The latest guest on The Base Path Podcast is a trailblazer for women in the baseball industry.
Katie Krall is only the second female coach in the history of the Boston Red Sox organization. She was hired by the Red Sox in January to serve as the player development coach at Double-A Portland.
Krall paid her dues to land a job as a coach in pro baseball. She worked in the MLB office for two years as an economics and operations coordinator. After that, she worked for the Reds for two years as a baseball analyst.
The Portland position is her first as a coach on the field.
“This is a very new dream for me to be a coach around the field,” Krall said. “I had always known I wanted to work in baseball, but I assumed that the only path that existed was in a front office. (Current Miami Marlins general manager) Kim Ng actually hired me at MLB. So, growing up as a little girl, I had her as a role model. But I never went to a game and saw women on the field. I never went to a game and saw a woman coach first base. To be that embodiment and hopefully that type of an ideal of what’s possible for young women and little girls, it’s phenomenal. (At a recent game) in Hartford, there were two young women who came up to me and said, ‘We’re women in sports, we work at ESPN. We think it’s the coolest thing in the world that you’re in the dugout like that.’ That is incredibly powerful for me.”
A year prior to Krall’s hire, the Red Sox hired Bianca Smith as a minor league coach. By hiring Krall, the Red Sox became the first MLB organization to have two female coaches.
Krall is cautious about celebrating the rise of women in baseball, as she still believes there is work to be done to eliminate sexism from the game.
“It definitely exists,” Krall said. “I think the tricky thing is that if you ask any of the female coaches who are on the field now, they’ve all encountered sexism. And I think the tricky line to walk when you read articles or see pieces on MLB Network about the progress that’s been made, it’s absolutely a celebratory time for women in sports, but by no means have we reached gender equality. I don’t want that to ever get lost. I do think that women can make significant gains and change in this industry, but there still is work that needs to be done where we create a culture that’s very hospitable to women.”
Like any trailblazer, Krall recognizes that she has a responsibility to do her job to her greatest ability while also setting an example for future generations.
“I see my role as having those dual responsibilities of advance scouting and pitch design and being on the field with the guys,” Krall said. “But then also recognizing that the more people that I can talk to, the more that I can share my story and hopefully inspire others. Bianca and I had awesome conversations about that during spring training. We are very cognizant of the responsibility. We see it as a responsibility, not necessarily a burden. Hopefully five, 10, 15 years from now, there are women who say, ‘I went to a Sea Dogs game and saw Bianca on the field,’ or, ‘I talked to Katie for a few minutes.’ I think that would be such an amazing opportunity, and a chance to be part of somebody else’s story would mean everything to me.”
Listen to the entire podcast.
The New England Baseball Journal podcast is brought to you by the University of Nebraska High School.
For advertising opportunities, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.