson recalls some of the sexist treatment she endured, which included jokes but also dropping their towels on purpose in front of her while she was conducting interviews. She writes, “But, if I’m honest, my most common coping mechanism was ignoring the bad behavior altogether. I focused on my subject with intensity. I asked my questions; I recorded the answers. I did my job as quickly as I could and then later, when I was in the safety of my home, I laughed, cried, complained and sometimes tried to figure out ways to make changes.”

One time, Donaldson was interviewing Ortiz about being a minority player in a predominately white area. Ortiz’s teammates decided to pick on Donaldson during the interview. Donaldson describes what happened next:

I don’t know what happened to the left of us, I just heard the laughing. My eyes stayed locked on Ortiz, who without hesitating, turned to his teammates and sent a message that not only changed some of the behavior, it gave me an idea to prevent this situation.

“Hey, guys,” he said smiling and without raising his voice, “Leave her alone. She’s just trying to do her job.”

Then he turned back to me and continued whatever story he was telling me. No one got mad. No one responded. No one argued. And, not surprisingly, whatever was going on near us, stopped.

Importantly, Donaldson points out, “When men stand up to other men, sexual harassment ends. When women stand up to men, the behavior gets rationalized and we get criticized.” That’s true not just in baseball clubhouses but in the office, the shop, and at home. Kudos to Ortiz for setting an example back when he was in his early 20’s and kudos to Donaldson for sharing the story.

Brewers have 3 positive COVID tests at alternate site

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MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.

The entire camp was placed in quarantine.

“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”

Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.

The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.

“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”