Rachel Balkovec Wins First Professional Game as Manager

April 12, 2022 / BaseballCoaching
Rachel Balkovec, the first woman to manage an MLB-affiliated minor league team, took home her first professional victory over the weekend.

Balkovec, 34, is no stranger to breaking down barriers. She became the first woman to be a full-time minor league strength and conditioning coach, and, later, became the first woman to serve as a full-time hitting coach in the minor leagues.

balkovecLast Friday, while managing the New York Yankees-affiliated Tarpons in a series against the Lakeland Flying Tigers, Balkovec guided her team to a 9-6 victory.

A recent story from WAMU.org highlighted the weekend festivities and how Balkovec reacted to the weekend.

Below is an excerpt from the WAMU.org story on the memorable weekend for Balkovec.

“I’ve never heard my name chanted like that,” Balkovec said, according to The Associated Press. “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.”

Before she got her start in professional baseball, Balkovec played college softball. In January, she told NPR that she’s not much of a baseball fan, which might be “jarring to a few people’s ears.” It was the minor league system, instead, that fascinated her.

When she was a strength and conditioning coach at Louisiana State University, she remembers hearing players talk about the minors.

“Their stories of the minor league experiences and eating hot dogs before the games and training in YMCAs in random towns in the country,” Balkovec began. “And I just thought, ‘Wow.’ Like, I had no idea, even as a college softball player, the extensive, incredibly long and twisting journey that these athletes go through.”

To read the full story from WAMU.org, click here.