Yankees’ Minor League Coach Takes Foul Ball Off Leg Like a Champion [WATCH]
"WE GOT ICE!"
Every team has their favorite saying to scream from the dugout when one of their players gets plunked by a pitch. The same could be said for a coach who gets clipped by a line drive, and that's exactly what happened in Denver yesterday.
The coach was Rachel Balkovec, serving as the first base coach for the American League at the 2021 MLB All-Star Futures Game. Outside of the Futures Game, Balkovec is a hitting coach in the New York Yankees' organization, the first female ever hired as a full-time hitting coach by a Major League Baseball club. While coaching first, Mariners' prospect Jared Kelenic hit a foul ball directly off of Balkovec's foot.
Here's what it looked like:
Balkovec was able to continue, and ended up receiving an ovation for remaining in the game.
She also gave a funny postgame quote to The New York Post about it:
“Luckily it caught me in the meat and not on the shin,” Balkovec said, “because I might have been on the ground.” - Rachel Balkovec
She went on to remark about how the ball left a bruise, and you can see exactly where the seams were on the baseball as it clanked off of her foot. What a fortuitous bounce for Balkovec who, herself, is a pretty incredible story.
Her career in professional baseball began in 2012, when she joined the St. Louis Cardinals organization, winning an award in the Appalachian League as Strength Coach of the Year during her time there. She was moved from temporary contract worker to full-time coordinator in 2014. She spent time with the Houston Astros organization, and learned Spanish to work as a multi-lingual strength coordinator. She also spent time in the Netherlands, earning a degree while working with Dutch baseball and softball teams.
She began working with the Yankees organization during the spring training of 2020, at that time, becoming the first female ever hired as a full-time hitting coach by a Major League Baseball club. She currently works with the minor league affiliates of the Yankees, including their rookie ball team, where she works side-by-side with fellow Futures Game attendee, Jasson Dominguez.
Dominguez finished the game 0-for-3, while Balkovec finished with what will likely be a footnote in a long career in professional baseball.
Get it? Footnote.