There was a time when Rachel Balkovec wondered if baseball’s most important jobs would ever be open to women. Delighted with recent advances in that regard, the Yankees Minor League manager believes there will be more changes. “My travel in sport and my work in sport has
There was a time when Rachel Balkovec wondered if baseball’s most important jobs would ever be open to women. Delighted with recent advances in that regard, the Yankees Minor League manager believes there will be more changes.
“My travel in sport and in work in sport has been quite tricky at times, so it’s really cool to see women get so widely celebrated in sport,” said Balkovec.
Balkovec appeared on MLB’s Instagram Live channel on Wednesday to celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day and to discuss the impact of women in athletics with Diamond and Delino DeShields, Jessica and Jo Adell, and Lauren Chamberlain.
• Ng on National Women’s Day in Sports
Currently in Sydney, Australia where she has been training for the Sydney Blue Sox, Balkovec said she is preparing to return to the US and will attend Yankees Spring Training in Tampa, Florida.
“When I got in,  was kind of a dark age with women in sports, ”said Balkovec. “It was pretty lonely. I was on a small island. The advice I would give to women just getting started is, “Be patient.” It’s something I may not have had at the beginning of my career, but I get a lot more of it. Hopefully 10 years have changed a little in the game. “
In 4th grade, I said I wanted to be the first female kicker in the NFL. The boy sitting next to me told me I couldn’t do it.
23 years later, in summer 2020, the same boy presented me with the “Alumni of the Year” award for making history twice in MLB.
Have a day «
– Rachel Balkovec (@_rachelbalkovec) January 11, 2021
Balkovec, a product of Omaha, Neb., Played college softball at Creighton University and the University of New Mexico where she graduated with a degree in sports science. After graduating from Louisiana State University with a Masters degree in Kinesiology, she made the leap to professional baseball as a strength and conditioning coach, which the Cardinals hired in 2014 as a full-time minor league coordinator.
Balkovec worked with St. Louis for three seasons
• Afterman, Nakken discusses women in MLB
Although Balkovec prefers to focus on their duties helping players improve – “Hit the weights whether you’re a pitcher or a batsman,” she advises – she believes visibility is great for women too Professional sport is important in order to prove that jobs like yours are available and necessary.
She looks forward to advancing this mindset along with other pioneers such as Marlin’s general manager Kim Ng, Yankees’ assistant general manager Jean Afterman, and Giants Major League assistant manager Alyssa Nakken.
“When I first came into the game it was pretty empty for women in player development and field positions,” said Balkovec. “I think we will see more and more women in high-level positions.”
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