Giants assistant coach Alyssa Nakken became the first female coach in MLB history, and took it to the next level by coaching first base against the A’s in an exhibition game. Her Opening Day jersey now hangs in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
It might appear to be a lot of responsibility on that front alone, but many of her peers -- other female representation in the league in various jobs -- have embraced her, and offered her thanks for what she’s done for the industry.
“The other women from the other teams, whether they were analysts, strength coaches or others, would come to me and just say like, ‘Thank you, I now don't have to like put my clothes under a table in a corner and try and find a space to change,’” Nakken said in an interview with MLB.com. “I think that was just a big improvement, but it also shows just how far we have to go. I mean, come on, it's 2020. We're just now finding spaces for females to put on their uniform to go to work.”
Slowly but surely we’re getting there. When Nakken walks on to the field at Oracle Park, Renel Brooks-Moon’s voice could be heard over the PA system as she announces each player’s at-bat.
The additions of Jessica Mendoza in the ESPN booth, northern California native and MLB agent Rachel Luba becoming the first woman to ever represent an NL Cy Young Award winner, Melanie Newman becoming the first female play-by-play broadcaster in the history of the Baltimore Orioles organization … the list thankfully goes on and on.
The Giants also sent out a mandate to all 30 clubs requiring them to create locker room space for female staffers. That alone shows women belong and the league wants to show acceptance.
Trust me when I say, it’s appreciated.
From the beginning, Nakken felt a sense of pride in her “wow moment” of making history. And she’s up for all of the challenges and responsibilities. Not just in her job, but being at the forefront of it all.
The butterflies she experienced on that first day are gone.