Apr 9, 2022 - Sports

Rachel Balkovec wins debut as manager of Yankees affiliate

 Bench Coach Jerry Manuel #11 and Hitting Coach Rachel Balkovec #9 of the American League Team look on during the 2021 Sirius XM Futures Game.

Then-hitting Coach Rachel Balkovec of the American League Team looks on during the 2021 Sirius XM Futures Game at Coors Field on Sunday, July 11, 2021, in Denver. Photo: Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Rachel Balkovec debuted as the first woman to manage a minor league baseball team with a win on Friday night.

Driving the news: Balkovec led the Tampa Tarpons, the Single-A affiliate of the Yankees, to a 9-6 victory against the Lakeland Flying Tigers.

  • "I've never heard my name chanted like that," Balkovec said, per MLB.
  • "It was so much fun. Again, I just see, it's like I see me sitting in the stands, whatever 15, 20 years ago, and so it's just really cool."
  • The Tarpons broke a 4-all tie in the seventh inning on a grand slam by Anthony Garcia, per MLB.

The big picture: Balkovec was named manager of the Tarpons in January.

  • The Yankees hired Balkovec in November 2019 as a minor league hitting coach, when she became the first woman named to such a role in the history of professional baseball.
  • Balkovec also was the first woman to become a full-time minor league strength and conditioning coach.

What she's saying: "It's been 10 years of just working to this point," Balkovec told reporters before the game.

  • "Things have evolved. I was blatantly discriminated against back then. Some people say not to say that, but it's just part of what has happened, and I think it's important to say because it lets you know how much change has happened."

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