On Tuesday, the New York Yankees' minor-league affiliate in Hudson Valley (High-A) dropped a press release describing a series of renovations being made to their nearly-30-year-old (read: "ancient") stadium.
Inadvertently (or perhaps on purpose?), the team also dropped a pretty interesting nugget within the PR speak insinuating that Rachel Balkovec, the manager of the Low-A Tampa Tarpons, could be on the way up soon.
Hudson Valley's ballpark is entering Phase One of a series of upgrades, both cosmetic and foundational. First on the agenda is player development/player safety. The Yankees and Renegades are constructing a fully indoor all-weather batting cage facility (feels necessary), as well as additional padding for the walls, a weight lifting and training center, and the complete gutting of the right-field clubhouse building.
Oh, and they're also building a "dedicated locker room space for female coaches and umpires." Great for diversity, in any capacity, but considering there's a rockstar female manager currently one level below Hudson Valley, it sure sounds like they're speeding up the process in hopes of having Balkovec climb the corporate ladder soon.
Yankees improving Hudson Valley Renegades stadium ... for Rachel Balkovec promotion?
Balkovec began her career at the lowest level of the minors in 2012, as a temporary contract strength and conditioning coach with the Appy League Johnson City Cardinals. The Appy League, may it rest in peace, was such an introductory level of pro ball that it's now been ... turned into a collegiate league, and has shed its pro affiliation. That was easy.
Since then, Balkovec has worked as the Astros' Latin American strength program coordinator, moved to the Netherlands to pursue a degree and worked with the Dutch baseball team, and rejoined the Yankees as a hitting coach after the 2019 season.
She's worked closely with Jasson Dominguez during that time, spending time on the coaching staff at the 2021 Futures Game before being entrusted with managing him during her first season with the Tarpons. Now, Dominguez has leapt all the way to Double-A Somerset, with a Triple-A promotion possible before the end of the year.
The Martian truly blossomed towards the end of his time in Florida, leading to a new level of dominance in Hudson Valley. It certainly appears Balkovec is ready to follow the same path.