Brodeur: Seattle woman helps Major League Baseball players to keep their eyes on the ball

From Nicole Brodeur at the Seattle Times on January 7, 2020:

It was 7 a.m. on the day after Christmas, a sleep-in day if there ever was one. But Rachel Balkovec had been up for hours, running the dark, cold streets of West Seattle, swimming in the icy waters of Puget Sound, showering and then driving to work in Kent.

That kind of discipline and focus is why she just made history: In November, she became the first woman to be hired as a full-time minor league hitting coach for a professional baseball team — in this case, the New York Yankees organization. She will report for work in Tampa, Florida, on Feb. 1.

Until then, she is working as a baseball research and development fellow at Driveline Baseball, a pitching and hitting training facility in Kent.

“I feel like people are throwing me a graduation party and I’m just a sophomore,” Balkovec, 32, said of the attention she has been getting since signing with the Yankees on Nov. 8. “This is a stop. It’s not a finality.

“Wait until I’ve won five World Series as a GM,” she said. “Then you can throw me a party.”

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Originally published: January 7, 2020. Last Updated: January 7, 2020.