Rachel Balkovec has been promoted to manager of the Tampa Tarpons, the Low-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, per Lindsey Adler of the Athletic. With this move, Balkovec becomes the first woman to ever manage a baseball team affiliated with a major-league club.
In my opinion, this is long overdue for Rachel Balkovec, who is 34 years old. She joined the Yanks as a minor-league hitting coach in 2019, but has been around the game for far longer.
Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, Balkovec was a standout catcher on University of New Mexico's softball team. Her career brought her the route of strength & conditioning, and that's where she began a solid career foundation in baseball. She worked for the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago White Sox, and Houston Astros in various S&C capacities, and then transitioned to develop expertise in hitting. That's when the Yanks scooped her up and realized how big of an impact she would make.
It didn't come without its struggles, though. Balkovec was disappointed in the lack of offers she was receiving despite a solid resume...so, by changing her name from "Rachel" to "Rae" on her resume, the calls started pouring in. It took a name change for teams to realize that it didn't matter what gender their coaches were...it mattered that she'd make an impact and make the organization better.
This is one of the coolest things you'll see in the game of baseball right now. There aren't many women who are getting the opportunity to showcase their expertise at the major-league level. But for Balkovec, she'll have the opportunity to mentor the next generation of Yankee prospects, developing them into major-league ready players.
“The opportunity to pursue is living the dream, and I have the opportunity to pursue a dream," said Balkovec in a recent interview. I'm glad Balkovec is leading the charge to develop these young prospects. Hopefully, it'll be much more than a minor league job in her future.
Rachel Balkovec becomes the first female manager to be affiliated with a major-league club. PIC: New York Yankees