It's amazing it took this long for one stodgy journalist to write a column about Erin Andrews' presence in the locker room which, as we all know, becomes its own story among the sports blogging masses anytime she pops up on the screen. But this is a first. Mike Nadel, a Chicago news service columnist and author of the baseball blog, "The Baldest Truth" lobbed a hand grenade into the sideline princess parade that is truly remarkable. In his column today titled "Blonde bombshell can't distract red-hot Cubs" featured in many mid-level circulation newspapers, Nadel made Erin's outfit and "bizarre" behavior the running narrative behind the Chicago Cubs 7-1 victory over the Brewers last night. The beginning:
Erin Andrews, the ESPN "it" babe who clearly isn't afraid to flaunt it, sauntered around the visiting clubhouse, flitting from one Cubs player to another. Her skimpy outfit - designed to accentuate her, um, positives - had players leering at her. Some made lewd comments under their breath. Others giggled like 12-year-olds.
What the hell is "flitting?" Anyway. From there Nadel goes into standard atmospheric columnist-speak about the game but then comes back to EA again and, well, destroys her:
Still, the Brewers' claims of being unaffected by this series' results were as unbelievable as Erin Andrews' work clothes. "Good for you, Rammie," Andrews said three hours before the game, bending forward to shake Aramis Ramirez's hand. "Good for you." Ramirez, who had three doubles in the Cubs' 7-1 victory the previous night, sheepishly accepted Andrews' congratulations. She didn't ask him any questions because he was sitting on the players-only sofa; she seemingly just wanted to show "Rammie" her support. Weird.
Okay. Maybe that is "weird." But maybe she's just being nice? You know, she is by all indications a nice person. (Chuges may disagree, but whatever.) Granted, locker room journalists are supposed to concede their humanity for the sake of the story but isn't Erin Andrews' job a little bit different? It doesn't exactly require her to be wholly objective. In fact, it probably actually helps her to be a little less robotic considering her main job is to nab these guys for one-on-one interviews. Nadel takes more observational swipes:
Moments later, the blonde reporter was chatting with Alfonso Soriano. At one point, she placed her hand suggestively on Soriano's left bicep. Was I reading too much into all this? I don't think so. I've been a paid observer for a long time ... and I wasn't exactly the only one who noticed. As two Cubs stood near their lockers, one asked the other: "Hot? Or just attractive? Does she do anything for you?" The inquisitor then made eye contact with me as if saying — to use a term my uncle might have — "Hubba-hubba!" This went on for at least an hour. Finally, Piniella emerged from his office, ready for his dugout media session. As he turned the corner, there was Andrews in all of her bare-legged, high-heeled, low-necklined glory. "Hey, hey, hey! Look at this!" Piniella said, loudly and excitedly. "Are you doing a baseball game today or a modeling assignment?"
That's just embarrassing. Honestly, sports blogs (Deadspin included, obviously) are shameless in the promotion and objectification of Erin Andrews, but the reality is she wouldn't have ascended to that level of deification had she not shown some level of competency to go along with her other physical attributes. But even the crudest photo-shopped boob-grabs or sandwich-eating photos could never do more to undermine a person professionally than those observations. Wrapping up:
I have seen Andrews at many events in recent years and this was the first time I had witnessed anything quite like this, which is why it seemed so bizarre. Did she really feel playing the sexpot was necessary to practice journalism? She is good-looking enough and has enough of a high-profile job that she would get plenty of interviews and attention even if she showed up in a burlap sack. One thing for sure: There was a discernible buzz in the Cubs' clubhouse Wednesday before a pitch ever was thrown - and that buzz had nothing to do with the anticipation of another huge victory over a division rival.
Playing the sexpot. Amazing. The outfit she was wearing last night is in the above photo. Of course, that photo and many others was sent to the Deadspin email box this morning from a co-worker of hers who was at the game last night, which every other sports blog receives any time Andrews sidelines a game. Most of the time Andrews is unaffected about the attention she receives and understands that she's become some sort of weird diplomat for attractive female journalists in sports especially when sites (us included) obsessively follow her every move. She's had a good sense of humor, she's accessible for interviews most of the time and appears to dress appropriately for games. I don't know — is the outfit she wore to last night's game that revealing? It actually looks like your standard summer dress you'd see on plenty of hot chicks at a family barbecue or a nephew's graduation party. Now, maybe it's not appropriate for "60 Minutes" but, honestly, it's still a regular season baseball game. ESPN has not commented on the article at this time and it's yet to be seen as to whether this indictment of her wardrobe and allegedly flirty behavior will result in some sort of make-over. If Erin Andrews does her next assignment in a spacesuit and is required to stand 20 feet away from players she interviews, we'll know they said something. Mike Nadel has also not responded to an email request for an interview, but I'll keep you updated. Blonde bombshell can't distract red-hot Cubs [PJS]