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SBJ/October 8-14, 2012/Game Changers
Game Changers: Katy Feeney
Published October 8, 2012, Page 17
Feeney holds a charm bracelet made from her
grandmother’s passes to the Polo Grounds from
1919 through 1930.
SVP, Scheduling and Club Relations
In the bull’s-eye of team and fan criticism seemingly as much as Commissioner Bud Selig, Feeney runs point on creating the league’s master schedule. That means annually balancing a seemingly impossible set of varied and often-conflicting demands from MLB, the MLB Players Association, individual teams, local jurisdictions and venue operators. “If I can make everyone unhappy, I’ve done my job,” Feeney said half-jokingly.
Feeney is the daughter of the late Chub Feeney, former president of the National League and a longtime executive of the New York and then San Francisco Giants. Despite her upbringing within baseball, she did not envision a career in the sport, instead planning to become a teacher. A temporary assignment as a secretary in the NL public relations office in 1977 has ultimately grown into a role as one of the most experienced voices in the game. “I sort of accidentally fell into [baseball],” she said. “The idea was to go for a year. Thirty-five years later, it’s been a long year, as I often say. But it’s been amazing to have seen all the changes that have happened.”
- Crowning professional achievement: Winning the Fishel Award (in 1994, for public relations excellence), which was voted by my peers.
- Person who had the biggest influence on your career in sports: My father, since he hired me, giving me a chance in a profession I never expected and for which I was not trained, and gave me my first promotion, adding responsibilities and ensuring I stayed longer than the original year I promised.
- Woman in sports business you’d most like to meet: Billie Jean King. She made her voice heard.
- The biggest challenge I face working in the sports business is …: Figuring out a balance between the business side and the baseball side of the game.
- Outside of work and family, I’m spending a lot of my time on …: Theater, a bit of volunteering, learning Spanish and tap dancing.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
“There is no one in our game who knows how to meet the vast challenges and intricacies of our schedule — from spring training, through 2,430 regular-season games, through the World Series — better than Katy does. I rely on her expertise and her experience in a number of areas, because she always keeps the best interests of our clubs in mind. Katy has served the National League and Major League Baseball with excellence for decades, and she is truly a pioneer for all women who aspire to executive careers in sports.”
- Bud Selig, MLB commissioner