If I Owned a Major League Baseball Team….


…I’d be joining the other owners in Paradise Valley, AZ for their quarterly meeting on Wednesday and Thursday. What will the 30 MLB owners be doing between rounds of golf and dry martinis? They’ll be hashing out rules having to do with post-season rainouts and one-game tiebreakers. Exciting.
The problem is this: All the owners are men. Take a look at some of these guys.
Seriously. I’m sure they’re all stellar human beings, but why isn’t there one single female owner among them? In the 21st century? A woman would know how to make the meetings productive, instructive and downright entertaining.
Yes, there was a woman in charge once upon a time – the only one to buy a team rather than inherit it.
But I’d do things a little differently than Marge and Schottzie, starting with the meeting in Arizona. My agenda would include:
1.) More ladies rooms at all major league ballparks.
Where it is written that women have to wait in long lines, missing all the action, while men do their thing and are back in their seats in no time?
2.) Salads at the concessions.
Sure, it’s fun to scarf down hot dogs, chicken tenders, even nachos with cheese. But how hard would it be to put something healthy on the menu. Something green. (And I don’t mean six-week-old pretzels.)
3.) Air-sick bags for over-served patrons.
There I was, enjoying myself at a Yankees-Orioles game at Camden Yards, when this girl tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Could I sit in the empty seat next to you? A guy just threw up on the seat next to me and it smells.” Air-sick bags (team logo specific) would take care of that problem.
4.) Better scoreboard contests.
I’ve been to a lot of ballparks and I’ve seen enough races between Ketchup, Mustard and Relish to last me a lifetime. I’m not wild about the “Kiss Cam” either. I propose more games involving the players. At Kauffman Stadium in KC, they have “And the Oscar Goes to…” where three Royals players act out the same scene from a movie and the crowd votes on the one they like best. It gives the fans a sense of the players’ personalities.
5.) Ushers who know what they’re doing.
I realize that men hate asking for directions, but women don’t mind a bit. If we can’t find our seats, we go, “Excuse me. Where’s section 17, row LL?” So how about ushers who actually know the answer.
6.) Prompt announcements about rain delays/postponements.
I stood in the pouring rain for two hours at Comerica Park waiting for someone – anyone – from the Tigers organization to tell us if the game was canceled or not. A little communication goes a long way.
7.) Better giveaways.
The Yankees had the nerve to hand out Hideki Matsui mouse pads that fell apart in five minutes. And no more of those foam hands with the finger sticking out. I hate when people wave them in front of me and block my view.
8.) Only really good “National Anthem” singers.
I’m not saying every park should hire Beyonce. Amateurs are fine. So are little kids. But they must know the words and they must be able to hit the high notes.
9.) A ban on the rally monkey.
I don’t mean to single out the Angels, but come on.
10.) Psychotherapists on call during all games.
A radical idea, yes. Expensive, too. But haven’t you ever had a meltdown at the ballpark when your team lost? Blow-out. Pitcher’s duel. A loss is a loss. Wouldn’t it be great to talk to someone about it? Let it all out? Work through your issues so you don’t bring them home?
More to come when I’m an owner and can vote at these meetings.


  1. hseely@twcny.rr.com


    Yeah, and if men ran beach volleyball we’d drop the tops. So what’s your point?

    el duque

  2. kristen23

    I loved this!! Oprah should buy the Cubs šŸ™‚

    We really do need more healthy food at the ballpark. I think Phily does a good job. It gets really difficult to spend 60-80 nights enjoying summer baseball while watching what you eat. Impossible really. I wish they’d make some progress there.

    I’m right there with you on the rain delay announcements, scoreboard contests and anthem singers too!

  3. The Yankees Baseball Whisperer

    I’m with Julia! We should all pool our money and buy a team. Hey, I bet we could buy the Royals! First line of business (get rid of Farnsworth) šŸ™‚ Seriously, you make a great point.


  4. alexcoast2coastbball

    you’re 100% right Jane… i can’t recall one woman leading a baseball organization. Except in the movies…. i.e that one indians movie where the girl owns the indians and wants them to lose. Also.. i think there is a woman with an important role for the Yankees… i saw her at the Mark Teixeira introduction… Gene… something… i think.

    -Alex H

  5. Jane Heller

    Beach volleyball, duque? Now there’s a sport.

    Julia, that’s exactly what we need to do. And not a moment to waste. There are teams waiting to be bought as we speak.

