We’ve Got a Woman In Dugout, But Will We See One On The Field?
We are finally seeing a woman run a major league sports franchise. It's about time.
Back in 2015, the PBS Newshour asked “When Will Major League Baseball Hire its First Female general manager?” when they featured Kim Ng, the then vice-president of Major League Baseball. Well, they got their answer, five years later. After decades of proving herself in major league baseball and being an executive with the LA Dodgers, NY Yankees, and the Chicago White Sox, Kim Ng was named general manager of Derek Jeter’s Florida Marlins. Ng is now the first female to be the head coach or manager of a major league Baseball team and of any professional men’s sports team.
It’s about time. I’ve long thought Baseball would be the ideal sport for women to make big inroads. Women are fans. They are knowledgeable fans at that. My Grandmother is a huge baseball fan. She watches almost every Cleveland baseball game. She keeps score just like she did for my dad’s little league team decades ago. Baseball is a numbers game. Moneyball took that to the next level. My Grandmother has always been pretty good with numbers. Had she been born now, I could easily see her managing a baseball team.
Coaching has changed in many ways. The old school coaches barking out commands are fast becoming a thing of the past. Coaches across sports are now participating in the collaborative effort of winning. Sure they might yell at the umpires or referees. Sports are still adrenaline-inducing experiences. But you rarely see them yelling at players. Let’s be real are you really going to scream at the guying making millions more than you? Probably not. Instead, coaches are expected to guide a team, to lead. They manage everything from players’ personalities, practices, and the infamous load management to front office demands. All in the pursuit of one goal, winning.
You don’t need to be the best player or even to have played much at all to be a good coach. It is its own skill. One based a lot on your interpersonal abilities. You need to love the game, too. And that cuts across genders. Ng’s hiring leaves me pondering another question? Will we see women on the field with men? Kobe Bryant was quoted as saying there were several women he could see playing in the NBA.
When it comes to Baseball, a quick Wikipedia search tells me that individual women have been playing with the boys since the 1920s. This has mostly been in exhibition games or the minor leagues. A few women have even thrown batting practice for major league teams. Will we see them do more than barnstorm? I hope so. If Ng’s hiring is any indication, then maybe we can do more than hope. She was quoted in the New York Times saying, “There’s an adage, ‘You can’t be it if you can’t see it,’” Ng said. “I suggest to them, ‘Now you can see it.’” Here’s to seeing more women on and off the field.