Alyssa Nakken played first base on the Sacramento State women’s softball team from 2009 to 2012, being named all-conference three times and Academic All American all four years. She earned a master’s degree in sport management from the University of San Francisco in 2015, and interned with the San Francisco Giants’ baseball operations department for a year during that period.
Now she has become the first female major league coach. New San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler added her to his staff. Whether it was his idea or not is unknown.
What is her job? The Associated Press is a bit vague:
“Nakken will be in uniform and helping the Giants with everything from cage work to infield practice,” its feature says. The AP adds:
“Kapler and Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi have all the confidence in Nakken’s ability to help build clubhouse continuity through stronger bonds between young players and veterans…A polished speaker who has become adept at hiding any nerves, Nakken is taking initiative early. She put on a two-day coaches retreat this week that included a “culinary experience” — much more than “a food tour,” she said — through San Francisco’s historic and diverse Mission District..
Nakken doesn’t claim to be an expert on hitting or pitching. She plans to assist coaches on both sides, and will also work a lot on outfield defense and baserunning. Nakken will be in uniform but not in the dugout during games, rather working with players in the cage to keep them ready..
Do you see my problem?
My knee-jerk reaction was that the Giants should be designated Ethics Heroes. I have long felt that baseball was the one professional sport where women could play with men at the professional level, but that social pressures and biases had so far prevented this from happening. Girls are typically transitioned out of Little League, even if they are outstanding, into softball, and their development in the sport of baseball is cut short. A woman’s size and upper body strength might preclude being a slugger on the major league level, but the other skills of the game are within the range of some female athletes, especially pitching. (There’s no rule against a pitcher using a softball underhand delivery.)
I admit, some of my enthusiasm on this topic arises from my appreciation of “A League of Their Own,” as well as the fact that the best player on my son’s Little League team for two years was a girl. By the third year, I only saw her in the stands, barely recognizable in short skirts and make-up. She had decided to be a cheerleader.
So when I started to read the AP story, I was nodding at statements like, “For Nakken, making history means being ready each day to make an impact in her own distinct way while ignoring the critics and anyone who figures she is unfit for an on-field baseball job based on her gender….She does accept her role as an example for girls and women that they can work in baseball.”
Then I started thinking about other quotes, like,
Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach Lindsay Gottlieb, the former California women’s basketball coach in nearby Berkeley, hopes Nakken paves the way for more women to work in prominent baseball jobs — and not just behind the scenes.“That’s great news for the Giants and for baseball,” Gottlieb said. “Any organization benefits from diverse opinions and experiences, and baseball is no different.
I also started thinking about the fact that this is a San Francisco team, where pandering to the woke and its sacred tenets like diversity for diversity’s sake, and prioritizing pro-female and race-based hiring over merit, talent, and experience. Then I re-read the vague and amorphous duties decrribed in the article, and quotes like,
“[T]throughout the interview process and getting to know Gabe and Farhan a little bit more, it was never about this,” Nakken said. “It was never about being a female. It was never about being the first. “It was about, ‘Hey, we have a brand new staff, there’s a lot going on, we need somebody to come in here and make an impact in this clubhouse, for this staff, for the team and help us win, somebody who knows baseball, is a good communicator, can build relationships, can build trust and that’s what it was about.’”
What the hell is the job? Is this just a massive pandering and virtue-signaling exercise? Was a man who did know something about playing baseball passed over so the Giants could claim they broke the gender barrier, or was this job invented for a female? Will the players be told to just be nice, avoid sexual harassment, and otherwise be tolerant because this is just a big public relations stunt to suck up to the San Francisco community?
And is it just a coincidence that the first female baseball coach is young, tall, slim and attractive, unlike the typical male baseball coaches, like, say, the late Don Zimmer?
In short, what’s going on here?
Let’s poll it: