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Baseball’s First Female Manager to Debut in Lakeland

By: Christopher Follenus

Just like Jackie Robinson, history will be made when Rachel Balkovec steps on to the field, Baseball’s first female manager to debut in Lakeland.

Rachel Balkovec to Make Baseball History

Opening night the Lakeland Flying Tigers, April 8, at Tigertown will be Balkovec’s first game as the first full-time female manager in the history of affiliated baseball, the manager of the Tampa Tarpons.

The eyes of the nation will be on Lakeland, Florida, when yet another glass ceiling is shattered.

Joke Marchant Stadium Tower

Rachel Balkovec will make history at Lakeland’s Publix field in a game for the Tarpons versus the Lakeland Flying Tigers

Baseball shapes history

When Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier for baseball in 1947 for the Brooklyn Dodgers, it heralded an end to racial segregation in professional baseball.

But that wasn’t the first, or the last, societal issue baseball has faced.

From rallies to advance the idea of women voting to “Until There’s A Cure Day” events during the height of the AIDS epidemic, baseball has sought, through the power of the nation’s nation pastime, to heal societal wounds.

Women changing the sport

This may be the first full-time woman manager, but not the first women involved. The first woman baseball coach was named in 2009. She also threw batting practice to six Major League teams in the following years. In 2021, the Boston Red Sox hired the first black woman to coach in professional baseball. And since 1989, the women broadcasters have helped those not at the park experience the game.

See history live

Game time is 6:30 p.m., with the gates scheduled to open an hour before the game.

To witness history in person, purchase your tickets at milb.com/lakeland.

Poster for Lakeland Tigers versus Tampa Tarpons featuring Rachel Balkovec

You may also be interested in our Detroit Tigers Spring Training

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