For any skeptics (read: jerkwads) skeptical of Rachel Balkovec’s credentials to serve as the New York Yankees‘ Low-A manager (Tampa Tarpons) for 2022, we sure hope you watched clips of her introductory conference call on Wednesday.
If you weren’t blown away, you actively have an agenda. Luckily, we’ve gathered some clips to help you, the ignorant, learn more about Balkovec’s story and glean more information on what she will bring to the dugout this spring when she officially becomes the first female manager in organized minor-league history.
The Yankees made their mark on the game by promoting Balkovec to the full-time managerial role on Sunday evening, elevating her from a previous position as a minor-league hitting coordinator, a job she’d held since late 2019.
Before joining the organization, her bread and butter in professional sports had come as a strength and conditioning expert, specifically in the Latin American division with the Houston Astros (hired in 2016).
That makes her new position, managing many international signees in their first-ever full-season stop with the Tarpons, a natural fit.
In case her skill set didn’t make the fit obvious enough, Balkovec set the bar high with her responses on Wednesday afternoon. She was prepared with a perfect comeback for those who choose to question her credentials (spoiler alert: the data is not on their side).
Yankees Single-A manager Rachel Balkovec dominated her intro presser
And those questioning her qualifications and story have to ask themselves … if they’ve ever questioned any other first-time minor-league manager’s credentials in a similar way? Because both Balkovec’s natural demeanor and backstory seem like exactly the kind of things that typically open that door.
In terms of the nitty-gritty, Balkovec was also asked about Jasson Dominguez, the Yankees’ high-profile Martian who made his full-season debut in 2021 and will likely begin 2022 under her tutelage in Tampa (and, remember, the minor-league season won’t be delayed no matter how long the lockout lasts).
Unsurprisingly, the two have already worked together in her previous role, and she had nothing but glowing things to say.
An all-important developmental year is coming up for Dominguez, who hit a good-not-great .252 with a .353 OBP and five homers in 206 minor-league at-bats last season. Seemingly, it’s bound to get off on the right foot.
Oh, and for those who wanted an example of Balkovec’s Spanish-speaking skills, look no further. She broke it out seamlessly on the call as well.
We’d recommend that anyone still skeptical do some further reading, but we’re well aware they won’t. Ideally, this primer helped cure what ails ya.
We can’t wait to see what Balkovec can do with a full season under her belt in the spotlight, running the show down at the Yankees’ Spring Training facility.
Last year, Tampa rode the environment and some key prospect talent to an absolute offensive explosion. Excited for Round 2.