" Peter O'Malley is the owner of the Dodgers."
"Right. O'Malley. Thank you."
"Wait a minute," says the sports department. "You got your answer, now I want one. What reason do you have for calling Peter O'Malley a hero? Peter O'Malley is a colorless, non-controversial guy. As big league owners go, he's a plate of boiled cabbage. We never use his name. When the Dodgers won the Series, we didn't even quote him."
"Precisely. He's exactly what owners ought to be."
"Now I get it," says the sports department. "Another anti-Steinbrenner piece. Believe me, it's been done."
"No, you don't get it at all," I tell the sports department. "I have nothing against Mr. Steinbrenner. I think he's a great act. And a man's man. If he says he beat up those two guys on the elevator, I believe him. If he said he beat Rosie Ruiz in the New York Marathon after beating up those two guys in the elevator, I'd believe that, too. I think he makes a very good beer commercial. It's 'owning' as a force in sport that I don't like."
"I don't get it."
"Last season, and especially during the World Series, I finally became convinced that 'owning' is ruining big league sport. Not just because it exposes owners as greedy and overbearing and sometimes even disgusting, but bad for sport."
"You mean Steinbrenner?"
"I mean the Finleys and the Turners and the Davises and the Steinbrenners and all the others whose owning tactics have wiped out every illusion of belonging that sports fans must have."