Yankees introduce Rachel Balkovec as 1st female manager: 7 takeaways

This is not the end for Rachel Balkovec.

Although Balkovec is thrilled to be the first woman to coach an MLB-affiliated baseball team full-time — she’ll coach the Low-A Tampa Tarpons for the Yankees — she has her sights set on a bigger job one day.

Balkovec said she still wants to be general manager.

“I’m still thinking a lot, but I understand it’s a very long-term goal,” Balkovec told a Zoom press conference when introducing her as manager.

She added: “This is where I will stay. I don’t really have a timetable for when I’m leaving. But I just know that the future in leadership and the front office is on my mind.

Last season, Kim Ng — a former Yankees assistant general manager — became baseball’s first female general manager.

Here are six other takeaways from Wednesday’s press conference:

His management style: Balkovec said she didn’t plan to change her personality and didn’t expect to take any hits when she ran the Tarpons clubhouse. “It will definitely be high standards, clear standards,” she said. “If something happens that’s not for the good of the team, they’re going to hear it from me. I think going back to honesty and being direct with them and hoping for the same. They can definitely get on with it. expect loud music in the clubhouse. They already know that. Just a fun environment. One of my passions is creating a really competitive environment. Sometimes that gets lost in the minor league system. Balkovec has said that while player development will be key, she also wants to teach players how to win.

Which GM Brian Cashman noted: He had praise for Balkovec. “She’s determined,” he said, “she’s strong, she’s got persistence, she obviously has a plan of what she wants to do in the present and where she wants to go in the future. I don’t would put no limits on what her future would entail. She is willing to go to the ends of the earth to achieve her goals.

How the job offer came about: Balkovec said she visited the Yankees player development center in Tampa to work with a player in mid-December when league hitting coach Dillon Lawson pulled her aside and said Kevin Reese, the team’s vice president of player development, wanted to talk. it’s up to her to become a manager. She said she didn’t have much time to think about it. “‘Look, I’m going to make mistakes,” Balkovec told Reese. “I’m going to need support. I think they were like, Duh, we’re here to support you and we see you in a position of leadership .

An icon reaches out to you: Legendary tennis star and pioneer of women’s sport, Billie Jean King, paid tribute to Balkovec. She was surprised. “It’s okay. I can die now. My career is over,” Balovec said of the 78-year-old king’s audition.

His relationship with the best prospect Jason Dominguez: There’s a chance the Yankees will ask Dominguez — their hyper-hyped outfield prospect — to start 2022 again at High-A Tampa. She worked a lot with the 19-year-old on his striking. “Fewer people understand the type of person he is,” Balkovec said. “He’s a phenomenal person at the clubhouse. His aptitude is so high. He wants to learn. We’re literally doing off-season English lessons right now. We don’t even talk about baseball a lot, we talk about baseball lessons. English so he can be a better person at the clubhouse and be a leader for Latin American and American players in the future. I think I always want to lead the conversation that way. Everyone knows his baseball talent. That’s obvious. But behind closed doors, people need to understand that he’s a really special person and what he brings to the clubhouse from a character perspective is phenomenal.

What MLB said: Commissioner Rob Manfred released a statement regarding Balkovec’s new work. “On behalf of Major League Baseball, I congratulate Rachel on this historic milestone,” Manfred said in the statement. “As manager of the Tampa Tarpons, she will continue to demonstrate her expertise and leadership in the Yankees organization. We wish Rachel well in this new role and appreciate her mentorship to the growing network of women in baseball operations. and player development roles. When Kim Ng was hired as general manager of the Marlins ahead of the 2021 season, it was a significant step forward. I’m happy to see the game continue to make significant progress at different levels. Major League Baseball is committed to providing a supportive environment for women and girls to participate in our sport as players, coaches, umpires and executives. We are proud of Rachel, the new Director of Player Development Sara Goodrum of the Astros and all the women in our sport who are setting a positive example for our next generation of fans and proving, on and off field, that baseball is a game for all people.”

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Brendan Kuty can be reached at [email protected].

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