New York Yankees: Rachel Balkovec becomes first female manager of minor league side

New York Yankees

Rachel Balkovec will become the first female manager in Minor League Baseball after the New York Yankees hired her to take charge of one of their affiliate teams.

Balkovec will manage the Tampa Tarpons –– a Class A minor league team who play in the West Division of the Low-A Southeast League.

The Tarpons are based in Florida and play their home games at George M. Steinbrenner Field –– which is also the spring training home of the New York Yankees.

Since their inception, the club has won five league championships in 1994, 2001, 2004, 2009 and 2010.

In November 2019, Balkovec was announced as the New York Yankees new hitting coach –– making her the first woman to hold such a position on a full-time basis.

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The 34-year-old also interviewed for a role as a quality control coach for the San Francisco Giants that same year but decided to take the Yankees role instead.

Speaking to MLB.com after she was appointed in her previous role, Balkovec said: “I’m not the first woman to have a position in baseball, but I know this is a little different.

“I’m a product of the women who have come before me in sports. If somebody thinks I’m a trailblazer, great, because hopefully that’s creating an opportunity to think it’s possible for [others].”

Balkovec has been vocal in the past about overcoming gender challenges and has admitted to struggling to break into the coaching industry as a woman.

In 2013, after applying for 15 different teams in Phoenix, she changed the name on her CV from “Rachel” to “Rae”. This led to interviews but once teams heard her speak, they would often reject her immediately.

Speaking to the New York Times, Balkovec revealed one team told her they would “never hire a woman.”

The Yankees coach is not the only woman making a name for herself in men’s professional baseball.

In 2020, Alyssa Naken became the first female coach at major league level when she became a coach for the San Francisco Giants. She is also the first woman to coach on the field during a major league game.

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