July 26, 2006 --
After being accused of sexual harassment and fired by ESPN, former "Baseball Tonight" analyst Harold Reynolds said yesterday he doesn't think he did anything wrong and is still hoping to regain his job.
"This was a total misunderstanding," Reynolds told The Post. "My goal is to sit down and get back. To be honest with you, I gave a woman a hug and I felt like it was misinterpreted."
Reynolds declined to give any more details. The woman who accused Reynolds of the sexual harassment is an ESPN co-worker, according to sources.
Yesterday, ESPN confirmed The Post's report that Reynolds had been fired, but they would not comment any further.
"He no longer works here," ESPN VP Josh Krulewitz said.
Still, Reynolds is hopeful ESPN executives will change their minds. Besides being with the network for 11 years, Reynolds had just signed a new six-year contract to remain in Bristol and he recently got married.
Reynolds limited his comments, because he didn't want to go into too many details for fear of saying something that could hurt his chances of reversing ESPN's decision.
Reynolds, 45, started with ESPN after a 12-year major league career.
ESPN has been vigilant about sexual harassment because it reportedly has been a problem in Bristol for years. In 2000, the book "ESPN: The Uncensored History" reported rampant cases of harassment of women. Most prominently mentioned was Mike Tirico, who was even suspended at one point.
Tirico, though, never was fired and now is one of the main faces of the network. This fall, he will be ESPN's new voice for "Monday Night Football." Since the book's release, ESPN has denied its validity.
ESPN is known for giving its top on-air employees warnings. There are many cases where ESPN executives have chosen to provide on-air personnel with second chances.
Last NFL season, Michael Irvin was charged with a misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. Despite Irvin's past problems, he was only suspended for a weekend and that was mostly because he did not immediately report the incident to ESPN executives.
Earlier this baseball season, Rick Sutcliffe conducted a rambling on-air interview while intoxicated. Sutcliffe was only suspended for one game.
Without Reynolds, "Baseball Tonight" will continue to have an unfamiliar look. The show was already dealing with the loss of its other fixture, Peter Gammons, who suffered a brain aneurysm last month. Gammons is recovering nicely, but is not scheduled to return soon.
Karl Ravech is still the show's main host. He will be joined by the other mainstay, John Kruk, on most nights. Ex-Mets GM Steve Phillips, who already was seeing more time in place of Gammons, figures to become an even more integral part of the program.
ESPN also can call on Orel Hershiser, Jeff Brantley, Tino Martinez, Orestes Destrades, Tim Kurkjian and Buster Olney as replacements for Reynolds.
"We'll get contributions from everybody from our deep commentator pool," Krulewitz said.