At the Letters: Gender barrier

Tim Brown
Yahoo! Sports

So I tried to convey the difficulties a woman might encounter on her way to becoming a big league general manager. I spoke to scouts, GMs, assistants, team presidents, women in other fields and agents, and focused primarily on long-time Dodgers and Yankees assistant GM Kim Ng, when apparently what I should have done was open the conversation to my emailers.

Here's a sampling, not including some of the most vicious, narrow-minded and vulgar correspondences I've received on any subject. Well, other than Barry Bonds.

As it turns out, I'm not very good at picking All-Star teams, either.

As always, my remarks follow yours, in italics:

Can Kim Ng break the GM gender barrier?

As a minor league operator of six clubs with family ties to the ownership of the NY Yankees, I am rooting for Kim to land the job that she so richly deserves. If you ever do a follow-up type of report I wanted to add one more name to that list: Tyler Tumminia. She is currently our VP/Integrated Marketing, and is – as they say – a bullet in this industry. As a daughter of a 30-year scout, her talent evaluation skills are phenomenal and widely regarded by several current major league GMs and scouting directors. She has a fantastic PR background, where she rose to a leading position by her mid-20s, only to accept an internship at a low Class-A ballclub in order to earn her baseball stripes the correct way. She's 29 years old, and if she decides to pursue the role of major league general manager I imagine she'll follow Kim's path closely (whom I believe she knows well and considers a mentor of sorts).

Jeff Goldklang
New Jersey

Tyler's father, John, is a pro scout for the Chicago White Sox.

Can Kim Ng break the gender barrier? Who cares? I finally found the most irrelevant article ever written in regards to the game of baseball.

Nick Gawriluk

Ever? Seriously? I win? But it seemed so easy.

Hopefully Ms. Ng will get her shot someday soon. I wouldn't mind seeing the Padres giving her a shot. We are a last-place team that has done nothing to improve over the past three years. She may just be the one to raise the bar and provide new insight and thinking.

Marshall Glenn
San Diego

Given this is the 10-year anniversary of the Padres reaching the World Series, and that in that World Series they were swept by the Yankees (in Ng's first year as assistant GM), I offer Ng's description of the perfect ballclub:

"Pitching and defense is the brand of baseball that I like. Execution. The '98 Yankees team, for me. In the ideal world, that's what I would have. That club was just unbelievable. Every pitch meant something to those players. They worked the count and they executed defensively and they pitched outstanding. They worked pitchers over and over and over. We'd get calls from the commissioner's office because our times of games were 3½ hours, but it was because we were working the count all the time. We didn't have one player who hit 30 home runs on that club."

Thank you for your article about Kim Ng and her pioneer status in the executive ranks of professional baseball. It provided much needed attention to the future for historically underrepresented groups in sports and leadership positions in general. However, I would like to know why her racial status as an Asian American was not also highlighted as another sign of progress for underrepresented groups. Asian Americans are people of color who have been subjected to systemic and institutionalized discrimination and who continue to face barriers to advancement in leadership positions in all sectors. Is there already a strong representation of Asian American assistant general managers or general managers in baseball? If not, I would like to know why that aspect of Ng's impact was not also noted.

Jimmy Yan
New York

I believe, Jimmy, that the greater obstacle here is gender.

I have the solution to your burning question. Let's just make Michelle Wie (remember her) the first female baseball GM.

Bob Wolf
New York

I see your point, Jimmy.

Well sir, I am not a bigoted Cro-Magnon, nor am I uneducated, BUT, a woman has NO business running a pro men's sports team. And if she did, it would need to be a large Irish-American girl who could beat you arm wrestling! Seriously though, it's a man's sport, played by men, it should be managed by men, coached by men, and no bat girls either, period. That is what softball is for!

Jack Martin
Escondido, Calif.

Wait, which was the serious part again?

Bill Singer got drunk. He made some ignorant comments. He got fired. Move on. We all know that baseball is about the bottom line. Ownership hires who they believe has the best chance to help their team win. I happen to be a Mets fan which probably explains the bitter tone of this letter. Omar Minaya the GM is Hispanic. He was hired because it was believed he would be successful. The powers that be were of course wrong. Perhaps we should hire a Vulcan? A female Vulcan of course.

Jimmy Cox
Pasadena, Calif.

Live long, trade for a right-handed-hitting corner outfielder and prosper.

This is pathetic! Sir, why are we constantly barraged about the lack of some group in an organization? I know you are probably writing this to placate some higher-ups, but for crying out loud sir, this article is just downright sad. I notice how you mentioned that baseball is primarily a white male profession. Stop feeling guilty for being a white male. No one truly cares about this woman or her plight. This is why I am beginning to detest sports, especially journalists, because rather than being an escape from day-to-day stress (convenient reasoning after 9-11), I am constantly being told there are no blacks here, no women here, someone needs to break some fictional glass ceiling, go green, etc. Please sir, for the sake of everyone, I implore you to stop this. People in general cannot care about this at all. If women are truly empowered (gag), then you do not need to write this. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Gloria Steinem do this kind of crap.

Arlington, Va.

I'm learning that whenever anyone calls me "sir," I'm about to get crushed. If women were truly empowered, then Kim Ng would be a candidate for more jobs. Sir.

Man, enough male guilt for you, as usual, Tim? So typical from the liberal moronic al-Yahoo media! You make your case less effective when there's such continuous PC guilt, sir.

San Diego

I see a trend developing (gag).

