In the late innings of last night’s Mets win over the Cubs, Keith Hernandez, the former all-world first baseman whose baseball commentary has earned him Emmys, once again exposed his dinosaur politics.
A shot of the Empire State building, lit up in green, suddenly appeared on the screen.
Is it Saint Patty’s Day? Hernandez asked.
Informed that it was actually Earth Day, which was celebrated by nearly a billion people across the globe, Hernandez said oh, yeah.
I’m not putting any of this in direct quotes because I don’t take notes during a Mets game. Even doing a box score is too painful too often.
But the comment brought to mind the other times Hernandez has driven me crazy.
I remember watching a day game in the old Shea Stadium while the new Citi Field was under construction. The camera settled on a construction worker at the new site sitting on a beam and eating a sandwich. Hernandez instantly piped up with a wisecrack about “union labor” on the job. He was the only on-air personality to yuk it up at this big funny (he actually frequently munches whatever he can get his hands on during a game).
Neither of these episodes has drawn commentary anywhere, but when he went crazy in 2006 after spotting a woman in the San Diego Padres dugout high-fiving a player, the Padres bashed him and he had to apologize. “Who is the girl in the dugout, with the long hair? What’s going on here? You have got to be kiddin’ me. Only player personnel in the dugout,” he blurted out. It turned out she was the team’s massage therapist, and Keith still said, “I won’t say that women belong in the kitchen, but they don’t belong in the dugout.”
It’s Hernandez’s drivel that doesn’t belong on a Mets telecast. He’s entitled to his far-right-wing views, and his political donations certainly indicate where his head is, but some of us turn a Mets game on to escape the Party of Hell No! Hernandez was so infatuated with Rudy Giuliani in the race against Hillary Clinton that he exceeded campaign finance limits, and Giuliani had to ship $2,000 back to him. Then he tossed in $1,000 to Giuliani’s substitute, Rick Lazio. He’s given $3,250 to various national GOP committees, and just gave $500 to Scott Brown in January.
But his most disturbing GOP favorite is the current congressional candidate in Hernandez’s home Florida district — Allen West. Hernandez just gave $250 to the Sarah Palin-endorsed wild man. West, who is black and a former army lieutenant colonel, is running against moderate Democratic incumbent Ron Klein. West was stripped of his command, fined $5,000, and forced to retire after pleading guilty to misconduct connected to an assault on an Iraqi detainee during interrogation. A military tribunal also found him guilty of three counts of aggravated assault and one count of communicating a threat, and concluded: “West disobeyed laws, ignored orders and mortgaged future discipline in his unit.”
Apparently, that’s a record Hernandez can cheer.