    Hey, Kristen. Oprah should buy the Cubs, but we’d have to educate her about baseball. She’s not into it that I can tell. The food thing drove me nuts when I was going to all those games in ’07. Chicken tenders every night. Ugh.

    LOL, Brit. We take over the Royals and give Kyle a nice severance package.

    Yeah, Alex. Jean Afterman is Brian Cashman’s assistant GM. She’s been with the Yankees awhile.

    And the Dodgers’ assistant GM used to be Cashman’s #2 before she took the job in LA.

  6. ricter

    Under NO circumstances would i ever recommend that a stadium get a salad bar.


    Dirt and filth on raw vegetables for one. Ballparks are dirty places. The salad would have to be “prepackaged” meaning that it would be like 85% ice berg lettuce, and a bunch of crap you don’t want to eat.

    And last time I checked, Ice Berg lettuce doesn’t qualify as “green”. It’s basically just water and plant cellulose fiber, which is useless nutritionally.

    second, do you really want to spend like $17 on a salad?

    I feel the same way about sushi at ball parks.

    But if you make a billion and want to buy a ball club, it’s your stadium, do what you want.

    If I owned a team, I’d ban beyonce from ever singing the Anthem (um, over exposed?) and I’d replace the rally monkey with the “comeback wombat”, complete with rabid foam from the mouth and everything!

    I’d add style to the uniforms too, like Bunny ears on the batting helmets. I just think that would crack me up. And also pitchers would have to do the “I’m a little tea cup dance” when ever they give up a home run. Hey, for $17 million a year, they should do a little dance every now and then, for posterity.

    I’d hire bruce willis to be the manager, just to hear him say “Yippie ki yay” just once more.

    And cheerleaders-why don’t baseball teams have cheerleaders? I would think that baseball would need some sort of distraction of some sort…oh, wait, that’s what the playstations are for.

    And lastly, I would only sign players who’s last name beagn with “Q”. My team would be made up of Dan Quissenberry and Carlos Quentin. That’s it. No one else. Which is why We’d need the cheerleaders, cus my team is gonna get creamed.

  7. Jane Heller

    Wow, mm. You really thought this through, especially the nutritional value of iceberg lettuce. And you’re right – your team would get creamed.

  8. AJRoxMyWhiteSox

    I am totally with you about the ladies’ rooms. I just wanna run in and run out because I’m not one of those women who goes to a game where my hair and makeup need to be intact. I don’t know how I feel about salads for the reasons that mm said, but there needs to be something healthier on there because greasy burgers do not make for a flattering figure. And I agree with Julia. Let’s pool our money and buy a team. Or two. One from each league so our teams can play each other in the World Series.

  9. welikeroywelikeroy

    When I was at Yankee stadium I got ‘New York Yankee Post-it notes.’ I thought what dollar store did they get those from? I mean they were building a billion stadium across the road, you think they could fork over a little more. The Jays have good giveaways, a lot of ‘bobbleheads’ and ‘figurines.’ I like that kind of stuff. Definately more bobbleheads, thats what I’d make happen. They make me happy. Good suggestions, I hope you run a team one day.

  10. Erin Kathleen


    These are all great ideas, but my favorite has to be the giveaways. I’ve noticed that minor league teams tend to have more interesting giveaways than the major league clubs. Maybe it’s because they don’t have to worry so much about offending someone? I know here in Minnesota the Saints had Senator Larry Craig bobblefoot night, which was a little bathroom stall with feet dangling beneath it. Needless to say, they were very popular.

  11. Kylie

    See, here at The Juice Box we have humongous women’s rooms. I never have to wait in line. Probably because very few women show up to Astros games, but the bathrooms are huge. We also have salads and some “healthy”-specific concession stands. Personally, I hit the pizza every time, but I figure I burn off the calories by screaming. We also have some great giveaways–luggage tags, lots of t-shirts, hats.
    The Rally Monkey ruined my life when I attended an Astros/Angels game a year and a half ago. We were ahead by six and Dave Borkowski lost us the game. Gotta agree with you on that one.
    No rain delays here, so I don’t really have any experience in that area.
    Ushers frustrate me! Sometimes I go down to the first concourse during the 7th inning and they don’t care, and sometimes they decide they have to check tickets. One guy told me that they always have to check tickets. Bull. Total bull.
    My favorite scoreboard thing is “Kaz’s Classroom” where Kaz Matsui tells us how to say something in Japanese and the camera crew asks random fans to say it and they fail.
    Well, that was a sufficiently long comment. Time to go to class.
    Kylie — http://kylie.mlblogs.com

  12. Kaybee

    Those are great additions to the ballpark. I personally would love salads, even iceberg. Salads make me feel good…and I would LOVE a psychotherapist! I was so upset after one game, I was totally ranting to my friend who was also at the game. It was not very pretty…sometimes you really do need to take it out!! That would be very useful.