Someday the Stalinist media, whose members include Mr. Tim Brown, will look past gender ("Can Kim Ng break the gender barrier?"), race, and class, and place value on human beings simply because they are human. I don't expect such maturity to occur any time soon.


Now I'm feeling like I need to be valued more as a human. See this circle you started?

Hey toolbox, why does a woman have to be a GM? Women don't play the game, why do they have to run it? I have no problem if one does get promoted to GM if she is qualified, but why does it have to be a priority for a woman to get the job? Would it make you feel a little bit better about the world if a woman did get it? Would you feel like you did your part? Jerk.

Billy Mays

Toolbox = Sir.

Hey Tim; Man I've got to say, do you write your own headlines? If not, you should be complaining. If so, what the hell were you thinking? Why not just say "Can an Asian really run a company?" You wouldn't say that because it's racist and you would get a ton of emails. Your headline is outlandishly sexist. As someone who works writing news stories and headlines I find it both offensive, outdated and extremely low brow. Shape up or ship out, buddy.

Carly Holmes
Ottawa, Ontario

Lemme check my Stalinism Handbook here. Uh, one second. Oh damn, you're right.

Your article on Kim Ng seemed to revolve around one question: Is she opening doors for anyone? Her successors may not be beating down that door, but they're there. She's opening doors for me. I'm still in college, but I have every intention of entering baseball as soon as I graduate. I wrote a paper on Ng for a baseball history class last semester, and it made me believe that while I may have a few years yet before I become involved with the sport, once I do begin to work my way up, Ng's presence and accomplishments in baseball will do much to help create opportunities for me. I thank her for that.

Lauren Cronin

Good luck, Lauren. As you can see (gag), it might be a tough road.

Of course, she played shortstop all those years in Montreal and the outfield for the Marlins, sure she's qualified. As soon as she can play in AA she can make those decisions. She has just as much an idea as I do what it's like to play in majors. Please, as a Diamondbacks fan, I hope the Dodgers give her the job next week!

Los Angeles

As a Diamondbacks fan, you probably also know your GM (Josh Byrnes, who is one of the bright and creative minds in the business) didn't play professional baseball.

Y! Sports experts All-Star picks

How do you omit Jake Peavy? Last year's Cy Young award winner only has a 2.67 ERA. That he plays on a bad team and is 6-5 doesn't mean it's his fault. Can anyone honestly say if they could chose 5 guys in the NL to start a game for them this year and get a win they wouldn't take Jake? He's been hurt some but he still has 14 starts.

San Jacinto, Calif.

Look, I love Jake. But, here's my five this season: Edinson Volquez, Ryan Dempster, Tim Lincecum, Ben Sheets, Brandon Webb.

Matt Holliday … not an All-Star in your estimation? What kind of numbers would you like him to have in order to make your list?

John West

Holliday has, of course, his typically good numbers, despite his DL time. But, he's 10th among NL outfielders in RBI and 11th in home runs. As a corner guy, not enough this year.

Did you seriously choose four second basemen and leave Dustin Pedroia off the team? How can you possibly justify choosing Jose Lopez and Placido Polanco over him? Don't get me wrong, though – I have a problem with the other analysts choosing Polanco over Pedroia, but your choices are especially brutal. You know Yahoo! Sports is in bad shape when this is what passes for "analysis."


Sorry, Marcus, but I gave your Sox five players and needed a home for a Mariner (Jose Lopez) and an Oriole (Brian Roberts). Do away with the rule stipulating an All-Star from every team, and Pedroia would be on my squad.

I think if you are going to put in two first basemen and two catchers, add an extra infielder to your All-Star roster. And the person that comes to mind is Brandon Phillips. He is one of the most underrated players in baseball and clearly overshadowed by Chase Utley and Dan Uggla. He is the next best and his stats are above average for second basemen, but is overshadowed, like I said. I was thinking show him some love.

Antioch, Calif.

You're right, Phillips is right there in the group behind Utley and Uggla and, at 27, is in his prime. Next year.

My comment is that it's ridiculous to have Ryan Franklin on any All-Star team, Little League, major league, etc. He's been mediocre, despite his ERA and there are 10-to-15 relievers having better seasons. Sorry.

Hannibal, Mo.

Seth, I've always thought there should be a place on these teams for a pitcher who didn't put up the numbers we view as standard measures of success. Just as Dan Wheeler has helped carry games from starter to closer for Tampa Bay, Franklin has filled a lot of roles for the Cardinals and done them well. It doesn't help my argument that he's pitched poorly in the past two weeks, I'll admit.

I find it amazing that none of you so-called experts find room in your starting pitchers for Cole Hamels.

Princeton, N.J.

NL ranks for Hamels: Wins – 9th; ERA – 9th; WHIP – 2nd; Strikeouts – 2nd. Brutal pitchers' park. Yeah, I may have whiffed on this one.

How is it possible that you put 6-5 3.70 ERA James Shields in the All-Star game over 5-0 2.25 ERA Rich Harden? Do I even need to mention how Harden has struck out the same number of batters (88) as Shields in 30 less innings! Harden not only deserves a spot in the All-Star roster, he should be the starting pitcher.

Baton Rouge, La.

It's moot now, but the 30 fewer innings was among the deciding factors.

How could you possibly put Jeter on the All Star team? He's been beyond awful this year – 96 OPS+. Jhonny Peralta at least has 12 home runs to go with his cruddy OBP, bad fielding, and inconsistent hitting. Jeter has … oh wait, he has aura or something. Right?


Come on, Brint. Jeter has Mystique. Damon gets Aura today.

What to Read Next