Yankees set another mark for diversity with Balkovec hiring

Yankees hiring Rachel Balkovec as Tampa Tarpons manager part of storied history by club in promoting women’s involvement with baseballGETTY IMAGES

MLB teams typically do not "hold news conferences for their minor league managers," but the Yankees' hiring of Rachel Balkovec to manage the Tampa Tarpons, the club's Low-A Southeast affiliate, involved a "groundbreaking hire and a groundbreaking coach," according to James Wagner of the N.Y. TIMES. Balkovec pointed to the Yankees and their GM Brian Cashman for "setting an example" with the past hires of Kim Ng and Jean Afterman as assistant GMs. Yankees VP/Player Development Kevin Reese said that the decision to promote Balkovec was "easy." He had gathered some of his "top lieutenants to discuss roles for employees at different minor league levels for the upcoming season," and everyone spoke "highly of Balkovec." Reese said, “The funny thing, and I’ve talked with a number of people about like, ‘Hey, was this tough? Was there a lot of debate?’ Everybody was on board" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/12).

LEADING THE WAY: On Long Island, Laura Albanese writes as the first woman to manage an MLB-affiliated baseball team, Balkovec "well understands the responsibility that comes with the term 'trailblazer.'" What once seemed like an "impossibility" has become a "legitimate avenue for other women in baseball." The Yankees have a "storied history in promoting women’s involvement" with the sport. Cashman has hired two female assistant GMs in his tenure. His first was Ng in '98, and the second was his "current second in command," Afterman. Cashman said that he "hopes hirings like these become less notable in the future because they’re so common" (NEWSDAY, 1/13).

SBJ Spotlight: TikTok’s threat to traditional sports media

While tech companies are consumed with finding ways to compete with TikTok, almost no one in conventional media “spends any time talking about it,” said Recode senior correspondent Peter Kafka in an Spotlight interview with SBJ’s John Ourand. “To me, that’s just an obvious disconnect.” Kafka authored a recent column headlined, “It’s TikTok’s world. Can TV live in it?” He said the main response to TikTok’s growth from traditional media execs has been to “punt and hope it’s someone else’s problem a quarter from now or two years from now.” But Kafka said that ignores the trend of conventional broadcast audiences growing older while a billion younger consumers spend most of their media time watching short video after short video. “If you’re in the business of getting anyone under the age of 30 to look at what you’re putting on a screen, you have to think about the fact that you’re probably asking them to put down TikTok and watch your thing instead,” said Kafka. “That’s a very difficult ask. … [TikTok] is insanely addictive.”

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