The ChiSox’ slump-busting (?) Love Doll furor continues to rage across the heartland, as Foul Balls’ Panger takes on Carol Slezak of the Chicago Sun-Times.

What other place of business in America grants reporters unfettered access to its employees, much less the right to watch as its workers drop trou and shower? Hell, I’d love to take notes while playing “pass the TP” in the stall next to Mariotti but can’t get past the security at the Sun-Times front door.

You’re concerned that female reporters might be made uncomfortable by the display of a blow-up doll. What about a player’s discomfort at having strangers with notepads staring at his junk while asking about that botched double play in the third inning?

I’ve never understood why anyone is allowed in the clubhouse after a game, male or female. It makes no sense to me. Athletes should have a right to some privacy. They should have a right to blow off steam, relax, enjoy a good laugh and have some harmless fun, which is precisely what I believe the blow-up doll “shrine” was. (Oh yeah, and you might want to call it something other than a “shrine” which, by definition, is an object of worship and veneration.)

As a woman, I have the right to decide for myself if something or someone is sexist. To me, these locker room antics were juvenile and incredibly lame. They were also trivial, instantly forgettable (were it not for your column), and lacking any ill intent. Most important, I experienced not one whit of suffering or uneasiness as a result of exposure to them.

We live in a world where men still genitally mutilate millions of women, murder them in “honor killings,” force them into arranged marriages or prostitution, take them onto soccer fields and shoot them for adultery, set them on fire for not having a large enough dowry…

Yet here, in just the last fifty years, American men have done something no other group in modern history can claim: they have bloodlessly (albeit reluctantly and hamhandedly) ceded large chunks of their power over to women.

Their reward? We get our La Perlas in a twist because some ball players pull a schoolyard prank in the locker room.

I do hope Ozzie G. is taking notes. If he’s asked again about whether the blow up dolls are appropriate, the manager can remind everyone that neither he nor his players have practiced genital mutilation. Recently, anyway.