Ooh-ahh! I got a little female pride when I saw this article on MLB.com: http://m.mlb.com/news/article/103424648/top-female-leaders-in-mlb-advise-job-seekers. There was a panel during the winter meetings in San Diego called “Who Needs a League of Their Own?” Some of baseball’s top female executives gave career advice. The advice that is good and true: “Have a loud voice, thick skin and a willingness to work longer and harder than the competition.” You know, normally, I have to really think hard about what I am going to write for this blog. And then sometimes something so great. It’s like a pitch right down the middle, and then swing and boom, it’s out of here.
The general message is that, like anything, if you want to get into baseball, you have to want it. You cannot do this and be a fan of the team. You have to be a fan of the organization, and you are an important cog in a working machine. In 2001, I took on a volunteer position in the Texas Rangers’ promotions department. I did this because I wasn’t sure if my knee could handle a whole season. It handled the season just fine. It was being at the ballpark that I learned how it was run. Everyone has a place, and it is in constant motion. I would go in as early as I could and I go where I was needed, but there was a lot of work.
So I did my work, and then there was time to play, and i would take off my uniform shirt because then I was a fan, and I would go and watch the boys play ball. Usually, by the time I got to the field, batting practice was over and it was just throwing and stretching. I always took my glove because this new guy, Micheal Young, overthrew the ball once and it went flying in the stands. I hit the dirt. There was no way I was going to catch that ball, but worse, I didn’t have my glove on at the time. I always wore my glove in the stands after that. Then it was time to leave the boys to get ready for the game, and it was time for me to hand out promotions.
Let’s break down the advice from the panel. Have a loud voice: “Promotions, get it right here!” I would scream over and over. Our sponsors paid for us to give their things out, and it was important to do just that.
Have a thick skin: I have been cussed out, yelled at,trampled, one guy handed me a used cigar when I told him no smoking in the ballpark. And while all that happened I had to be happy for the next person in line, so I was. I put the stuff out of my mind and put a smile on my face and said, “Welcome to the ballpark.”
Work harder and longer than the competition: Oh yeah, four months after my knee surgery I am standing at the ballpark handing out promotions, and I would come in early and stay late and come in when the team wasn’t at the ballpark to help in any way I could.
Now, all the hard work, no play? Oh yeah, there was a whole lot of play. I got to be on the field, while the Rangers ran on to it. ( I would never do that again. 9 huge guys with game faces on. It was like a pack of lions charging at you.) I have most of the players’autographs of the 2001 Rangers. I met some of the greatest ballplayers in the game, and I got to meet some of the executives for the Rangers who gave me my Miss Baseball name, and I have a few favorite moments that will stay in my heart. I was treated as a person, and that’s how everyone should be treated. So to all the girls out there, never let who you are determine who you can be. There is a place for women in baseball.