‘It’s been awesome’: Diamondbacks first female manager enjoying her new gig

The Arizona Diamondbacks' first female manager is enjoying her role and hopes it sets the stage for more women getting coaching positions in baseball.
Published: May. 3, 2023 at 8:54 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Ronnie Gajownik was named the manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks minor league affiliate Hillsboro Hops in January. It was a journey before the promotion last winter. Gajownik was an assistant coach at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst just a few years ago. She ended up landing an assistant coach role with the Diamondbacks and was an assistant coach in the Arizona Fall League in 2022.

Gajownik’s journey has led her to land the top spot in the Hops dugout. “It was a really big moment for me after all the work I’ve put in and the Dbacks put in,” she said.

She became the first female manager at the High-A level of the minor leagues. Gajownik earned her first victory as manager of the team in early April. “It was a joyous moment in regards of so many different facets in my life. I understand it’s a moment but at the end of the day, I want the dudes to win. You want it to be about the team, so I was trying to push those emotions out,” she explained.

While Gajownik quickly turned the focus to the players, her first win as a manager is a big step and shows a shift for women in baseball. “I think it means a lot and just to show that men who are in the higher up positions that have the power to make decisions are seeing the value in females. I think it’s cool for the females who are reaching areas we’ve never been before. It’s because we do deserve to be here,” she said.

The skipper says she had a lot of texts and calls after earning her first win. She said people with the Dbacks, including the big league manager, contacted her. “Torey Lovullo trying to facetime me, but I was busy, so I called him back. It was cool he took time out of his day and put in that effort to talk to me,” she said.

So far, Gajownik says she is loving the job. She’s working long days at times but says it doesn’t feel like work. Her goal is to help the players develop and hopefully make the big leagues someday. Some of the players are taking notice of her work. “There’s been a couple of dudes who have come up and just said ‘I’m really proud of you, and I’m proud you’re my manager,’” she said.

Heading into action Wednesday night, the Hops are 9-13 on the season. In 2022, 11 women were coaches in the minors.