Reactions to the hiring of Kim Ng

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The Miami Marlins got baseball afloat with their memorable hiring of Kim Ng as general manager. Praise has poured in for Ng, who becomes the first woman and the first Asian American to serve as CEO. Those who lessen the seriousness of this hire have been properly shouted, as does Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli via Twitter here, but overall the response has been overwhelmingly positive.Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal dates back to Ng’s beginnings in baseball, speaking with former Big League executive Dan Evans, who hired her as an intern when she was 21. From the first time she led an arbitration hearing, to her recruiting by league offices, to Evans hiring Ng for the second time, the former Dodgers general manager speaks with praise of Ng and his willingness to take charge of a ball club. Says Evans (by Rosenthal):

Part of the reason she’s going to be great is that persistence is one of her strongest character assets. This will allow her to recognize that maybe it did not happen at the speed that she would have liked. But has there ever been a more qualified person from day one on the job? I do not remember.

“The Marlins didn’t hire her as a woman. They hired her because she is the most qualified person for the job. In my mind, it has been several times. The property groups who interviewed her just weren’t ready for some reason. I am delighted with what the Marlins have done. As a father of two daughters, I always want the person who is going to break a ceiling to be ready to seize the opportunity because there is tremendous pressure to be that first person. She doesn’t have the ability to fail in certain areas that a guy would. There will be a lot more attention. She’s not only ready, but she’s been ready. They hired the best and most qualified person who also happens to be the first female CEO. It’s a great statement for the game and the progression of our company.

Anne Rogers of MLB.com provides a number of reactions to Ng’s hiring. Regarding how important this hiring is to the league and to women, Rachel Balkovec, a Yankees Minor League hitting coach, said this (according to Rogers):

It changes the conversation from “Oh that was never done” to “Oh, well, Kim is doing it so you can do it.” With Jeter, I think that’s important too, because it’s like, ‘Well, if he can make that decision, someone who has that much respect in the game, anyone can take the decision.’ It changes the conversation and the idea that people have of what a GM looks like. The importance really cannot be overstated. “

Jeter’s relationship with Ng dates back to his time as assistant general manager for the Yankees from 1998-2001. That Jeter knows Ng so well goes a long way in giving him confidence in his ability to lead the Marlins in the right direction. The presumption of skepticism, to be clear, has everything to do with the usual skepticism that comes with being a new GM. For Jeter and for those who know Ng, however, there is no doubt that she was the right fit.

Ng is described by those who worked for her as a caring, courteous and measured leader. For example, she asked Dodgers players to call Evans to thank him when they clinched a division title, even though Evans was sacked before the start of the season, writes Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. This kind of care and compassion goes a long way in a business that requires cold calculations that move players without telling them.

Despite all of her character’s claims, Ng got hired because the Marlins think she’s the right person to bring a championship back to Miami. This is also Ng’s goal. According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, Ng says:

This challenge is a challenge that I do not take lightly. When I started this business it seemed unlikely that a woman would lead a Major League team, but I am stubborn in pursuing my goals. My goal now is to bring the baseball championship to Miami. I am both honored and eager to continue to build the winning culture that our fans expect and deserve.



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