Kim Ng’s hiring shows the importance of representation and why MLB still has a long way to go
Ng, who officially was introduced as the Marlins’ general manager Monday, became the first woman to be a GM in a major men’s professional sport and the first Asian American GM in MLB history.
When Kim Ng was hired as the Marlins’ general manager last week, people rejoiced. She became the first woman to be named the GM of a team in a major men’s pro sport and the first Asian American GM in Major League Baseball history.
And in the words of LeBron James, ‘‘It’s about damn time.’’
Someone who had been deserving of such an opportunity for years finally reached a goal that had been so elusive throughout her career and made history in the process.
‘‘I thought it would be a big deal, but this is beyond my expectations — and I think beyond many people’s expectations,’’ Ng said at her introductory news conference Monday. ‘‘But I think that really is a testament to where we are. People are looking for hope. People are looking for inspiration. I’m happy that this is a part of it.’’
Ng’s hiring means so much more than the Marlins getting a new GM. It means the breaking down of a barrier that has tarnished the sports world — and specifically baseball — for far too long.
Ng first interviewed for a GM position in 2005. At that time, she already had 15 years of experience, had been an assistant GM for the Yankees and Dodgers and had three World Series rings for good measure.
But the door was closed, and she waited.
Since that time, candidates with far less experience had been hired to be GMs. Some had been hired to the job by different teams.
It had been 15 years since Ng’s first GM interview, and her time finally came.
For the first time, women worldwide can see someone like themselves in a position they’ve never imagined could be theirs. That’s what representation is all about. Having someone open the door allows others the opportunity to follow in their footsteps.
‘‘Anybody who knows me knows that I have spent countless hours advocating for young girls, advocating for young women and really trying to help them advance their careers,’’ Ng said. ‘‘That’s something that is so important to me.
‘‘Now having this high-profile position, where you’re out in public more. . . . There is an adage: ‘You can’t be it if you can’t see it.’ I guess I would suggest to them, ‘Now you can see it.’ ’’
The saddest part about Ng’s long wait is something that ordinarily would be a compliment.
‘‘I can’t think of anyone more qualified for the position than Kim,’’ Marlins principal owner Bruce Sherman said.
That’s the problem: A person considered to be one of the more decorated and qualified candidates the game has seen had to wait 30 years for her first shot to be a GM.
Baseball in its purest form should be a sport for everyone. But because of patriarchal ideologies and ‘‘old boys club’’ biases, it shut out bright minds such as Ng and pushed others who hoped to be just like her away from their dream. The industry should be embarrassed because of that.
MLB always has been slow to react when it comes to significant movement in diversity and inclusion in the game, and Ng’s hiring should ignite a shift in an outdated and fatuous way of thinking.
Ng has accomplished something many women waited a lifetime for and, in the process, helped spark a fire in generations of women that will come after her.
It shouldn’t have taken this long for this to come to fruition. And as we continue to celebrate Ng as she prepares to take control of one of MLB’s up-and-coming teams, we shouldn’t let baseball pass up a chance to have a better future.