By Frank Pingue
(Reuters) – Bianca Smith, who this week became the first Black woman coach in professional baseball when she was hired by the Boston Red Sox, hopes to be manager of a Major League Baseball club one day.
Smith was appointed this week to serve as a minor league coach based at the team’s player development complex in Fort Meyers, Florida.
“Long-term goals, easiest way to put it is just get as high as I can, which at this point is MLB manager,” Smith said during a video news conference on Thursday.
“I never want to have to limit myself. I just want to go as high as I can, as far as I can, and if right now that’s manager then that’s it. I just want to keep challenging myself.”
Smith, who grew up playing soccer before turning to softball in high school, will officially begin her time with the Red Sox in a few weeks after completing her role as assistant coach and hitting coordinator at Carroll University in Wisconsin.
The 29-year-old Smith, who previously held internships in the baseball operations departments of MLB’s Texas Rangers and Cincinnati Reds, hopes her new barrier-breaking role will inspire other women interested in this game.
“Now that I am in this position I am hoping to be that person that they see that looks like them and gives them the idea that ‘hey I can do this’,” said Smith.
“When I was younger I never thought about working in sports…and that was because I hadn’t seen anybody who looks like me really working in sport.”
Smith expects her biggest challenge to be getting to know each player.
“I can’t just jump in and give them instruction when I have no idea what kind of person I am dealing with,” Smith said. “Getting to know them is going to be the first hurdle.”
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)