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Evan Longoria and fan crushes

Feb 24, 2010, 1:30 PM EDT

An interesting little dustup in the baseball blogosphere this morning as Dave Brown at Big League Stew took an awesome picture — and wrote an awesome post, by the way — of a young female fan getting Evan Longoria’s autograph at Rays’ spring training.  The headline: “Looks like someone has a crush on Evan Longoria.”

Metsgrrl doesn’t like it, asking why it’s not possible that the young lady in question is simply a big Longoria fan like so many boys are. Why must it be a “crush?”

I see where Metsgrrl is coming from, but given that Dave’s post was totally solid and not at all sexist — and given that I routinely describe myself and others as having “crushes” on ballplayers — I’m not inclined to get too worked up about it. We all write less-than-stellar headlines from time to time.

  1. Charles Gates - Feb 24, 2010 at 4:19 PM

    I’m asking this without condescension and complete openness; why does stating that it looks like the girl has a crush on Longoria disqualify her from also being a dedicated fan? I don’t see how these are mutually exclusive.
    Case in point, my Finance (correct spelling) called me out a few nights ago for having a ‘crush’ on Cheryl Bernard of the Canadian curling team. This was, and still is, absolutely true, but it doesn’t change the fact that I find curling to be extremely interesting.
    http://www.curlingzone.com/forums/images//newsphoto/2O7W4013.jpg

  2. Dan in Katonah - Feb 24, 2010 at 4:29 PM

    Aside from liking curling, Charles is dead on point.
    Now, if he’d said Tanith Belbin …

  3. Deenie - Feb 24, 2010 at 4:50 PM

    “The article is about a particular girl who has a crush on a particular ballplayer.”
    No, it’s actually about a kid being excited about getting an autograph from what is, by the looks of it, a favorite player. The headline makes the assumption she has a crush on him. There is a difference and that’s where the sexism comes in. Of course it has to be that she has a crush on him not just that she’s thrilled at meeting a favorite player. Because girls only like baseball players because they’re cute, right?

  4. Dan in Katonah - Feb 24, 2010 at 5:07 PM

    Like Charles said, they are not mutually exclusive. Dave Brown observed the particular girl to be acting like she had a crush. If you were not there, then how can you say he was wrong? You call it an assumption (you assume it is an assumption), but I call it an observation until shown otherwise.
    Going back to my Mets-fandom, I remember girls and boys being excited about Jesse Orosco way back when. No offense to Jesse, but I don’t think the female fans were into him for his move-star looks.
    Sure, girls can be fans just as much as boys and more. But some players, the better looking ones presumably, also have girls (and maybe some boys) who also like them for their looks. Go to Yankee Stadium and watch the female reaction to Derek Jeter. I am certain that most of those women are die-hard baseball fans and know the difference between OPS and PMS, but still, a lot of them ALSO like Derek for his looks.

  5. Old Gator - Feb 24, 2010 at 11:23 PM

    My ex-wife used to like John Stearns of the Mutts because, she said, he had a nice tushy. Unfortunately, she wouldn’t leave me for him. I guess that makes her a fan.

  6. Make it stop - Feb 25, 2010 at 12:07 AM

    People really need to get over the runaway political correctness.
    .
    I’d write more, but I’m afraid I’d just hurt somebody’s sensitive nature.
    .
    What about all the languages that designate all nouns as “masculine” or “feminine?” Rampant sexism!

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  8. salvo - Feb 25, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    I think the use of the word “crush”—suggesting a sexualized infatuation—makes an assumption that trivializes the possibility that the girl is a huge fan of the game of baseball, and is, as would be any young fan, simply thrilled to be in the presence of a star on her favorite team.
    And folks, you can’t make an accurate inference about what is going on in someone’s head by the expression their face happens to have in the 1/100th of a second it is captured in a photo. I’ve taken plenty of photos of happy people that look like they’re having a migraine attack. And anyway, how would you discern between being “awestruck” and “crushing”?
    Many who dismiss the subtle power of language and framing could stand to learn a lot about how things really work. See Media, Politics, Advertising, etc.

  9. Old Gator - Feb 25, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    A “crush” can be an idealized romantic infatuation akin to, say, chivalric love, without much or any “sexualized” component, especially in the case of a kid. Unless, that is, you happen to be an uber-Freudian who sees a sexualized component to cigars, Ferraris and fingerpainting. And even if it were “sexualized,” how would that “trivialize” her interest in baseball? I damned well know that my “crush” on Grace Slick as a kid didn’t “trivialize” how much I loved the Jefferson Airplane’s music – and let me tell you, that crush was good n’ hormonal.

  10. salvo - Feb 25, 2010 at 4:05 PM

    There’s nothing wrong with having a crush.
    It’s just the headline has framed her—defined her—as not a baseball fan, but as someone with a crush, without relying on any hard evidence but instead the writer’s own biases and worldview, which aren’t necessarily WRONG, mind you, just limiting and possibly sexist.
    Instead of describing what happened, the writer described what he IMAGINES happened.
    I was an illustrator for my college paper, and I still remember an illustration I did for an article—written by a woman—about women’s birth-control options in the future, and I drew a woman conversing with a doctor, who I represented as male. The writer was irked by the depiction of the doctor, noting that the article was about women, written by a woman, and quoted researchers and doctors who were women. She asked why I had drawn the doctor as a man, and even though I didn’t say it to her, the reason was that my mental picture of a doctor was a man, so that’s what I drew. I learned a lesson that day.
    In this case, it seems as if the mental picture the writer has is of someone with a crush, not a baseball fan. He’s not saying she’s NOT a baseball fan, but he has chosen to depict her as something else that reinforces his mental picture of what the scenario represents.
    Again, she may have a crush on Evan Longoria, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that in this case it’s not the point.

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