- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 6, 2017

A minor-league ball club in Utah has nixed its planned “hourglass appreciation” promotion scheduled in August after critics said the gimmick was sexist and demeaning, USA Today reported Tuesday. The team has since apologized in a terse press release blaming the controversy on the dissemination of an “unauthorized press release.”

The Ogden Raptors, a single-A level club that is a farm team for the Los Angeles Dodgers, appears to have scrubbed their website of a controversial posting alerting fans to the Aug. 11 promotion sometime early Tuesday after the Salt Lake Tribune covered the story Monday evening.

The Raptors — who are promoting themselves in 2017 as setting out to “Make Baseball Great’r Again” — had promised fans the chance to take photos with 18 local beauties, each of whom would get a turn in the press box providing color commentary for half an inning, noted the Tribune.

“Fans will have the opportunity to pose for pictures with the lovely ladies as we showcase seriously splendid visual appeal: Utah’s legendary mountains, Dodgers and Reds farmhands — and gorgeous women whose curves rival those of any stud pitching prospect!” read the website posting, according to the Tribune.

The “hourglass” models were to be provided by Stars Talent Studio, a Salt Lake City-based agency that bills itself on its website as the “largest talent agency in the Intermountain West representing actors, models, voice talent, singers, bands, musicians, dancers, pro-athletes and more!”

“Stars is the ONLY talent agency dedicated to developing healthy role models within the media,” the posting said.

The team offered a somewhat tortured justification for the promotion, pitching the “hourglass” theme as a celebration of the “timeless” game of baseball, which, unlike virtually every other major sport, is not governed by a clock.

“Since August is the eighth month of the calendar year, and an 8 looks tantalizingly similar to an hourglass, be there a better way to remind the world that baseball needs no clock than to feature 18 hourglass-shaped color commentators?” read the Raptors website posting.

On Tuesday, the Raptors issued a statement expressing “regret that an unauthorized press release was disseminated over the weekend announcing a promotion that was not approved or scheduled by club ownership or management.”

“This promotion will not take place, and steps have been put in place to ensure this will not happen again,” added the statement, which went on to say that 
“objectification of women” was not “reflective of the values of the Ogden Raptors, Los Angeles Dodgers organization, the Pioneer Baseball League, or Minor League Baseball.”

The team closed its brief statement saying that it would “not be taking phone calls or conducting interviews on this matter.”

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