News·5 min read

Daily Skimm Weekend: Women in Baseball and National Poetry Month

Left: An opening day baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and Philadelphia Phillies. Right: Headshot of Julia Hernandez, MLB’s coordinator of on-field operation.
Rich Schultz / Contributor via Getty Images and Julia Hernandez
April 1, 2023

the Skimm With: Julia Hernandez

It’s officially baseball season. While professional baseball technically doesn’t have a rule banning women from playing, very few women have (see: Alexis Hopkins and Kelsie Whitmore). In the meantime, women have gained ground in the front office, on the coaching staff, and in other parts of the organization. That’s in part because of Major League Baseball’s Take the Field program. Since 2018, it has helped open the doors for women by providing networking opportunities, interview prep, and professional development workshops. 

To learn more, we spoke with Julia Hernandez, MLB’s coordinator of on-field operations and a lead for Take the Field. Here’s what she had to say…

Q: Now that the 2023 MLB season is underway, who are some of the women that fans should keep an eye on?

Alyssa Nakken is a huge name in baseball. She’s a coach for the San Francisco Giants. Rachel Balkovec is a manager in the minor leagues for the New York Yankees. And Elizabeth Benn, obviously I have to shout her out as [being part of the team that launched] Take the Field, and one of my very good friends. She’s a director of [Major League] operations at the New York Mets. And Kim Ng is the person we look at a lot, as the first female general manager.

... There’s women you can point to in every corner of the sport now that are just doing incredible things. And every single day, we’re talking with women across the league that are breaking these barriers — whether or not they want to be named a ‘trailblazer,’ they are.

Q: You mentioned Alyssa Nakken, who last season became the first woman to coach on the field in a regular-season game. What other ‘first’ are you excited to witness in the future?

Watching the first female-managed team versus another female-managed team — or just having multiple women on the field at the same time … those kinds of things, the big moments in the sport that would make headlines … They show younger girls and the women that we work with … that it is possible and there’s room for more than one.

Q: What impact has Take the Field already had on women seeking jobs in professional baseball?

I personally am a product of Take the Field ... The people that I have met, both as a participant and as a helper and now part of the team that leads Take the Field, we are so proud of all of the women who have come through and ... they come back to us and they’re like, ‘I would not have gotten this interview. I would not have been confident enough to apply for this job.’ I think that those are the big things that really pull at our heartstrings and make us want to keep going and keep growing.

Psst, this interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What's Happening

In entertainment...

While some concertgoers want to become stars of their own shows, Adele has added another 34 dates to her Las Vegas residency. Meanwhile, Alanis Morissette, Gwen Stefani, and Shania Twain are warming up ahead of the 2023 CMT Music Awards tomorrow night. In TV news, “The Bachelor” creator Mike Fleiss accepted his final rose after a reported 60 — yes, 60 — seasons across the franchise. “The White Lotus” is apparently headed to Thailand for season 3. And HBO’s premiere of the fourth and final season of “Succession” had viewership numbers in the bag...this “ludicrously capacious bag,” to be exact. 

In style...

When it comes to fashion trends, everything old is new again. Case in point: Flip-up sunglasses are having another moment in the sun. The return of this ‘80s staple has some people giving a bold shoulder. Not to mention the growing number of ways to put some prep in your step. But if you prefer something a bit more original, you could try clowning around. No kidding. Also it turns out that like pop-punk musicemo beauty isn’t just a phase. And people will go nuts for pistachio perfume. Meanwhile, in the salon, the wixie (aka, the winged pixie) is proving to be a cut above the rest. And the silver wave is undeniable.

In wellness...

While men are getting in on the Pilates trend (late, as usual), a different kind of fitness class is gaining speed. And if you think there’s nothing harder than getting your kid into day care, try getting into one of these application-only gyms. Plus, as you might have noticed, allergy season is starting earlier — and lasting longer. In fascinating ideas, a group of Swedish researchers think sniffing sweat could, well, help with anxiety. A group of, albeit less scientific, TikTokers think “skin flooding” could help with dryness. And your home isn’t the only thing that’ll likely feel lighter and brighter after a spring cleaning session.

Weekend Escape

*Slams laptop shut until Monday.* We know the feeling. And we’ve got some tips for escape.One of poetry’s most magical qualities? The right verse can transport you to another corner of the earth, or bring presence and mindfulness to daily life. So to celebrate National Poetry Month — which, by the way, starts today — we’re spotlighting favorite female poets. Get started with these prose, err, pros…

  • Mary Oliver. The late Pulitzer Prize winner was often inspired by long walks — so it’s no surprise that her poems are sprinkled with birds and butterflies, plants and trees, and the moon and the stars. All of which helped her explore larger themes like grace, love, and gratitude in more than 15 volumes of verse, including “Devotions.”

  • Ada Limón. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because she’s the nation’s 24th poet laureate — and the first Latina to hold the title. She’s also the author of six books of poetry, including “The Carrying.”

  • Rupi Kaur. One of the OG Insta-poets, Kaur’s first collection, titled “Milk and Honey,” has been translated into 40 languages. Nearly a decade later, she’s still inspiring people across the globe with her powerful words about trauma, healing, and migration.

  • Warsan Shire. From getting her start on Tumblr to collaborating with Beyoncé on “Lemonade,” this Somali-British poet has made quite a splash. Her work, which includes the collection “Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head,” paints a vivid picture of womanhood. 

  • Tracy K. Smith. Smith, a Harvard professor and former US poet laureate, has spent decades asking thought-provoking questions in works that include the Pulitzer Prize-winning collection “Life on Mars.” Her work encourages readers to reckon with America’s past and present, even as she uses art to point “toward the future.”

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