  13. Jane Heller

    I like it, Jen. We buy two teams that compete in the WS. Total domination!

    Jeremy/Homer (:), bobble head dolls are a way better giveaway than what I’ve seen elsewhere. Actually, my favorite YS giveaway has been a Yankee cap. You can never have too many of those.

    LOL, Erin, about the Larry Craig giveaway! Hilarious. You’re right. The majors shy away from any controversy whatsoever, so I doubt we’ll see anything that humorous or provocative any time soon.

    “I figure I burn off the calories by screaming.” LOL on that, Kylie. Your giveaways sound amazing. See what great ideas are out there? They just need to be implemented everywhere.

    Glad somebody liked my therapist idea, Kaybee. I sure needed one after the Yankees got bounced in the 2007 ALDS and I sat there crying like an idiot.

  14. Elizabeth D

    You should be a baseball owner! The first woman to do so, and be at those meetings! I plan on being the first woman on the main desk on MLB Network? I will not be in the back doing interviews–I want to be up front! But I love your ideas! There are always ridiculous lines at bathroom in every stadium– I hate going! And I’d really love ‘prompt’ rain-delay announcements! That happened to me too at a Spring Training game. And psychotherapists are definitely needed!

  15. raysrenegade

    That is quite a list, and a few of those thing should be in every ballpark no matter what, like the bags for the liquid indulgent fan who decides to spray everyone in the section upon outward projection ( seen it once, missed by inches).

    We used to have a local institution, the Columbia Spanish restaurant make the best salads at the stadium, but they pulled their stand and the concessionare tried to duplicate it, but it was never the same taste.

    Each stadium should have a local delicacy that is only in that area. Easy thoughts here are Chicago style dogs in Chi-town, Cheesesteaks in Philly, and Dodgers dogs in LA, and Boog’s BBQ in Baltimore.

    Since we spend so much time at the ballpark, you would think they would do everything but offer us a sleeping bag.

    Rays Renegade


  16. redstatebluestate

    Sorry, Jane, I must disagree with the “Rally Monkey” hate. During my couple of years living in North Hollywood, nothing got me more excited than that dumb monkey in Anaheim. Reminded me of how excited I got when I heard the Fraggle Rock theme song as a child. It does what it’s supposed to: gets ppl on their feet screaming, much like A-Rod striking out during the post-season does for Yankees fans šŸ˜‰

  17. Jane Heller

    Elizabeth, you’d be great on the MLB Network – right up front. I say go for it!

    Nice idea, Renegade, about the local delicacy. I’ll be happy with that. And your sleeping bag suggestion reminds me of the time I was caught in a downpour at Yankee Stadium and they gave us plastic garbage bags to keep us dry. I was surprised they didn’t charge us for them!

    Oh, Jeff. Leave my boy alone!

  18. rockymountainway

    Shrinks, salads and bathrooms oh my. Women need to tell other women to hurry the hell up and get in and get out without all the make up checking, hows the date going, will you be coming back with us later crap. Its a bathroom not a conference center and I have been at many concerts etc where women have comandeered the mens bathroom to deal with overflow. If men ever did that there would be hell. Hillary would be calling for a world meeting and Bill would be…well we can guess where Bill would be. As for ushers you make me want to give a shout out to all the retirees working at Coors who have always been right on when I’ve asked them a question. Thanks retirees! If you wanted a fun zainy ball park get Ellen to buy a team forget Oprah.

  19. Darion

    It would be pretty cool to own a team. Lots of responsibilities, but many rewards. I think you definitely have the right plans and ideas to become the first woman to do so. Which team would you want to own though?
    I also found the “more women restrooms” thing really funny. And the “salads” one. I guess many people would want that as well.

  20. jl7350a@american.edu

    Love the idea of a woman running a team. It puzzles me as to why there are none currently. I’m sure a woman can do a MUCH better job than Kevin McClathy did in Pittsburgh. And hey, if that guy can run a team, than there is NO reason why a woman shouldn’t own a team!

    Not too high on the salad idea though, not a very baseball-ish food.

    Great article though.


  21. jl7350a@american.edu

    And by the way, wouldn’t it be great to see Kim Ng as the first female GM? She came awfully close with the Mariners!


