As of yesterday and today, the 2011 Major League Baseball season has officially begun, even though today it’s snowing up and down much of the East Coast. (And, unforch, that’s no April Fool’s joke.) Unless you’re an avid baseball fan, you likely had no idea that yesterday and today officially mark the beginning of the new season of 162 or so professional games, plus a hell of a lot of Cracker Jacks, foam fingers, and tepid beer. Like most professional sports, baseball has historically been an old-boys-club. And unless you’re a creepily obsessive baseball fan, you likely had no idea that there actually are women who help make all those home runs, overpaid players, and steroid scandals possible. Of course, these women aren’t running the bases come game day, but they sure as hell aren’t secretaries or assistants, either; they’re top executives in their ball clubs, behind the scenes in their organization’s front office, and up in those luxury skyboxes taking stock of the money-making empires in which they hold a real stake. So, to celebrate Major League Baseball’s opening day and the fact that, with my New England-native husband, I’ll be listening to way too many Boston Red Sox games on the radio for at least the next five months (because we’re old-school, we prefer listening to watching on TV), I found six women (yes, only six) in MLB who actually matter to the sport, and why. Back off boys – while you may not face all these women at the plate, several of them sign your checks, so you should probably spit out that giant wad of gum and show some respect.
main photo: A League of Their Own (Penny Marshall, director, 1992)