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Rachel Balkovec Makes Sports History as First Woman to Manage Minor League Baseball Team

·2  min de lectura

Getty Images / New York Yankees

Rachel Balkovec has joined the major league of trailblazers by becoming the first woman to lead an affiliated professional baseball team in history.

The baseball coach, who was hired by the New York Yankees in 2019 as a hitting coach for the minor leagues, is the new manager of the Low A Tampa Tarpons' 2022 season.

Balkovec's achievement has been 10 years in the making, as the former softball player managed to rise to the top of a male-dominated industry, even changing her name on resumes from "Rachel" to "Rae" to be able to get called back for interviews.

Photo by New York Yankees/Getty Images

According to the New York Times, her record-breaking trajectory in professional baseball began in 2021 with a temporary contract with the St. Louis Cardinals' minor league affiliate in Johnson City, Tennessee, where she was named the Appalachian League's strength coach of the year.

In 2015, she became the first woman to have a full-time position as a strength and conditioning coordinator in major-league affiliated baseball.

"I view my path as an advantage," Balkovec told the Associated Press in December 2019. "I had to do probably much more than maybe a male counterpart, but I like that because I'm so much more prepared for the challenges that I may encounter...My mom used to always say, life's not fair. So, is it fair? No. Does it matter? No. You have to keep standing at that door banging on it."

The 34-year-old has worked as a strength and conditioning coordinator for several teams, including the Houston Astros and the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks. She also holds international experience she gained while completing her masters' degree in the Netherlands in 2018, according to ESPN.

Photo by New York Yankees/Getty Images

"I'm not the first woman to have a position in baseball, but I know this is a little different," Balkovec said after news of her position was announced. "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]."

Billie Jean King, the acclaimed tennis star and sports icon who championed equal gender rights tweeted about Balkovec's accomplishment with pride.

"History made in baseball!" she wrote on Twitter. "Congratulations to former college softball catcher [Rachel Balkovec] on her promotion w/ the #Yankees from hitting coach to team manager of the Low A Tampa Tarpons. She will be 1st woman in history to manage a minor league baseball team #progress."

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