  22. Jane Heller

    Tom, yes, there are some wonderful retirees who usher at the ballparks. Cheers for those who do such a good job.

    Hey, darion. Which team would I want to own? My first impulse is to say the Yankees, since they’re the ones I root for. But I’d love to own a minor league team. Less pressure, more opportunities to try things. If you could own a team, would you? Which one?

    I really am surprised there are no women owners, Josh. Jamie McCourt does a lot with the Dodgers, but she’s married to the boss, so it’s different. As for Pittsburgh, let’s take them over! It’s a great city that deserves a winning team. I remember the “We Are Family” Pirates, and there’s no reason why they can’t win another championship. The salads? They’re negotiable.

  23. ricter

    Yes Jane, I did put a lot of thought into that. Especially the “players who’s last name begins with ‘Q'”.

    Well, now that I think of it, how many players actually had last names beginning with Q??

    Do you think if I added “X” I’d have a better shot at fielding a team that could compete with a team from Detroit?

    Oh, and how aweful has it been for Detroit sports teams in recent years; The Tigers set an MLB record for losses in a season a few years back and the Lions Lost 16 straight last year.

    Wow. And we complain about not making the playoffs for one year.

  24. Jane Heller

    You make a good point, mm. How can we complain about not making the playoffs for one year when teams like Detroit….Well, you know. I used to be much crazier in my expectations. Writing the book made me see the light. I don’t take losses as hard as I used to.

  25. rosehof14

    I’ll start off with

    Marge Schott rocked as an owner, probably the best Cincy has seen and at this rate ever will. She wanted to win AND make money, sadly now it’s just the latter.

    Now for the responses:
    1. Ladies restrooms
    I’m all for it as I’m tired of the women’s line causing traffic jams on the concourse!

    2. Salads
    Could we do a taco salad? We could double up the use of the nachos…..

    3. Logo’d sick bags
    Like it, but let’s put the opposing team on it, I don’t like the idea that my team looks and smells like 2nd time up nachos.

    4. Scoreboard contests..
    Your on your own here.

    5. Ushers
    Can we make them hot hooters girls? I bet we can get some sponsor ships there.

    6. Raindelays
    Blame god

    7. Better giveaways
    How about more baseballs, ect.

    8. Anthem
    9. Rally Monkey
    What are those?
    10. Therapists
    love it!


  26. Jane Heller

    Great comment, COB. Way to go!

    Like the taco salad. The best of both worlds.

    LOL on putting the opposing team’s logo on the air-sick bags!!!!

    No Hooters ushers. Just competent people, whatever their “assets.”

    Baseballs would be a good giveaway, as long as people don’t throw them on the field!

  27. ricter

    Jane, I still take losses like I would if someone ran over my turtle with a Hummer. But What really GRINDS MY GEARS is how some people say “the season is a complete waste and a failure” if we didn’t make the playoffs.

    Ya know, if we didn’t lose the ’95 ALDS the way we did, we never would have seen the types of changes and moves that were made that pretty much created a Dynatsy that JR Ewing would be jealous of.

    Think about it: If the cowboys didn’t go 1-15 in 89, they never would have traded Herchel Walker mid-season to get all of those draft picks. They went on to win three SB’s in the next 5 years.

    My point is that not winning every year can lead to positive changes in the long run.

    Who knows what this off season would have lead to if things turned out differently…

  28. Jane Heller

    It’s weird, mm. I used to be like that – taking losses as if someone died – but now I don’t let them ruin my whole day or send me into a depression. I hate to lose – don’t get me wrong – but the pain isn’t all consuming anymore. You raise an interesting point about the whole “the season is a waste…” thing. When I was writing the book, I interviewed Mark Feinsand of the Daily News. He was a big Yankee fan before he started covering the team. He said the “the season is a waste” concept is the one thing he disagrees with Jeter about. Did the fans in Tampa think their season was a waste because they didn’t win the WS? Of course not. Not winning every year CAN lead to positive changes in the long run, just as you said. Good call.

  29. ricter

    Not to mention the extra wear and tear the extra post season games can take on a player. I mean, If you think about it, there were times since 2002 that the team just broke down to younger, less experienced teams who just were fresher and healthier.

    If you add up all the extra post season games, Jeter played like, and extra season in the past 12 years. The post seasons in 2005-7 showed just how worn out this team was. And that includes all of the guys who weren’t around for too long.

    My point is this: Give this team a break for once. Look at what the extra year off did for boston in 2007. Now, I think they can re-focus, heal some bruises, and be ready for a competetive year.

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