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HEAVEN HELP MARGE SCHOTT
Rick Reilly
May 20, 1996
The Reds' owner, long ago reduced to a life of loneliness, has further isolated herself by her spiteful words and witless deeds
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May 20, 1996

Heaven Help Marge Schott

The Reds' owner, long ago reduced to a life of loneliness, has further isolated herself by her spiteful words and witless deeds

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Giamatti: "It's a young man with a modern haircut."

Schott: "Well, he'll never be out here again with long hair like that...."

Giamatti: "Marge, you're killing me here!"

Even in trying to say something nice about someone, Schott gets it all wrong. In boasting recently of her meeting with Japanese prime minister Kiichi Miyazawa on one of her baseball goodwill visits, in 1991, she recalled what he had said to her, using a cartoonish Japanese accent: "He says to me, honey, he says, 'No want Cadirrac, no want Rincoln, want Mosh Shott Boo-ick.' "

In the first six weeks of the 1996 season, Schott rewrote the book on loafer-in-mouth disease.

Chapter 1: When umpire John McSherry died of a heart attack after collapsing at home plate on Opening Day at Riverfront, Schott objected to the cancellation of the game and complained about how McSherry's death put her out: "I don't believe it. First it snows, and now this!"

Chapter 2: The next day Schott took flowers somebody else had sent her, ripped off the card, wrote a new one with heartfelt condolences and sent the flowers to the umpires' room at Riverfront.

Chapter 3: At the start of the season the Reds weren't providing fans with scores from other games on the Riverfront scoreboard. "Why do they care about one game when they're watching another?" argued Schott, who had stopped paying her bill for the service (it costs $350 a month) during last season.

Chapter 4: Following the sixth home game, after being raked over the coals by the media for her stinginess, she reversed her scoreboard decision and blamed it on her employees, saying in front of a roomful of reporters, "I've got to have the worst public relations staff in America!" Now those employees have to track the scores by calling to other ballparks and listening to the radio.

Chapter 5: On April 14 she tried to apologize for her McSherry gaffe minutes before the first pitch against the Houston Astros by approaching the umpires working the game—none of whom were at Riverfront on Opening Day and all of whom resented her publicity-minded opportunism. One, Harry Wendelstedt, turned his back on her.

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