SPECIAL FEATURE: Meet The Diamond Girls

By on July 4, 2012
Diamond Girls

BY JILL ROMANO | PHOTOGRAPHY BY RAINE DUFRANE

There is little that can evoke the same blend of nostalgia, patriotism, and camaraderie as a baseball game. Just one whiff of a leather mitt could be enough to send images of hot dogs, fireworks, and home runs reeling through a person’s mind. Thankfully, each spring we have the Chiefs to provide these essentials that warm our souls after tough Syracuse winters. The nostalgia is especially strong for Wendy and Ariel Shoen, the mother-daughter team that keeps the home games and off-the-field activities running smoothly. These two are the daughter and granddaughter of Tex Simone, chief operating officer and former general manager of 27 years for the Chiefs and International League Hall of Fame inductee. The familial connection has given these “diamond gals” a lifetime of experience in the business side of baseball. When asked how long she’d been working with the Chiefs, Ariel replied, “I’ve been here since I was six months old. I’ve always been my grandpa’s little sidekick.”

Completing the trio of hard-working ladies is Desirée Ellison, a recent addition to the staff who works on special events with the Chiefs. While Wendy and Ariel are fulfilling a family legacy, Desirée’s connection with the Chiefs is completely by chance. “I came to a game alone, and I was sitting on the first base line, which I never usually do, and I ended up talking with a gentleman who happened to be on the board. He took down my information and called me two days later saying, ‘Somebody just left the Chiefs, would you want to work here?’ I was trying not to act like a total dork about it, but when I hung up with him, I immediately called my mom and was like, ‘Mom, you’re never going to believe what happened to me!’” Desirée was a cheerleader in college, but says “I love baseball. It’s rare that you can find a job that you love enough that you would do it as a hobby.”

The world of sports is one dominated by men, and baseball is no exception, but Wendy, Ariel, and Desirée are working hard to change this. To encourage attendance of female spectators, Wendy manages “Ladies’ Promotions,” which includes coordinating events meant to appeal specifically to women, such as Ladies’ Night, Soap Opera Saturday (July 28), and Breast Cancer Awareness Day (July 20). As for strengthening their ranks on the management side of things, the girls attend the “Winter Meetings,” an annual event in which major and

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