Women in Sports: Kim Ng hurdles incredible boundarycsudhbulletin November 19, 2020 0 COMMENTS
Woman wearing Baseball bat in field. Photo courtesy by Pixabay.
Editor’s Note: Welcome to the Bulletin’s new sports blog, Women in Sports, where every week a Bulletin writer will share their thoughts on an issue that involves half of America’s population competing, working and following an industry that remains largely dominated by the other half. How women are succeeding, encountering barriers or elevating the conversation, if it involves women and sports, it’s in our wheelhouse.
By Jeremy Gonzalez, Sports Editor
A common cliche in life is that barriers are meant to be broken. But sometimes it does happen. Like in 1947, when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball when he started at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Now, 73 years later, the MLB is at the forefront of another barrier being broken.
There have been female owners (usually wives) and high-ranking female officials on the business side, but for the first time ever, a woman will be in charge of constructing a roster of players to try and win a major championship.
The Miami Marlins made history on Friday Nov. 13 by announcing the barrier-shattering news that they had named Kim Ng the organization’s general manager.
“I entered Major League Baseball as an intern and, after decades of determination, it is the honor of my career to lead the Miami Marlins as their next general manager,” Ng wrote in a statement. “It seemed unlikely a woman would lead a major league team, but I am dogged in the pursuit of my goals.”
Jeff Passan, the MLB Insider and writer for ESPN, put Ng’s hire into a much bigger perspective in a tweet he posted later that day.
“Forget just baseball. A woman has never been the general manager of a major American professional sports team period until Kim Ng was hired by the Miami Marlins today. Their [Chief Operating Officer] is Caroline O’Connor. The Marlin’s three highest-ranking officials are two women and an ex-shortstop.”
The ex-shortstop that Passan is referring to is none other than Mr. October himself, Yankees great Derek Jeter, who now serves as the Marlins’ CEO. Jeter and Ng are quite familiar with each other from their time together in New York when Jeter still played for the team while Ng served as the Yankees assistant GM from 1998-2001.
Ng brings over 30 years of baseball experience to Miami after spending some time with the Chicago White Sox (1990-96), Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers (2002-11) and MLB Commissioner’s Office (2011-20). In her different tenures throughout the league, Ng was a part of eight postseason appearances, six league championship series and three World Series championships.
In some cases, a monumental move like this could be shrugged off and downplayed as something that is not talked about by many, but Ng is aware that her impact will be felt way beyond shaping the Marlins’ roster since becoming the first woman to take on a GM role.
“There’s an adage, ‘You can’t be it if you can’t see it,” Ng said at her introductory press conference Monday when asked how she hopes women in sports view her,” according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. “Now you can see it. I look forward to hearing all their stories and just how inspired they are to pursue a job in sports, a job in baseball and to reach for the stars.”
Ng is now tasked with guiding a rising Marlins team that is coming off their first playoff appearance since 2003 and first winning season since 2009. The expectations and goals she set for herself are no different than any other GM in the sport.
“My goal is to bring championship baseball to Miami,” Ng said. “I am both humbled and eager to continue building the winning culture our fans expect and deserve.”
It seems extremely improbable that an overqualified woman was named the general manager of a professional sports team in the United States. The magnitude of this moment cannot be underestimated. An entire generation of kids that are not boys will now grow up knowing there is a place for them in the highest ranks of the baseball world. This absolutely matters, and it’s fucking awesome.